Within just 24 hours of former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson announcing: "Of course I'm going to go for it!", thus declaring plans to run for the post of Conservative Party leader, his Tory opponents began a campaign to stop him from making it to Number 10, which could be revealed officially today, reports the Daily Mail.
The ‘Stop Boris’ campaign swung into action in Westminster last night amid warnings that some Tories would opt for a general election rather than witness Johnson running the UK government.
One source, writes the Daily Mail, said “Boris cannot form a government, certainly not on a No Deal platform and probably not on any other. There are at least a dozen people on our side, me included, who would be prepared to vote against him on the Queen’s Speech.”
“Even with the DUP on board, that is the majority gone. Then we are straight into an election,” the source continued.
Another cabinet minister said: “Boris is extremely popular with the members, but the situation is the opposite among his colleagues at Westminster.”
Conservative MP Phillip Lee, who issued a public warning that no Tory leader campaigning on a No Deal platform could hope to govern without an election, said “if any leader tries to make No Deal official Conservative policy, then the Government does not last – it is going to lose a confidence vote.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, writes the Daily Mail, has been warning that a general election could install Jeremy Corbyn in No. 10 and lead to Brexit being “killed altogether”.
Matt Hancock told the Daily Telegraph that a general election before Brexit would be a disaster, adding “people don't want it. We need to take responsibility for delivering on the referendum result.”
Johnson’s supporters insisted that he could reinvigorate the Tory party, deliver Brexit and defeat Jeremy Corbyn.
Leading Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg said “Boris would win back voters because he would deliver Brexit.”
Nadine Dorries said “Boris would shore up the Tory vote – he is the best-placed candidate to beat Corbyn.”
According to an exclusive Survation poll for the Daily Mail, the former foreign secretary is more than 20 points ahead of Sajid Javid, his nearest rival for Theresa May’s position.
The detailed poll of more than 1,000 people, conducted yesterday, cited by the Daily Mail, asked who was most likely to beat Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.
The result showed Johnson was ahead of the others, with 32 percent; his closest rival Home Secretary Javid had 11 percent. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd were next, with 7 percent each.
Significantly, 20 percent of Labour voters said Johnson’s leadership would make them more likely to vote Tory.
If there was a general election tomorrow, the poll showed that the Tories would get 27 percent, five points behind Labour; the Brexit Party would get 13 percent.
However, with Boris Johnson as leader, the parties would be neck and neck with 24 percent, with the Brexit Party at only 7 percent.
The embattled UK PM is set to present another version of her exit plan to MPs in the week beginning 3 June.
Theresa May previously said that she would resign as the Tory leader if parliament ratifies her Brexit deal.
The House of Commons has rejected the PM's deal three times, forcing May to delay Brexit twice.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson threw his hat in the ring, joining the growing list of Conservatives who say they will contend to lead the party once UK PM Theresa May announces her exit date, according to media reports.
More than a dozen MPs are expected to seek the job left vacant by May.
Earlier this month, former TV presenter Esther McVey confirmed she would be running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, joining other possible contenders including Michael Gove, Amber Rudd, Sajid Javid, Dominic Raab, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, and Liz Truss.