Allies of Boris Johnson are concerned the former Prime Minister has blown his last chance. One of his supporters last night warned Mr Johnson has “no future” in Government.
Mr Johnson pulled out of the leadership race on Sunday, paving way for Rishi Sunak to become Prime Minister.
However, he did not rule out another attempt at becoming Prime Minister, saying that now is “not the right time”.
But one of his allies told the Mirror: “The future? He has f**king killed off any ‘future’ he had.”
Mr Johnson had the public backing of 59 Tory MPs, short of the 100 MPs required to be included on the leadership ballot.
But in his statement, the former Prime Minister claimed to have “cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations”, adding that there was a “very good chance” he could have been back in Downing Street by the end of the week if he had stood.
However, he continued: “You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament”.
In response, Mr Sunak encouraged him to remain in “public life”, saying: “Although he has decided not to run for PM again, I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”
Tory MP Iain Duncan-Smith claimed that Mr Johnson’s latest bid to return as Prime Minister was “demeaning”.
He claimed he was “struggling and begging people for votes”, adding: “That was demeaning, really”.
Michael Fabricant, a vocal supporter of Mr Johnson, said many MPs felt “betrayed” by his decision not to run.
He told GB News: “I know that a number of people in his team not only feel disappointed, they feel betrayed if I’m honest with you, they feel they’ve been led to the top of a hill fighting for him, got that 100 [nominations], went over 100, and now he’s stood down.”
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He questioned whether supporters would be willing to back him again, saying: “This is the second time this has happened, it happened in 2015, and it might be ‘hasta la vista baby’ but I don’t know how many people would support him a third time, if I’m honest.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Gullis, an education minister, said he was “gutted” Mr Johnson withdrew when he “believed in and wanted” him to come back as leader.
MPs have rallied around new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with many calling for unity.
In his first speech as Prime Minister, Mr Sunak warned of “difficult decisions” to come, saying the Government is grappling with a “profound economic crisis”.
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He said he had been elected as Tory leader to “fix” the “mistakes” made by his predecessor, Liz Truss.
Mr Sunak delivered his speech after he was appointed Prime Minister by King Charles earlier today.
In her resignation speech, Ms Truss urged the new Prime Minister to be “bold” in a bid to boost the economy.
She said the UK “cannot afford” for Government spending to take up an “increasing share of our national wealth”.
Ms Truss insisted “brighter days lie ahead” for the UK.