Boris Johnson has moved to calm speculation that Rishi Sunak is maneuvering to unseat him, saying that he has no doubt about the chancellor’s personal loyalty.
The Prime Minister also said Number 10 and the Treasury were “working together in harmony” on a visit to a Kent hospital today alongside Sunak.
Johnson has launched a reset of his Number 10 operation in an attempt to stave off a mounting challenge to his premiership, which was sparked by the Downing Street parties scandal.
This has included six members of his staff either resigning or being sacked over the past few days, with senior aide Henry Newman the latest to depart today.
Sunak, the bookmakers’ favourite to succeed the PM as Tory leader, also took a shot at Johnson last week over his Jimmy Savile attack aimed at Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.
When he asked if he was concerned about Sunak’s alleged ambitions to take over as PM, Johnson said: “Absolutely Not.”
“Everybody at Number 10 and the Treasury are working together in harmony to deal with the big problems that the country faces,” he added.
“I think what we’re doing is working together across the whole of government to fix the Covid backlogs which, believe me, is a massive priority for us, for everybody in the country.”
The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that some of Johnson’s cabinet allies were calling for Sunak to be sacked after his alleged disloyalty.
One said Sunak had been “far too blatant” last week and that he “appears to be trying to hasten the PM’s departure before things get properly s**t with the economy”.
It comes after Sunak on Thursday refused to support Johnson’s attack on Starmer over the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision not to charge Jimmy Savile while he was director of public prosecutions.