Boris Johnson “is the best choice” to replace Liz Truss in the newly-launched Conservative leadership contest, a prominent Ukrainian politician has told Express.co.uk. Mr Johnson resigned after overwhelming pressure from his own party and Cabinet just three months ago, triggering a drawn-out leadership contest from which Liz Truss emerged as the winner.
As he was ousted from office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid homage to his “true friend”, and said he hoped “close relations” between No 10 and Kyiv would continue.
He told The Sunday Times: “When we learned that there would be a change of government, all of us were concerned.”
He added: “Johnson was supporting us and a lot depends on the leader. The leader is the one who communicates.
“The leader is the one that mediates between a country and its people, and a leader has an impact upon society.”
As Liz Truss announced her resignation in Downing Street on Thursday, thoughts quickly turned to who would become the next person to take up the mantle as PM.
Former leadership contender Rishi Sunak emerged as an early frontrunner as did the Leader of the Commons, Penny Mordaunt.
To some people’s surprise, calls for Boris Johnson to return to his former role rapidly gained volume.
Vocal support from the ex-Tory leader came not least from the Ukrainian government, with its official account posting on Twitter a meme referencing the popular Netflix series, ‘Better Call Saul’, by imposing Mr Johnson’s face over the actor’s and substituting in his name.
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He added: “[Johnson] identified the need of the world and Europe, very correctly, to resist Russia, to stop Russia.
“I would say that the victory of Ukrainian Armed Forces right now is dedicated also to the UK and namely to Boris Johnson, because without supplies of military ammunition and weapons, without great political, moral and financial support from your country, Ukraine would be in a much [more] severe situation right now.”
Mr Omelyan then said he felt it “doesn’t really matter who is the prime minister to understand the real national interest of your country”, emphasising the decision was up to the British people.
He commented: “In my humble opinion, Boris Johnson is the best choice your nation can make.
“But still, you are definitely to decide.
“I can only judge him as a leader in foreign policy towards Ukraine and European affairs.
“He did the best and I would say that he is number one in Europe for sure.”
This afternoon, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace ruled himself out of the leadership race, adding he felt he could “have the best value in keeping people safe at defence by being the defence secretary”.
On who he would support as the next Conservative leader and Prime Minister, he said: “At the moment, I would lean towards Boris Johnson.”
But Crispin Blunt MP has slammed Mr Johnson’s chances of staging a comeback, adding the former PM’s flaws were “brutally exposed” earlier this year.
Another Tory MP told The Times that his return would send the Conservatives “straight back into the pickle we were in when he was in office”.