Friday 22 September 2017

'Calm down and get behind the Prime Minister' - Boris Johnson's Whatsapp message to MPs

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Boris Johnson has brushed off reports he is plotting to oust Theresa May insisting he fully supported her attempts to form a minority government.

The Foreign Secretary insisted that Mrs May was entitled to carry on in No 10 despite having lost her Commons majority in Thursday's General Election.

"Jeremy Corbyn did not win this election. It is absolutely right that she should go ahead and form a government," he said.

"I am going to be backing her. Absolutely everybody I'm talking to is going to be backing her as well."

Earlier it was reported that Mr Johnson had sent a WhatsApp message to Commons colleagues urging them to "calm down" following the election.

Mr Johnson's eight-point message said Tory MPs must "stop the narrative" that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "somehow won this thing", noting he "barely did better" than Gordon Brown in 2010, ITV News reported.

The timing of the message, and the subsequent public release of it, will do little to quash speculation Mr Johnson is setting the scene for a potential leadership bid.

Former Conservative chancellor George Osborne, now London Evening Standard editor, mocked Mr Johnson as he discussed the Sunday newspaper headlines on the Andrew Marr Show.

He told the BBC programme: "I've been reading stories about Boris Johnson running a leadership campaign for years. He's in a permanent leadership campaign so I'm not sure it qualifies as news."

Sources close to the Foreign Secretary had earlier dismissed reports he was plotting a leadership bid as "complete bollocks" and suggested "someone is trying to make mischief".

In the messages obtained by ITV, Mr Johnson is said to have written: "Folks we need to calm down and get behind the Prime Minister.

"She won more votes than anyone since Margaret Thatcher. I can't remember us having anything like 43% of the vote."

He also said the public "do not want another election" and labelled Mrs May a "woman of extraordinary qualities".

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