Backbenchers are laughing at ‘arrogant’ Boris Johnson after 2030 claim, rebel Tory MPs say

Would they include Simon Jupp? Owl thinks not but is open to be corrected.

By Hugo Gye, Arj Singh 

Conservative opponents of Boris Johnson have responded angrily to the Prime Minister’s claim that he could continue in office beyond 2030.

Rebel MPs accused Mr Johnson of being “arrogant” by saying he is considering serving a third term in No 10 before he has completed his first, and with more than 100 backbenchers already opposed to him.

They also called on Cabinet ministers to follow the lead of Oliver Dowden by resigning in protest at the Prime Minister’s leadership.

Speaking in Rwanda, where he was attending a Commonwealth summit, Mr Johnson said: “At the moment I am thinking actively about the third term and you know, what could happen then. But I will review that when I get to it.” He confirmed that this could stretch to “the mid-2030s”.

He later clarified his remarks at the G7 summit in Germany, claiming he was making a point about being focused on the long-term challenges that the UK faces.

A leading rebel MP said that anti-Johnson backbenchers were “laughing” at the claim, which would see the Prime Minister extend his time in office beyond that of Margaret Thatcher.

The backbencher told i: “In three years he’s gone as far as Thatcher in 10. Popular in Ukraine does not equal popular at home.”

Most Cabinet ministers have remained publicly loyal to Mr Johnson despite the double by-election defeat on Friday. Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, told Sky News: “This is somebody I think who is capable of winning a general election, delivering for our country, as he has done in the past.”

Mr Dowden resigned as Conservative party co-chair hours after it became clear that the Tories had been defeated by Labour in Wakefield and by the Liberal Democrats in Tiverton & Honiton.

He said that “somebody must take responsibility” for the party’s poor position in what was largely seen as a dig at Mr Johnson.

Tim Loughton, the long-serving MP for East Worthing & Shoreham, told Times Radio: “I’d like to see some ministers stand up to the Prime Minister and stand up for their own principles, and stand up for the Conservative Party and the Government. Because at the moment, we’ve got quite a few problems.”

Asked whether he thought it was realistic for Mr Johnson to continue until 2030, he said: “I don’t think it’s very helpful. I think it could be construed as a little arrogant. And I seem to recall Mrs Thatcher, when she was slightly on the ropes, talking about going on and on and on.”

Theresa May’s former deputy Damian Green criticised “the fashion of finding ‘wedge issues’ where you divide the population and leave your political opponents on the wrong side of an argument”.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, he also appeared to call for a Cabinet revolt, saying: “It is not a secret that a significant proportion of the Cabinet think they could do a better job of leading the country than the current incumbent. Now would be a good time to demonstrate those leadership qualities.”