On Sunday evening, GB News Presenter Mark Dolan spoke with Sir Gerald who compared the current political climate to the resignation of Margaret Thatcher in 1990 when she failed to receive a majority of the Conservative Party’s vote for leader. Sir Gerald said: “We were in tears when the Great Lady was knifed but we wiped the tears away, brushed ourselves down and got behind our friend John Major.”
Following the news of Boris Johnson withdrawing from the leadership contest, Mr Dolan asked: “Will the Tory party forgive Rishi Sunak for his perceived role in getting Boris Johnson out this summer?”
Sir Gerald replied: “I don’t know whether they will or not, but I think that they should. I think we’ve got to look to the future.
“This is the most successful political party in the western world, it’s been going for 200 years and as I said it’s been absolutely transformational, even under Boris Johnson’s leadership.”
Sir Gerald then went on to praise the former prime minister Mr Johnson and added “Yes, we’ve had all this partygate stuff, which I’m afraid I think…was largely froth when you set it against the key issues.”
The former MP then described what he believed were Mr Johnson’s best political achievements, saying: “He was elected on a platform of getting Brexit done…he got a much better deal than Theresa May.”
He also praised Mr Johnson’s decisions during the coronavirus pandemic and said: “He got the vaccines right, yes there were disagreements on lockdown, but don’t forget that the advice he was getting…from the medics was that you should lock down even further.”
He added: “Thirdly…he got Ukraine right..I know the country and Boris Johnson has been brilliant.”
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The GB News discussion took the place after it was announced that Boris Johnson will not stand in the current Conservative Party leadership election, making Chancellor Rishi Sunak the most favoured candidate to be the next Prime Minister.
In his announcement, Mr Johnson he would be “well placed” to help the Conservative Party win the 2024 General Election.
He said: “Tonight I can confirm that I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and a seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow”.
The media has not been able to verify these numbers as only 57 Tory MPs have publicly declared their intention to support Mr Johnson, while Rishi Sunak currently has 155 MPs backing him.
211 out of 357 have declared their nomination intentions for the next Conservative party leader, and those wishing to become the next Prime Minister have until 14:00 Monday to secure 100 Tory MPs vote in order to appear on the leadership ballot.
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Mr Johnson added: “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.”
Since the announcement, Mr Sunak has praised the former prime minister’s actions during his leadership and said: “Boris Johnson delivered Brexit and the great vaccine roll-out. He led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced, and then took on Putin and his barbaric war in Ukraine.
“We will always be grateful to him for that. Although he has decided not to run for PM again, I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”