Former prime minister Boris Johnson quits as MP

The former Prime Minister issued a shock statement just hours after his close ally Nadine Dorries announced she too was quitting Parliament in what now appears to be a coordinated move to force two damaging by-elections on Mr Sunak’s floundering government.

There is now speculation that others may follow in the coming days forcing Mr Sunak to fight for his political life on a number of fronts.

Mr Johnson’s resignation followed weeks of briefing against Mr Johnson and culminated in him receiving the findings of the Commons Privileges Committee into whether he had deliberately misled Parliament.

Revealing, the findings Mr Johnson said that to his “amazement” the committee members “are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of parliament. “

He went on: “They have still not produced a shred of evidence that I knowingly or recklessly misled the Commons.

“They know perfectly well that when I spoke in the Commons I was saying what I believed sincerely to be true and what I had been briefed to say, like any other minister.

“They know that I corrected the record as soon as possible; and they know that I and every other senior official and minister – including the current Prime Minister and then occupant of the same building, Rishi Sunak – believed that we were working lawfully together.”

A close ally of Mr Johnson and former minister told the Daily Express: “It is like a circular firing squad with AK47s, Sunak’s lot seem determined to destroy everyone.

“Why would Boris want to stay to be unfairly humiliated?

“Why would he want to put up with two weeks of leaks and briefings against him?”

The senior MP added: “When this government falls apart – and it will – they will be begging Boris to come back.

“Constituencies will be opening their arms in welcome to him to be their candidate.”

The ally went on: “But really what is the point of defending this government.

“Sunak has no election mandate, no mandate from members, he is tearing up all the things we promised in the 2019 manifesto whether it is the Retained EU Law Bill, the Online Safety Bill, the Nationality and Borders Bill or the Northern Ireland Legacy Bill.

“Sunak has no moral authority and no policy platform.”

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Reflecting on his time as an MP since 2001 Mr Johnson insisted that he has never lied as his opponents – particularly Remainers – have tried to portray him.

Of the committee he said: “They have wilfully chosen to ignore the truth because from the outset their purpose has not been to discover the truth, or genuinely to understand what was in my mind when I spoke in the Commons.

“Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts. This is the very definition of a kangaroo court.

“Most members of the Committee – especially the chair – had already expressed deeply prejudicial remarks about my guilt before they had even seen the evidence. They should have recused themselves.”

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He went on: “In retrospect it was naive and trusting of me to think that these proceedings could be remotely useful or fair. But I was determined to believe in the system, and in justice, and to vindicate what I knew to be the truth.

“It was the same faith in the impartiality of our systems that led me to commission Sue Gray. It is clear that my faith has been misplaced.

“Of course, it suits the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the SNP to do whatever they can to remove me from parliament.

“Sadly, as we saw in July last year, there are currently some Tory MPs who share that view. I am not alone in thinking that there is a witch hunt underway, to take revenge for Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result.”

But he warned that the real motives behind his removal was that it was “a necessary first step” to unpick Brexit.

He pointed out that he has “no confidence” in the senior civil servant Sue Gray who investigated him and has now been cleared to be Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s chief of staff.

He added: “Nor do I believe that it is any coincidence that her supposedly impartial chief counsel, Daniel Stilitz KC, turned out to be a strong Labour supporter who repeatedly tweeted personal attacks on me and the government.”

But he pointed out that the Tory MPs who ousted him have done untold harm on their party.

He said: “When I left office last year the government was only a handful of points behind in the polls. That gap has now massively widened.

“Just a few years after winning the biggest majority in almost half a century, that majority is now clearly at risk.”
Hinting at a possible comeback and a need renew the party, he said: “Our party needs urgently to recapture its sense of momentum and its belief in what this country can do.

“We need to show how we are making the most of Brexit and we need in the next months to be setting out a pro-growth and pro-investment agenda. We need to cut business and personal taxes – and not just as pre-election gimmicks – rather than endlessly putting them up.

“We must not be afraid to be a properly Conservative government.

“Why have we so passively abandoned the prospect of a Free Trade Deal with the US? Why have we junked measures to help people into housing or to scrap EU directives or to promote animal welfare?

“We need to deliver on the 2019 manifesto, which was endorsed by 14 million people. We should remember that more than 17 million voted for Brexit.”

He concluded that he was “being forced out of parliament by a tiny handful of people, with no evidence to back up their assertions” who are “setting a dangerous precedent.”

He insisted that the Conservative Party can still “regain its mojo” and apologised to his constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

Already, a grassroots Conservative Democratic Organisation (CDO) has been set up to support him by Dame Priti Patel, Lord Cruddas and the Conservative Post.

In a Tweet firing a warning shot at the Sunak Premiership, Lord Cruddas said: “Parliament just put two fingers up to the British electorate and said we don’t care who you voted for or the manifesto, we are in charge and we will do what we want.

“Parliament have forced out a democratically elected PM and MP and his manifesto. Democracy is dead.”

Brendan Clarke-Smith MP said: “Tonight we saw the end result of a parliamentary witch-hunt which would put a banana republic to shame.

“If you’d thought we’d seen the back of the Tory civil war, tonight may have reopened that can of worms.”

And Ms Patel, former Home Secretary, added: “Boris Johnson has served our country and his constituency with distinction. He led the world in supporting Ukraine, got Brexit done, and was our most electorally successful Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher. Boris is a political titan whose legacy will stand the test of time.”

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