Bannerman calls for Boris Johnson to be on PM ballot
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Express.co.uk has learnt that the number of signatories for the Put Boris on the Ballot petition has now risen to by 2,000 to 12,000 Tory members. By some estimates this could equate to one in 10 of the party membership already backing a campaign triggered by the ousting of Mr Johnson by Tory MPs.
The petition has been spearheaded by Tory peer Lord Cruddas, a former party treasurer and supporter of Vote Leave, and the increase comes after campaigners also revealed they are confident to launch a legal bid to reverse Mr Johnson’s resignation.
The issue has highlighted a growing gulf between Tory MPs and ordinary members of the party many of whom want the Prime Minister to stay.
Claire Bullivant, editor of the Conservative Post and one of the petition organisers, said: “We don’t have a Prime Minister problem. We have a huge media problem.
“How can 60 herd-like MPs oust Boris? They fell for the biased media’s tricks. It’s undemocratic and the people must have their say. Let’s get Boris on the ballot.”
It is also increasingly clear that Mr Johnson does not want to go into political retirement and give up being at 10, Downing Street.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Lord Cruddas explained how Mr Johnson told him of his regrets over lunch at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official country residence.
Mr Johnson is reported to have told the peer that he does not want to resign and will stay on if the membership backs him.
The Prime Minister told the former treasurer over lunch at Chequers on Friday he wishes he could “wipe away” his resignation.
The revelation has led to another spike in Tory members backing the petition for him to be able to stay on.
The demands were also fuelled by another gruesome display by the two contenders to replace Mr Johnson in a leadership debate on the BBC last night.
Tories reacted with horror as Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss tore into one another over a range of issues with attacks getting quite personal at times.
At the end of the debate, despite the two claiming they would want each other in their respective cabinets, Ms Truss’ spokesman said that Mr Sunak “was not fit for office.”
But Mr Sunak’s own “bullying” behaviour during the debates had also angered many of his colleagues.
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Meanwhile, another campaign leader, former MEP David Campbell Bannerman yesterday revealed that a leading QC will take the issue of members not getting a vote on Mr Johnson to the High Court.
He told Express.co.uk that they are confident that they will have a strong legal case and will find out this week if it is worth proceeding.
The issue could also rear up at the Conservative Party conference in October when members will meet for the first time since the coup and have a chance to vent their fury.
It could overshadow the new Prime Minister’s first conference as Conservative leader.
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