Next Prime Minister: the MPs who backed Boris Johnson for PM after telling him to resign

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Johnson originally stepped down as PM on 6 September, but may be making a comeback to Downing Street

Boris Johnson has ruled himself out of replacing Liz Truss, despite jetting back to the UK from the Dominican Republic.

Johnson was expected to stand in the leadership contest, but on Sunday (23 October) night he ruled himself out of the contest. He said: “I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024 – and tonight I can confirm that I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and a seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow.

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“There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members – and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday. But in the course of the last days I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do. You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.”

His decision not to stand comes after several MPs publically backed him to make a sensational return to Number 10.

However, some of those backing Johnson now, had originally called for him to go, even stepping down from their posts in protest. So, who are they and what are they now saying about the former PM? Here’s everything you need to know.

Boris Johnson delivering his farewell address before his official resignation at Downing Street on 6 September (Pic: Getty Images)Boris Johnson delivering his farewell address before his official resignation at Downing Street on 6 September (Pic: Getty Images)
Boris Johnson delivering his farewell address before his official resignation at Downing Street on 6 September (Pic: Getty Images) | Getty Images

Who backed Boris Johnson now but supported his resignation?

It’s hard to believe that just three months ago Johnson was forced to step down from office after 148 of his colleagues voted against him and nearly 60 resigned in protest. However some of the very MPs who called on the former PM to go are now backing him to return.

Priti Patel, MP for Witham

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The former home secretary has came out on social media backing Johnson for PM, however just three months ago she said he had lost the support of the Tory party and called on him to quit.

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield

In July the MP called for the PM’s resignation stating “this can’t continue. Government can’t just grind to a halt like this.” But has now come out backing Johnson, in a statement he shared on social media he said: “To be honest, though clearly he made mistakes, I was never one of those who had wanted him to go in the first place. I’ve always felt that the potential of Boris is so huge and exciting. Nobody engages with the wider public in the way that he does.”

Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North

Gullis stepped down from his role as a parliamentary private secretary in July, in a statement at the time he said: “I feel for too long we have been more focused on dealing with our reputational damage rather than delivering for the people of this country and spreading opportunity for all, which is why I came into politics.”

However, he is now appearing to back Johnson and took to Facebook to ask his constituents to complete a survey on the “Future Prime Minister”.

Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford

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Johnson stood down as Tory Vice Chair on 7 July, stating that the former PM’s “errors of judgement and domestic actions” had “squandered the goodwill” of the party, and that he would “only damage our party and therefore our country”. However on Times Radio she told listeners she was backing the former PM.

Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

Following Johnson’s resignation the former Levelling Up Secretary tweeted that that it was “the right decision”, however his most recent social media activity has been firmly backing Johnson for leader, including making the statement “Boris is the person trusted by voters to level up opportunity across the country, from north to south.”

Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon

The former Chancellor called on Johnson to resign two days after being appointed to his cabinet in July, telling the then PM “You must do the right thing and go now.” Zahwai is now backing Johnson in the leadership race.

Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield and Karl McCartney MP for Lincoln

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Both MPs withdrew their support for Johnson in July, calling for the former PM to step down, however both are now publicly backing him for Downing Street.

Other MPs who have openly backed Johnson for PM after calling for his resignation include:

  • Antony Higginbotham , MP for Burnley
  • Jill Mortimer MP for Hartlepool
  • Shaun Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West
  • Gareth Johnson , MP for Dartford
  • Henry Smith , MP for Crawley
  • Mark Eastwood , MP for Dewsbury
  • Amanda Milling , MP for Cannock Chase

Who are the MPs backing Boris Johnson?

The former PM has attracted backing from 56 Tory MPs, despite having only left office on 6 September. Some of those throwing their weight behind Johnson include former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

Here is the full list of MPs who have came out in support of Boris Johnson:

  • Nigel Adams, MP for Selby and Ainsty
  • Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield
  • Sarah Atherton, MP for Wrexham
  • Shaun Bailey, MP for West Bromwich West
  • Scott Benton, MP for Blackpool South
  • Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough
  • Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield
  • Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough
  • Bill Cash, MP for Stone
  • Sir Christopher Chope, MP for Christchurch
  • Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
  • Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw
  • Leo Docherty, MP for Aldershot
  • Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire
  • Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset
  • Sir James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East
  • Mark Eastwood, MP for Dewsbury
  • Ben Everitt, MP for Milton Keynes North
  • Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield
  • James Grundy, MP for Leigh
  • Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North
  • Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland
  • Chris Heaton-Harris, MP for Daventry
  • Antony Higginbotham, MP for Burnley
  • Philip Hollobone, MP for Kettering
  • Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough
  • Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood
  • Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham
  • Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford
  • Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough
  • Ian Levy, MP for Blyth Valley
  • Marco Longhi, MP for Dudley North
  • Karl McCartney, MP for Lincoln
  • Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage
  • Amanda Milling, MP for Cannock Chase
  • David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale
  • Jill Mortimer, MP for Hartlepool
  • Holly Mumby-Croft, MP for Scunthorpe
  • Sheryll Murray, MP for South East Cornwall
  • Lia Nici, MP for Great Grimsby
  • Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon
  • Priti Patel, MP for Witham
  • Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin
  • Tom Pursglove, MP for Corby
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North East Somerset
  • Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford
  • Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West
  • Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham
  • Henry Smith, MP for Crawley
  • Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle
  • Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
  • Shailesh Vara, MP for North West Cambridgeshire
  • Ben Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North
  • Sir John Whittingdale, MP for Maldon
  • Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford-on-Avon

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