Boris Johnson warned he ‘will not stand at next election’ as PM hit with dire forecast

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Boris Johnson will be able to hold on to his seat until past the coronavirus pandemic because none of his Conservative colleagues wants to put their careers on the line, according to Benedict Spence. The political commentator also suggested the Prime Minister will not lead the party through the next general election set to take place in 2024. Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Spence said: “Frankly, Boris Johnson, I don’t think he’s going to stand at the next general election even if he wanted to.

“And I don’t think he wants to. If you already know that vacancy is going to come up in a few years’ time, why on Earth would you push for that change now if you’re an ambitious Conservative?

“Because you can’t win if you become Prime Minister right now and you’re the one who has to reverse everything while we’re in the midst of a pandemic.

“I think we have to come to the end of that before we see any serious change.”

The warning came as 50 northern Conservative MPs demanded the Prime Minister outline a “clear roadmap” out of the coronavirus tier system as tensions continue to rise because of strict restrictions across the region.

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The disgruntled parliamentarians have also sought reassurances that pledges to level up the north will be delivered in the next four years.

Mr Spence however dismissed speculation suggesting Mr Johnson could lose his seat if rebellion continues to brew on the Conservative benches because of the political risks any successor would face.

He continued: “I would be surprised if there was anything drastic. The only thing that I could see facilitating that would be a change of administration.

“And when I say that I don’t mean a Labour government because Labour has been quite clear, actually, they want even stronger lockdown measures.

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“It would have to be another Conservative Prime Minister and the thing with that is we have to remember why he became Prime Minister, having had that array of Tory MPs against him, the never-Boris campaign that facilitated Theresa May becoming Prime Minister.

“He was seen very much like the man we need to put in place to be the sacrificial lamb, to be the battering ram to get Brexit done.

“That is what actually is going to solve this impasse and we don’t mind we’ll be having this man in charge for a couple of years to be the person to soak up the political flack.”

He added: “If you’ve already got a human shield, a Prime Minister who will fulfil that role in Number 10, why would anybody want to step unto the breach right now? In what is an even worse political situation.”

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Northern Research Group leader Jake Berry, a former minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said the restrictions put on the north have been “London-centric” as he warned the measures could create a new split between the north and the south.

Mr Berry and other 49 Conservative MPs have said the recent developments have sparked concerns northern regions may be “left behind” as the UK seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In their letter, they also called for a strategy to boost northern economic recovery from the worst effects of the pandemic.

It said: “The virus has exposed in sharp relief the deep structural and systemic disadvantage faced by our communities and it threatens to continue to increase the disparity between the North and South still further.”

But Number 10 said it was “committed to levelling up across the country”.

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