Laurence Fox to run for MP in Boris Johnson's former constituency

12 June 2023, 15:59 | Updated: 12 June 2023, 16:02

Laurence Fox is running to replace Boris Johnson in Parliament
Laurence Fox is running to replace Boris Johnson in Parliament. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Laurence Fox has said he will run to become an MP in Boris Johnson's former constituency.

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Announcing his candidacy, the Reclaim Party leader and former actor said on Monday that Labour and the Conservatives were "largely indistinguishable".

Mr Johnson resigned from Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency on Friday ahead of the publication of the findings of an inquiry into whether he knowingly misled his fellow MPs over Partygate.

The former Prime Minister accused the privileges committee of "bias" and likened it to a "kangaroo court". The committee, in response, said Mr Johnson "impugned the integrity of the House" with his attack.

Mr Fox, who has previously run for London mayor, helped found the Reclaim Party in 2020.

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Laurence Fox
Laurence Fox. Picture: Getty

If successful in the by-election for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Mr Fox would be Reclaim's second sitting MP. Former Conservative Andrew Bridgen defected to the party in May. He had been expelled from the Conservatives after comparing the Covid-19 vaccines to the Holocaust.

Reform UK, the pro-Brexit party founded by Nigel Farage, will not run a candidate against Mr Fox, to give him the best possible chance of winning against the more established parties.

Mr Fox said in a statement: "The main political parties are not fit for purpose. We have uncontrolled immigration putting pressure on an already over stretched NHS, which is one of the poorest performing health services in the developed world.

"Labour and Conservative are offering the same policies and are largely indistinguishable… Britain deserves better.

"Reclaim seeks to represent the best interests of British people, Reclaim is motivated by common sense. Reclaim is interested in a prosperous future for our children."

Read more: 'Rishi Sunak is talking rubbish:' Boris Johnson hits back as Tory honours meltdown descends into civil war

Read more: Michael Gove says only ‘historians’ can judge went wrong for Boris Johnson as MPs to conclude inquiry into Partygate

Andrew Bridgen became Reclaim's first MP this year
Andrew Bridgen became Reclaim's first MP this year. Picture: Getty

It comes amid a growing row in the Conservative party sparked by Mr Johnson's resignation honours list.

Rishi Sunak, in outspoken remarks, said on Monday that he was not prepared to overrule the House of Lords Appointments Commission(Holac), or make promises to allies of Boris Johnson about them becoming peers.

The Prime Minister said he had been asked by Mr Johnson “to do something that I wasn’t prepared to do, adding that he refused because he "didn’t think it was right."

But Mr Johnson hit back today, telling LBC: "Rishi Sunak is talking rubbish. To honour these peerages it was not necessary to overrule Holac - but simply to ask them to renew their vetting, which was a mere formality."

Rachel Johnson shares her thoughts on her brother resigning

Earlier on Monday, levelling-up Secretary Michael Gove diplomatically described Boris as a “significant figure in the history of our times” and expressed “sadness at his passing” as an MP.

Mr Gove said: “I think him for the role he played in the pandemic, on Ukraine and on Brexit.

"I wouldn’t presume to offer Boris any advice for the future. I continue to respect Boris and all that he’s achieved."

Former culture secretary Nadine Dorries, ex-minister Nigel Adams and Cop26 president Sir Alok Sharma were reportedly put forward by Mr Johnson for peerages.

James O'Brien reacts to Boris Johnson's resignation

Ms Dorries and Mr Adams have resigned as MPs since being omitted, giving Mr Sunak the headache of three separate by-elections.

The privileges committee met on Monday to conclude its inquiry into whether the former prime minister misled Parliament over No 10 lockdown parties.

MPs have pledged to continue the investigation process despite Mr Johnson's Commons exit amid accusations of a "witch hunt".

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