Under fire Boris Johnson can win the next general election, a cabinet minister insisted today.
Brandon Lewis said the prime minister can motivate voters to back the Tories at the next election, despite a renewed campaign by his own MPs to topple him.
The Northern Ireland secretary said Johnson had proved he was an election winner even when he had been “written off.”
It comes as Tory rebels plot their next move to oust Johnson by pushing for a party rule change to allow a second confidence vote in his leadership.
They have been spurred on after the party was wiped out in two key by-elections in Tiverton and Honiton and Wakefield.
However, Lewis praised the PM’s “zest and enthusiasm” and insisted he was the “right person” to lead the Tories into the next general election.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “I think he’ll do that successfully.”
Lewis admitted there had been a “difficult backdrop” in both by-election seats and added: “We’ve got to make sure by the next general election we’re motivating those people to come out and vote for us.
“I do think Boris Johnson is the person who can do that. He’s proven that time and again, where people have written him off, both before London elections and before in the 2019 election, and then we’ve been able to come back and win, and win successfully. And I think he’s got the ability to do that.”
Tory MPs who want to remove Johnson are seeking election to the 18 most senior posts on the backbench 1922 Committee, which dictates how to conduct confidence votes in Tory party leaders.
Johnson won a confidence vote earlier this month – despite 41 per cent of Tory MPs voting for his removal.
Under current rules, another vote cannot be held for a year. However, rebels want that rule scrapped – which could be possible if 10 out of the 18 senior committee members back it.
The PM has brushed off threats to topple him with an astonishing prediction he will lead Britain into the 2030s.
Johnson stunned MPs plotting his downfall by insisting he is already thinking well beyond the next election and planning for his third term.
However, rebel Tory Andrew Bridgen, who is leading the charge for a second no confidence vote, told the Sun on Sunday: “When I heard he plans to stay until 2030, I thought he was talking about the 24-hour clock.
“I’m more than happy for him to stay until 20:30. He can even stay until nine o’clock if he wants – so long as he’s gone before parliament breaks up for summer.”
Asked if he was being delusional by talking about being PM into the 2030s, Johnson told reporters at the G7 summit in Germany: “What I’m saying is this is a government that is getting on with delivering for the people of this country and we’ve got a huge amount to do.”
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