BORIS Johnson intends to continue as UK prime minister for the next decade, he has declared despite a new threat to his premiership.
As Conservative rebels plot to oust him after a double by-election loss, the prime minister insisted he was “actively thinking” about running in the next two general elections to become Britain’s longest-serving post-war leader. .
The Conservative chief urged rogue Conservative MPs not to focus on issues he has “padded” after his authority was further diminished by the cabinet’s resignation. And he insisted that doubts about his leadership were now resolved after the loss of Wakefield and the old stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton.
But the attacks continued to come from their own backbenches on Saturday night, with Damian Green, who chairs the One Nation caucus of Conservative MPs, warning that the government “needs to change both its style and content” and calling on members of the cabinet with hopes of leadership to do so. show your stripes.
Former minister David Davis also lashed out at the prime minister’s claim that the only argument of “substance” for a change in direction that he had heard from his critics was that the UK would return to the EU single market, arguing that this “simply It’s not true for me.” , or many others”.
Johnson earlier insisted that the “incessant agitation” of the accusations was “driving people crazy”, as he continued with his trip to Rwanda despite suggestions that more ministerial resignations could follow.
Oliver Dowden resigned as co-chairman of the Tory party, saying he and Conservative supporters were “distressed and disappointed by recent events” and told the prime minister that “someone must take responsibility”.
But Johnson set his sights on being in office in the “mid-2030s”, on a streak that would see him outlive Margaret Thatcher’s reign.
Asked by reporters at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Kigali if he would lead his party to the next election, he said: “Will I win? Yes.”
In an optimistic mood, the prime minister added: “At the moment I am actively thinking about the third term and what might happen then, but I will review it when it comes.”
Meanwhile, Labor challenged the Conservatives to call a snap election, with leader Sir Keir Starmer telling Johnson: “Go for it.”
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More controversy was brewing on Saturday night when The Telegraph reported that the prime minister intends to impose new tariffs on steel in a bid to win back support in traditional Labor territories.
The newspaper said the changes were the same as those cited by Lord Geidt when he resigned as Johnson’s chief ethics officer, as he claimed the prime minister had forced him into an “impossible and hateful” position.
Former Conservative leader Michael Howard has urged Johnson to resign for the good of the party and the nation, calling on the cabinet to consider resigning to force his departure.
But the prime minister said in Rwanda: “I love my colleagues, and of course I respectfully urge them: the golden rule of politics, the more we focus on Westminster politics, the more irritating it is to voters.”
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He argued that “what’s driving people crazy is this endless churning of stuff I’m supposed to have filled in or whatever about my colleagues, their views on me, my character, leadership, Tory, blah blah.” …”
There are suggestions of a challenge to change the rules of the 1922 Conservative MPs Committee to allow another vote of confidence in Johnson within the next year.
Asked if he thinks questions about his leadership are resolved, Johnson replied, “Yes.”
Veteran Conservative Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, who retained his Cotswolds seat with a majority of 20,000 in the last vote, is among the Tories who have expressed fear of losing their jobs in the next general election.
In by-elections in the Devonshire constituency of Tiverton and Honiton, a dramatic swing of almost 30% of the Conservatives saw their majority of 24,000 overturned by the LibDems.
In West Yorkshire, Labor recaptured Wakefield with a majority of 4,925 in a swing of 12.7% Tories.
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In an article for The Telegraph, Green said “improvements are needed to restore confidence in government.”
“The ‘key issues’ fad where you divide the population and get your political opponents on the wrong side of an argument only works when most people trust what you’re telling them. Without trust, we are left with bombast and rhetoric,” she said.
He added: “It is no secret that a significant proportion of the Cabinet thinks he could do a better job of running the country than the current incumbent. Now would be a good time to demonstrate those leadership qualities.”
Also writing for the paper, Davis argued: “Boris likes to say that his critics have only one political difference with him, namely that they want to rejoin the single market. That is clearly not true for me, or for many others.
“The biggest political difference is that we want our government to stop talking about tax cuts and actually deliver them, so that we are no longer the highest-taxing Tory government in history.”
In an article for The Observer, Labor leader Starmer challenged Johnson to call a snap election, insisting that “Labour is back”.
“For months, Boris Johnson has been privately stating that he will hold a snap election,” he wrote.
“My message to him is simple: go ahead. Because the quicker the election comes, the quicker this country will get a Labor government that brings about the positive change people are crying out for.”