There has been unhappiness in some Tory quarters that Mr Johnson will remain in Downing Street for months until his successor is elected, with suggestions being made that Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab could instead become Prime acting minister during the leadership election.
But speaking on the BBC’s Today program this morning, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the treasurer of the 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs, said that scenario was now unlikely to happen.
“I think that ship sailed I think yesterday everybody (on) that advice they decided that Boris Johnson should stay and he made it very clear that he wouldn’t be making any major changes during this time. And I think that’s a good thing.
“These ministers coming back in a caretaker role, having resigned (from) their job, it will be a bit awkward for them.
“I think in an ideal world Dominic Raab as Deputy Prime Minister should have been caretaker Prime Minister, but that ship I think has sailed and now we have to live with the fact that Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister until a successor can be voted on.
Sir Geoffrey has said he wants the leadership election to be completed as quickly as possible, with MPs narrowing the candidates down to a final two before a vote by Conservative party members.
“In this case, I think there is a lot of competition. And I’d be surprised if that didn’t go to the members of the country.
“I think, actually, in these circumstances with the division within the party, I think it’s a good thing that it goes to the members so that they have the opportunity to have their say and to vote. “
On Monday, elections will be held for the executive of the 1922 Backbench Committee which will then set the rules and timetable for the leadership contest.
Under the current rules, MPs will vote in a series of secret ballots – depending on the number of candidates present – with the final two going to a member vote.
Chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat became the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring, saying he was building a “broad coalition” offering a “clean start”.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the former soldier said: ‘I have served before – in the army, and now in Parliament. Now I hope to answer the call again as Prime Minister.
Among the early favorites are former Chancellor Rishi Sunak – who resigned on Tuesday, helping to spark a series of ministerial resignations – and his successor, Nadhim Zahawi.
In a sign of what is likely to be a deadly contest, Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, a Johnson loyalist, has launched a scathing attack on Mr Sunak’s Treasury filing.
“Rishi Sunak was not a successful chancellor. He was a high-tax chancellor, and he was a chancellor who was inattentive to the inflationary problem,” he told Channel 4 News .
Former Tory cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell has said the next resident of No 10 must be someone ‘obviously moral’ who is ‘uncontaminated’ by the ‘mistakes’ of the previous tenant.
He told the BBC: “We need a leader who is untainted, uncontaminated, if you will, by mistakes. Particularly in the government’s tone, as well as in some of its actions, it has to be someone who clearly has experience. Finally, I think it has to be someone who is demonstrably moral and decent.
Elsewhere, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – who was returning early from an international gathering in Indonesia – and Defense Secretary Ben Wallace are both said to have strong backing.
Other ministers considering a run include Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Attorney General Suella Braverman and Cabinet Minister Penny Mordaunt.
From outside the government, former Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who also resigned on Tuesday, Jeremy Hunt, who was Mr Johnson’s runner-up in 2019, and arch Brexiteer Steve Baker could also stand.
Rachel Wolf, co-author of the 2019 Conservative manifesto and founder of polling firm Public First, said a measured leadership race should take place.
“A really quick contest would be terrible,” she told The Times.
“There are huge choices that have not been resolved by this government that will divide voters, the party, or both.”
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