'If he thinks he can win, he will run': Boris is in the leadership race for himself, his former spokesman warns

21 October 2022, 09:21 | Updated: 21 October 2022, 09:32

Boris has returned from holiday to run in the leadership race.
Boris has returned from holiday to run in the leadership race. Picture: LBC/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Boris Johnson's main concern is not what is in the nation's interest but his own, his former spokesman says.

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In a scathing attack on the former PM, Will Walden said he believed Mr Johnson would not be the one to unite the country and party after weeks of turmoil in the government.

The close ally to Mr Johnson went as far as to side with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, saying the "soap opera is in danger of tipping over into absolute farce".

"Before he was booted out, 148 Tory MPs voted against Boris and when eventually he was booted out, 60 ministers resigned," Mr Walden told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"I think the problem for Rishi is that he tends to get the blame for that resignation – that it was all his doing- in fact it was 200 odd MPs in the end."

He continued: "For Boris, the calculation will be not what’s in the national interest it’ll be what’s in my interest?

"If he thinks he can win he will run.

"I would say at this stage, in spite of the fact he’s jetting back from his holiday – I think that tells you a lot about where Boris stands that he’s on holiday and the rest of the country is gripped in a crisis – he’s flying back, he’s not sure if he’s got the hundred but in his mind if he can get to second place he knows he can probably win so why wouldn’t you go for that?"

Read more: 'I can win us the election:' Boris jets back from holiday with olive branch to Rishi as Tories battle for No10

Read more: Tories need reminding that Boris Johnson is 'unfit for office,' Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC

Ex-Johnson aide warns Boris will not unite the Tories

Aside from Mr Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt are the two frontrunners for the top job, for which they need the support of at least 100 MPs to be in with a chance.

The Conservatives have 360 MPs in total, meaning no more than three candidates can reach the threshold.

"The extraordinary thing about what’s happened with Liz Truss is that we are now doing what he probably loves us to be doing, which is talking about Boris," Mr Walden explained.

"And the possibility a man who was defenestrated in the most extraordinary fashion only three months ago for having a parlous relationship with the truth could actually in a weeks time be Prime Minister of this country again."

Ex-Boris spokesperson says Johnson will do whatever is in 'his interests'

He added: "It is extraordinary the state of British politics.

"I wouldn’t necessarily by nature agree with Keir Starmer but in a sense I do – this soap opera is in danger of tipping over into absolute farce and the Conservative party has a week to get a grip of it.

"Unfortunately, in spite of my long-standing relationship with Boris, I'm not sure - in fact I know - that Boris is not the unity candidate.

"I suspect that those that are having a moment of amnesia among the backbenches were to choose him and then he were to win with the membership I suspect that unity is the last thing that would grip the Tory party and the country."