Rachel Johnson reacts to brother Boris pulling out of race for No 10: 'I feel sad for him'

23 October 2022, 21:28 | Updated: 23 October 2022, 22:04

Rachel Johnson reacted in real time on her LBC programme
Rachel Johnson reacted in real time on her LBC programme. Picture: LBC

By Adam Solomons

Rachel Johnson said her brother Boris was right to pull out of the race for Tory leader and PM, saying it was "too early" for his return to frontline politics.

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The LBC host reacted in real time to Boris Johnson's explosive announcement tonight that he would not be contesting the party leadership, calling an end to his effort to make a swift return to Number Ten.

She said: "I'm sure you want my reaction to that.

"My first feeling is as a sister [...] I feel sad for him. Because clearly that was a hard note to right and he clearly wanted to feel that he could unite the party, and he could be a successful prime minister again.

LBC: Rachel Johnson reacts after Boris pulls out of Tory leadership race

"I will tell you that I also thought this was not his time. There may come a moment when it is his time. I felt three months after he left office it was too soon.

"It felt too soon. I think the country feels that too. The country is as split as everyone else.

"I'm glad he's taken this decision. I commend him for taking this decision. This is a man who loves winning. I don't think this suggests he thought he couldn't win. [It suggests] he was not the person to unite it."

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In a message sent to journalists just after 9pm, Johnson wrote: "I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative majority in 2024 - and tonight I can confirm I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow.

"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.

"And though I have reached out to both Rishi and Penny - because I hoped that we would come together in the national interest - we have simply not been able to work out a way of doing this.

"Therefore I am afraid that the best thing is that I do is not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds."I believe I have much to offer but this is simply not the right time."

Nadine Dorries exclusively tells LBC Boris had the votes and would have won, but wouldn't have been able to unite the Tory Party