Welsh Secretary urges Conservative membership to accept Boris Johnson is going ‘voluntarily’
The new Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland has urged the Conservative membership to accept that Boris Johnson is standing down after thousands signed a petition calling on the Prime Minister to stay on.
The petition by Lord Cruddas, a major Tory party donor and treasurer, threatens to split the party apart as members refuse to accept Tory MPs decision to oust Boris Johnson from the post.
Lord Cruddas has written an article in the Daily Mail this morning saying that ousting Boris Johnson “amounts to a coup” and said that he expects that party members will vote to decide that his resignation “will be revoked and Boris will continue in No 10″.
However, the Welsh Secretary, who joined the cabinet on the understanding that Boris Johnson was stepping down, said that Conservative party members should now move on.
“The Prime Minister has stood down voluntarily. He is not playing any part in this leadership contest. He is not a candidate,” he told the Telegraph.
“The focus now is on bringing the party together and winning the next election under a new leader.”
But Lord Cruddas’ article in the Daily Mail threatens to open a populist rift in the party, with a narrative that Boris Johnson had been betrayed by MPs.
He also said that he was willing to put £500,000 that he had planned to donate to the Conservative party into the battle to keep Boris Johnson.
“He had been party leader for just five months, after nearly two-thirds of the 160,000 membership backed him over ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt,” he wrote.
“That is the most emphatic mandate possible. It is disgusting that a cabal of 30 to 40 plotters in Westminster can overturn it.
“The contempt this shows for ordinary Conservative members appals me.
“Now the 1922 Committee is orchestrating the leadership battle between Sunak and Truss. That reeks of corruption. The very backbenchers who forced Boris out now oversee the election of his successor.”
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