Jacob Rees-Mogg cautions Conservatives not to obstruct Boris Johnson’s return to Parliament.
Former Cabinet member Jacob Rees-Mogg has advised the Conservatives against any attempt to prevent Boris Johnson from running for another parliamentary seat.
Mr. Rees-Mogg told the Mail on Sunday that doing so would send the Conservative Party “into civil war.”
Mr Johnson resigned as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Friday due to the Partygate inquiry.
Mr. Rees-Mogg had been knighted earlier that day as part of his resignation honours.
According to a Conservative Party official, all possible constituency candidates, whether former MPs or not, went through the same screening procedure.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer declared that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had “failed to end” what he dubbed “the Tory chaos” and called for a fast election.
Mr Johnson resigned as an MP after learning in advance of a report by the Commons Privileges Committee looking into whether he intentionally misled the Commons about lockdown breaches in Downing Street.
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On Friday evening, Mr Johnson issued an incendiary 1,000-word statement, saying, “I have received a letter from the Privileges Committee making it clear – much to my amazement – that they are determined to use the proceedings against me to drive me out of Parliament.”
He claimed the draft was “riddled with inaccuracies and reeks of prejudice,” and he referred to the committee as a “kangaroo court” whose goal was “to find me guilty, regardless of the facts.”
The committee will not confirm the recommended sentence until it releases its report on Mr Johnson, which is expected this week.
However, two sources told the BBC that the sentence recommended by the committee in the materials provided to Mr Johnson was a 10-day suspension from the Commons.
The 10-day term is significant because if the House of Commons authorizes an MP’s suspension for 10 sitting days or more, that MP would face a recall petition in their district, which could result in a by-election.
In his resignation letter, the former prime minister stated that he was “very sad to be leaving Parliament,” before adding, “at least for now.”
One of his closest allies, former Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries, had unexpectedly resigned from her Mid Bedfordshire seat.
On Saturday, another Conservative supporter, Nigel Adams, quit, sparking a third by-election for the party.
Mr Johnson’s political future has since included speculation that he would run for another seat, though there is no evidence that this is likely.
Mr Rees-Mogg wrote in the Mail on Sunday that Mr Johnson could “easily get back into Parliament at the next election,” and that he was “in pole position to return as Conservative leader if a vacancy should arise.”
“I would most strongly warn Conservative Party managers against any attempt to block Boris if he seeks the party nomination in another seat,” the former business secretary continued.
“Any attempt to do so would shatter our fragile party unity and plunge the Conservatives into civil war.”
Former Conservative deputy prime minister Michael Heseltine, on the other hand, has argued Mr Johnson should not be permitted to compete for a Tory seat again.
“It is inconceivable to me that he could stand as a Conservative member of parliament again in these circumstances,” he writes in the Observer.
Mr Heseltine comments in response to the former Prime Minister’s resignation letter, “Words are designed to make his audience believe whatever they want to believe.” “There is no discernible truth or sense of integrity.”
He goes on to say that Mr. Johnson will leave Parliament with “little to do with the reality of the mess he left behind.”
Mr Starmer also accused Mr Sunak of failing to stand up to Mr Johnson and agreeing to “hand gongs to a cast list of cronies” in the Sunday Mirror.
“Rishi Sunak must finally find his backbone, call an election, and let the public have their say on 13 years of Tory failure,” he continued.
According to a government source, Mr Sunak is focused on delivering “what the British people want.”