Boris Johnson petition: campaign to keep him as Prime Minister explained - and what was said to Lord Cruddas

The petition has now reportedly reached 12,000 signatures

A petition for Boris Johnson to stay on as Prime Minister has been signed by more than 10,000 Tory members.

Organised by Lord Cruddas, a Conservative Party peer, and David Campbell-Bannerman, a former Member of the European Parliament, the petition requests that Tory party members be given a vote on whether or not to accept Mr Johnson’s resignation.

This comes as Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss continue to go head-to-head in the increasingly heated race to reach Number 10.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Cruddas alleged that Mr Johnson had said he “did not want to resign” and “hopes there will be a way for him to stay on as prime minister”.

Representatives from Downing Street however denied the Prime Minister had said this, and insisted he would leave No 10 when a new Tory leader is elected in September.

So what does the petition ask for, what did Boris Johnson say to Lord Cruddas and what has the response been?

A petition to keep Boris Johnson as Prime Minister has been launched

What does the petition ask for?

Launched on the Conservative Post’s website, the petition demands Mr Johnson’s name be added to the ballot papers in the upcoming Tory leadership election.

The petition, addressed to the Conservative Party Chairman, states: “The membership are very upset about what has happened to our elected leader and we demand our say.

“Otherwise, without the support of the membership then the chances of winning the next general election will be much harder.”

The Daily Express reported that the petition, which requires a party membership number from signatories, has now reached 12,000 signatures.

By some estimates, this figure could equate to one in 10 of the party membership.

But ballot papers with Mr Sunak and Ms Truss’ names on are set to be delivered to members in less than a week, meaning it is highly unlikely the party would allow Mr Johnson’s name to be added.

What has Lord Cruddas said?

In The Daily Mail, Lord Cruddas wrote: “The ousting of Boris Johnson as prime minister by a minority of MPs is deeply anti-democratic.

“It defies the will of the country and the Conservative Party members who elected him.

“It amounts to a coup. I’m ashamed this can happen in Britain - the birthplace of modern democracy.”

He then told The Telegraph that during a lunch at Chequers last Friday (22 July), Mr Johnson said he did not want to resign as prime minister.

The peer said: “There was no ambiguity in Boris’s views.

“He definitely does not want to resign. He wants to carry on and he believes that, with the membership behind him, he can.”

Lord Cruddas added that Mr Johnson had thanked him for the campaign - and said he enjoyed following it.

He continued: “[Boris] said he could understand the membership’s anger at what had happened.

“He wants to carry on to finish the job. He wants to fight the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party.”

Lord Cruddas also asked Mr Johnson if he would “wipe away” his resignation with “a magic wand” - to which Mr Johnson allegedly replied: “I would wipe away everything that stops me being PM in a second.”

How has Downing Street responded?

A Number 10 spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister has resigned as party leader and set out his intention to stand down as PM when the new leader is in place.”

Representatives insisted Mr Johnson would leave office as soon as the next leader is elected in September, saying he respects the process of the leadership election.

Who else has commented?

Chris Philp, who served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Tech and the Digital Economy between 2021 and 2022, told Channel 4 News: “That ship has sailed.

“We have a process which we have gone through. The prime minister chose voluntarily to resign, which was accepted by everybody. We have run a process in Parliament to select those final two candidates.

“He resigned, for reasons he will know about. He did that voluntarily, under pressure, but voluntarily.

“We are now going to elect a new leader. That process is going to carry forward.”

Boris Johnson resigned as Prime Minister on 7 July

He urged people to disregard the petition.

The Croydon South MP continued: “It’s a sideshow, and what I would certainly say is, when people get their ballot papers, mark a vote for one of the two candidates.

“Don’t spoil your ballot paper by writing anything else, if you do that, your vote won’t count.”

Conservative MP Andrew Bowie (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) told the same programme: “This Lord Cruddas’ petition is a sideshow, it should be given no attention whatsoever, we are focusing on the future.”

Claire Bullivant, editor of the Conservative Post and one of the petition organisers, said: “We don’t have a Prime Minister problem. We have a huge media problem.

“How can 60 herd-like MPs oust Boris? They fell for the biased media’s tricks.

“It’s undemocratic and the people must have their say. Let’s get Boris on the ballot.”

What happens next?

Tory leadership candidates Mr Sunak and Ms Truss are about to begin their nationwide hustings events, with the first kicking off tomorrow (28 July) in Leeds.

They have also been participating in live TV debates in an attempt to win over Tory party voters.

The most recent debate took place on TalkTV last night (26 July), but was cut short when presenter Kate McCann fainted on air.

The next debate will take place on Sky News on 4 August.

Ballots will soon be posted to voters, due to arrive between 1 August and 5 August.

The vote reportedly closes at 5pm on 2 September, with the outcome announced on 5 September.

Whichever candidate receives the most vote will become the UK’s next Prime Minister.