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New Forest MP Sir Desmond Swayne backs for Suella Braverman as Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigns as Conservative leader

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NEW Forest West MP Sir Desmond Swayne has revealed who he is backing for the next Prime Minister.

After an unprecedented set of government resignations over the past 24 hours, Boris Johnson today (Thursday) announced he was standing down as leader of the Conservatives.

Speaking outside Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: "It is clearly now the will of the parliamentary conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and so a new prime minister.

Sir Desmond Swayne
Sir Desmond Swayne

"I've agreed with Sir Graham Brady... that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now.

He thanked "millions for their mandate" after securing the biggest share of the vote since 1979 and explained why he still thinks it’s a bad idea to change leadership and “regrets he was not successful in persuading colleagues.”

Mr Johnson said: "The reason I have fought so hard over the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you.

"I'm immensely proud of the achievements of this government in getting Brexit done, to settling our relations with the continent reclaiming the power for this country to make its own laws in Parliament.

"Getting this country through the pandemic, getting the fastest vaccine roll-out in Europe, the fastest exit from lockdown and in the last few months leading the West in standing up to Putin's aggression in Ukraine."

He then addressed the people in Ukraine, saying the UK will "continue to back their fight".

He confirms he will serve "until a new leader is in place".

This morning Sir Desmond tweeted "I'm backing Suella", referring to Attorney General and Fareham MP Suella Braverman who last night announced she would "put my name in the ring" in a leadership contest.

She was among a raft of cabinet members to call for Johnson to go, but was one of the few not to quit their role.

He told the A&T: "I am sorry that Boris Johnson’s premiership has ended in this way. He was a very gifted campaigner and campaigner.

"I had many policy differences with him, but he had my support. It was clear, however, that recent events robbed him of the support of his government colleagues.

"I will campaign for Suella Braverman, who has been an excellent Attorney General, and whom I believe will follow Mrs Thatcher as an outstanding female Prime Minister."

Hampshire County Councillor Fran Carpenter was furious with members of her party who carried out the "biggest betrayal".

In a statement, she said: "To my Conservative MP colleagues... you wouldn’t support Boris at the time when he needed it most. You have just carried out the biggest betrayal of the people’s vote in history.

"I know not your individual reasons. But you couldn’t see when you had a great thing going, nor the dark influences trying to undermine it all.

"You fell for it. You reap what you sow."

Town and district councillor Jack Davies said the Conservative Party had imploded and "left the country without a fully-functioning government".

"Our Conservative MPs are playing political games in Westminster whilst real problems don’t get solved.

“We need a government that is fully focused on tackling the cost of living, reducing NHS waiting times, and fixing our run-down schools.

“We can’t tackle these really important issues because we’ve got a lame duck in Downing Street and out-of-touch Conservative MPs focused only on their own careers. It’s time for a fresh start for the people of Britain and a new MP for New Forest West.”

In total, 55 MPs submitted letters of resignation, including Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak

On Tuesday, Mr Javid said: "It has been an enormous privilege to serve in this role, but I regret that I can no longer continue in good conscience."

He added: "I served for you loyally and as your friend. We all serve the country first. When made to choose between those loyalties there can be only one answer."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak then resigned saying: "The public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously. I recognise this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning."

But Liz Truss then said she was "100% behind" Mr Johnson.

This morning, Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi also called on him to go as a further nine stepped down from their roles.

Yesterday, dozens of ministers quit and levelling up boss Michael Gove reportedly told Mr Johnson he must leave before PMQs. He was later sacked.

During PMQs Mr Johnson repeatedly said he would be "getting on with the job" despite members of his own party taking the opportunity to call on him to go.

One Tory backbencher told the House Mr Johnson had yesterday blamed other MPs for Chris Pincher inappropriate behaviour last week, saying the Prime Minister said seven MPs who were present should have stopped him drinking so much.

Suella Braverman
Suella Braverman

Last night, a delegation of cabinet ministers, reported to include staunch loyalist Priti Patel and newly-appointed Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, arrived at Downing Street to tell the PM to quit.

But a rival contingent, including Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, were also there to urge him to fight on and he told them he would not be quitting.

ITV reported he told colleagues it was a choice between a summer focused on economic growth or the chaos of a leadership contest and possible general election.

Mr Pincher is accused of groping two men at the Carlton Club – a private members' club popular with Tory politicians.

The MP was suspended after resigning from his post.

He's said to have been so drunk he couldn't remember his address and was bundled into a taxi at 1am, handing in his resignation the following day and saying he "drank too much".

Mr Johnson at first said he knew nothing of previous claims against former deputy chief whip Mr Pincher.

It has since transpired Mr Johnson was aware of past allegations of improper conduct levelled at Mr Pincher but appointed him anyway.

Downing Street at first denied he knew anything before saying he didn't know about any "specific incidents" but was aware of new reports and "unsubstantiated" claims.

But earlier a cabinet minister said the PM "forgot"he'd been told about an upheld complaint against Mr Pincher in 2019.

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