Michael Fabricant says Boris supporters 'feel betrayed'
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Having returned promptly from his holiday in the Caribbean, it was widely anticipated that Boris Johnson would enter the Conservative leadership contest to succeed Liz Truss. Despite reportedly having surpassed the threshold of 100 nominations among his Tory colleagues, the former Prime Minister announced he would not be standing in a shock statement on Sunday night. In wake of the announcement, fervent supporters of Johnson have been left “bitterly disappointed” as MP Michael Fabricant declared some supporting members felt “betrayed” by the move.
Tom Harwood, political correspondent for GB News, asked: “Last night we heard the news that Boris Johnson had chosen not to stand. How are you feeling now?”
Mr Fabricant responded sharply: “Bitterly disappointed.”
He continued: “I know that a number of people in his team not only feel disappointed, they feel betrayed, if I’m honest.
“They feel they have been led to the top of a hill fighting for him, got that one hundred – went over one hundred – and now he has stood down.”
Michael Fabricant had declared his support for the ‘Boris or Bust’ campaign just a day after Liz Truss stepped down as Prime Minister, eager to see the former leader reinstated as her successor.
He continued: “I understand his reasons, but this is the second time this has happened – it happened in 2015.
“It might ‘be hasta la vista baby’, but I don’t know how many people would support him a third time round if I’m honest.”
He concluded: “It’s a great shame.”
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Mr Fabricant referenced the 2015 Conservative leadership election as evidence for the steady growth of frustration among backers of Boris Johnson.
Following the resignation of David Cameron in wake of the EU Referendum, Boris Johnson was initially regarded among his Conservative colleagues as a frontrunner in the ensuing leadership contest.
After allowing speculation to mount, Johnson ultimately announced he would not stand for leadership and instead pledged his support to Andrea Leadsom, who later bowed out of the competition, allowing Theresa May to emerge victorious.
His decision not to stand this time around has echoed the same sentiments of allowing support to build before declining to enter the contest.
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In a statement announcing his decision, Boris Johnson said: “I have reached out to both Rishi and Penny – because I hoped that we could come together in the national interest – we have sadly not been able to work out a way of doing this.
“Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds.
“I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”
He asserted that he had achieved “the very high hurdle of 102 nominations” but had decided not to progress in the contest despite the high level of support.
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