Boris Johnson has said he is “determined” to deliver on his Conservative Party’s 2019 winning mandate in his final few weeks as leader as he refuses to back any leadership challenger.
Speaking to broadcasters for the first time since his resignation last week, Mr Johnson said he would continue to “monitor the process” before a new Tory leader is chosen in the coming weeks.
“I am determined to proceed with the mandate that has been given to us, but my job is to actually monitor the process in the next few weeks and I am confident that the outcome will be good,” he said during a visit to the Institute. of Francis Crick in London.
“We just have to move forward, and as I said, I think the more we focus on the people, the people who elect us, their jobs, their hopes and what they can get from investing in science and technologies. .
“The more we talk about the future we’re trying to build, the less we talk about politics in Westminster, the happier we’ll all be overall.”
Asked repeatedly who he would support in the Tory leadership race, Mr Johnson said: “I wouldn’t want to damage the leadership candidates’ chances by offering my support.”
Last Thursday, Mr. Johnson announced his resignation from the post of Prime Minister after less than three years in Number 10, saying: “Nobody in politics is remotely irreplaceable.”
Speaking from Downing Street, he thanked the millions of people who voted Conservative in the last election and said the reason he had fought so long to stay in office was because “I thought this is my job, my duty and my duty to you.’
He also said he had tried to convince his cabinet that it would be “eccentric” to replace the prime minister now, but added: “I regret not being successful in those arguments.
“The herd instinct is strong at Westminster and when the herd moves, it moves.”
Asked on Monday about allegations that his outgoing government MPs had succumbed to a “herd mentality”, Mr Johnson declined to comment further.
“I don’t want to say any more about it,” he said.
“There’s a competition and it happened and, you know, I wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s chances by offering my support.
“I just have to work, and in the last few days or weeks of work, the constitutional function of the prime minister in this situation is to fulfill the mandate, to continue to fulfill the mandate, and that’s what I’m doing. .
A Number 10 source said last week that the Prime Minister had spoken to Conservative 1922 committee chairman Sir Graham Brady before his resignation and agreed that a new Tory leader would be appointed before the party’s conference in October.
But several of his MPs want him out immediately, saying that after so many resignations from his government, he does not have the authority to lead.
Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major wrote to Sir Graham last week allowing Mr Johnson to remain in the post for three months would be “unwise and potentially unsustainable”.
Meanwhile, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has also done so threatened to express a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons, with the support of other opposition parties, if the Tory MPs cannot immediately reject it.
Rumors swirled over the weekend that Mr Johnson could be involved in the upcoming Conservative leadership race.
However, this is against the Conservative Party’s election rules, which state: “A retiring leader is ineligible to stand in the next leadership election.”
A Number 10 source told Sky News that Mr Johnson would not seek to run in any leadership contest and that claims he would do so were “not true”.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has officially joined the Tory leadership race and Home Secretary Priti Patel is potentially set to announce her candidacy.
Foreign Secretary Rehman Chishti also made a surprise entry, meaning 11 Conservatives are now in the running to replace Johnson as Prime Minister.