Boris Johnson's plane lands back in the UK
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Boris Johnson’s longtime ally, Lord David Frost, has aligned with the former Prime Minister’s closest rival in the Tory leadership contest. Lord Frost helped pave the way for Mr Johnson’s Brexit vision, but has, like other former Cabinet ministers, turned to Rishi Sunak. In a statement, he praised his former boss as a “hero” but outlined a “risk” to the Conservative Party.
MPs are in the process of discussing who to support ahead of a swift leadership election next week, with hundreds having made public declarations since Liz Truss resigned on Thursday,
Her departure has revealed continued support for her predecessor Mr Johnson in the Tory ranks just months after he resigned in disgrace.
But, as Lord Frost outlined in his statement today, concerns remain about the direction Mr Johnson would take the party at one of its most fragile moments.
Taking to Twitter, the former Brexit negotiator said it was time to “move on”.
He said: “Boris Johnson will always be a hero for delivering Brexit.
“But we must move on. It is simply not right to risk repeating the chaos & confusion of the last year.
“The Tory Party must get behind a capable leader who can deliver a Conservative programme.”
Lord Frost added that Mr Sunak, the former Chancellor, would make a “very able” Prime Minister.
He added that his chosen candidate would “work the machine” and usher in a “big change in ‘feel'” from the Johnson years.
He signed off stating that change is “what we now need” and urged his Conservative colleagues to “get behind Rishi”.
Lord Frost’s statement underlines fears within the Conservative ranks that Mr Johnson would not bring the calm and “stability” many Tories crave.
Sajid Javid, his former Health Secretary and Chancellor, said the party must move on from the past.
Announcing his support for Mr Sunak, he said it was in the “national interest” to have a “strong” Conservative Party.
He added the “only way” to achieve this goal is to “move on from mistakes of the past and come together to focus on the future”.
Tom Tugendhat, who once supported Ms Truss, endorsed Mr Sunak as the candidate to “stabilise the economy and earn back the trust of our great country”.
Calls for stability have not stopped Mr Johnson from garnering the support he requires to run for leader.
While he has not yet officially announced his candidacy, the former prime minister has reportedly required the 100 Parliamentary backers he needs.
His campaign announced the figure this afternoon, with his backers hailing the news.
He remains behind Mr Sunak, who is also yet to officially launch his campaign, crossed the mark on Friday, October 21 and has since gained 111 public endorsements.
Penny Mordaunt, the only Tory to formally launch her campaign, has the fewest at approximately 23.
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