Former UK business secretary and Conservative Party senior leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said Boris Johnson remains best placed to take over the role of the chairman of the party after Nadhim Zahawi was sacked from the post.
Rees-Mogg has stood by the former UK prime minister and Conservative Party chairman through thick and thin and while speaking to UK-based newspaper the Telegraph Rees-Mogg said Johnson has all the qualities to take on the role.
If Johnson returns, he will be back to the Conservative Party frontbench after a four-month hiatus. “He’s a sort of fully loaded Conservative. So I think that type of personality would be a very good one for a party chairman,” Rees-Mogg was quoted as saying by the Telegraph.
Rees-Mogg further added that Johnson can inspire the party workers and young members. The newspaper spoke to another senior member who pointed to Boris Johnson’s ability to attract funds at fundraisers – which could be crucial come 2024 as England would enter an election year.
The leader also told the newspaper that Johnson could get party workers out on the streets.
However, not all members agree, as one Tory MP, Robin Walker, who is also the chairman of the education select committee told the Telegraph that Johnson is a “divisive” figure.
Rishi Sunak, UK Prime Minister, previously indicated that he wants to take his time and appoint a party chairman. It remains unclear if he would appoint his former boss – who accused him of backstabbing him, forcing him to step down – to a post where he would have to work closely with him again, more so come 2024.
The favourites to take on the role following Zahawi’s exit are Matt Vickers, Brandon Lewis and Oliver Dowden. Dowden and Lewis have earlier served as party chairmen and were favourite among the backbenchers who want an experienced person to take over the role.
Some party members, according to the report by Telegraph, lamented Zahawi’s exit, fearing a like-for-like replacement is not available currently.
Some also remained apprehensive about Matt Vickers, deputy Tory chairman representing Stockton South – a close ally of Sunak and early bookies’ favourite – as they seek experience.
The report said Priti Patel has emerged as an outsider candidate and Mark Harper, the transport secretary, is also being considered.
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