Ukraine: Ben Wallace reacts to threats from Vladimir Putin

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Mr Wallace was being interviewed by the Washington Post Live about the UK and international community’s response to Ukraine when the interviewer turned to his “regular read the Daily Express” and cited the Exclusive Techne UK poll which showed Mr Wallace was favourite to be the next Prime Minister. The poll said 9 percent would be more likely to vote Conservative if he was leader and that rose to 24 percent among 2019 Tory voters.

Second placed were foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and international trade minister Penny Mordaunt all on 6 percent.

The interviewer asked: “I want to ask you what you make of that polling and if your colleagues in the Tory Party selected you as party leader, would you serve?”

A surprised Mr Wallace said: “Uninterested in a pitch for leadership really. I’m incredibly fortunate to do a job that I know something about  that I love doing at a time when there is nothing more important than keeping people strong and safe and asking society to be standing up for our values.

“I am one of the privileged people who gets to actually action our beliefs which is to try and defend those people who can’t be defended themselves.

“There’s a lot of people out there who want to do more to help Ukraine, I get to do that. 

“So the idea I would be interested in the leadership…I doubt it, I doubt I would want to be Prime Minister.”

However, in a suggestion that he would not completely rule out moving into Number 10, he added: “I am a politician so you can read into that what you like.”

The former Scots Guard now Lancashire MP has suddenly emerged as a popular choice to replace Boris Johnson.

With Chancellor Rishi Sunak apparently falling out of contention following his Downing Street lockdown fine and controversy over his wife’s tax arrangements, Mr Wallace has become seen as a solid alternative.

However, Ms Truss remains the bookie’s favourite should Boris Johnson be forced out.

Earlier this week, Express.co.uk revealed that party insiders are warning that Mr Johnson has until the party conference in October to prove he is a real conservative or face getting ousted.

Mr Johnson also has to see if he will be subject to any more fines for Partygate – lockdown parties in Downing Street which broke the rules.

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