'Never going to work': Keir slams Boris's comeback bid and says we must move on from 'chaotic circus' of Tory leadership

24 October 2022, 09:28 | Updated: 24 October 2022, 10:29

Sir Keir Starmer shares his immediate reaction to Boris Johnson running for PM.

By Daisy Stephens

Boris Johnson returning as Prime Minister was "never going to work" and the UK must now move on from the "chaotic, ridiculous circus" of the Tory leadership race and focus on other things, Sir Keir Starmer has told LBC.

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Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC's Call Keir, the Labour leader said a general election was needed to allow people to choose where the country goes next.

"My first sentiment I'm afraid was that I thought he didn't have the numbers and that's why he was pulling out," he said when Nick asked what his first thought was when Boris Johnson pulled out of the Tory leadership contest on Sunday evening.

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"But when he first said that he was going to run and everybody was sort of rallying around, I did put my head in my hands and think 'so, really, we're going go from the Prime Minister who's just crashed the economy, I know - let's go back to the guy that only three or four months ago, most of his front benchers were saying was unfit for office'.

"It was never going to work."

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He went on: "The less time now spent on this chaotic, ridiculous circus at the top of the Tory party, the better.

"Millions of people are really worried about paying their bills this winter, now they've got mortgage payments that are higher than they might otherwise be, they're fed up to the back teeth, and I think they should have a say.

"I don't think they should be locked out of this.

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"I think a change at the top of the Tory party is not what we need.

"We need a general election so people can choose - do you want to carry on with this chaos, or do you want stability under a Labour government?"

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When asked if it was a relief to have Mr Johnson gone after the Tory majority he secured at the last election, Sir Keir said: "No."

He said people "worked out who Boris Johnson really is" at the most recent local elections and by-elections.

"This will be the fifth Prime Minister in six years, we've had four Chancellors in four months," he said.

"That isn't the country we are - that is utter chaos."

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Mr Johnson ducked out of the Tory leadership race on Sunday night, leaving Penny Mordaunt and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak the only remaining contenders.

Both need to secure the backing of 100 MPs by this afternoon - a milestone Mr Sunak has already reached.

He will automatically become Prime Minister if Ms Mordaunt fails to hit the threshold.

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When asked how he felt about the prospect of facing Mr Sunak at PMQs, the Labour leader said: "Absolutely fine.

"I don't know whether it'll be him, obviously there's a few hours to run, although it looks to me like he's obviously the frontrunner at the moment, so we'll see.

"But as I say... I don't mind who I'm up against there.

"I will make my case for a positive Labour government to steer us out of this chaos."