Boris Johnson told a City grandee and Tory peer that he wants to stay on as Prime Minister and does not want to resign.
Lord Peter Cruddas, who is a major Conservative donor, is running a “bring back Boris” campaign to keep Johnson in Number 10 through a vote of Tory grassroots members.
Cruddas told the Telegraph that he had lunch with Johnson at Chequers and that the Prime Minister said “I’m rooting for your campaign to succeed”.
Cruddas was made a Tory peer by Johnson in 2021, after an independent parliamentary body advised against the appointment, and is the founder of CMC Markets.
“He wants to carry on and he believes that, with the membership behind him, he can,” Cruddas said.
“He said he was enjoying [the campaign] and wished me well. He said he could understand the membership’s anger at what had happened. He said that he wished that he could carry on as prime minister. He does not want to resign.”
More than 10,000 Conservative party members, out of a membership of around 170,000, have signed Cruddas’ petition and want to have a final say on whether Johnson remains as party leader.
Downing Street said yesterday that Johnson “has resigned as party leader and set out his intention to stand down as Prime Minister when the new leader is in place”.
There has also been discussion of whether Johnson would be brought back to Cabinet if frontrunner Truss wins the Tory leadership race.
The foreign secretary said during last night’s BBC debate that Johnson should have remained as PM, but indicated he would not serve in her government if she is victorious.
“I just don’t think it’s going to happen, what’s done is done, the party has made the decision,” she said.
“I very, very much suspect that he would not want a future role in the government, I think he needs a well earned break from what has been a very difficult few years.”