Boost for Boris! Theresa May’s former right-hand man backs Brexiteer for Tory leadership

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Mr Johnson launched his campaign yesterday, with the former Foreign Secretary vowing to negotiate a better Brexit deal. The former Mayor of London said he will use the threat of no deal to renegotiate. Writing in The Daily Telegraph Mr Timothy said: “Despite his flaws and indiscretions, and despite the qualities of the other candidates, Boris alone has the belief in Brexit, the determination to deliver it, and the ability to defeat Labour in an election.”

This intervention comes on the back of the worst ever Tory performance at a national election, with the Tories coming 5th in the European elections behind the Brexit Party, Greens, Labour and Liberal Democrats with just 8.8 percent of the vote.

Mr Timothy agreed with Mr Johnson’s remarks that the party would face “extinction” if Brexit is delayed beyond October 31st.

He explained: “The Tories simply have to get Brexit done. If they do not, they face destruction as an electoral force.

But even if Brexit happens, they face electoral upheaval, because some Remain-supporting Conservatives will inevitably take their votes elsewhere.”

READ MORE: Nigel Farage compares Boris Johnson to Churchill for this quality

The former Number 10 aide added the next party leader would have to keep the current supporters within the party and win voters from Labour.

A recent poll suggested Mr Johnson would secure a 140-seat majority in the Commons and retain 68 percent of the Tory vote from 2017.

Mr Johnson is the bookies favourite, but he also started that way in 2016 and pulled out after Michael Gove launched a leadership bid.

Mr Timothy argued Mr Johnson’s will work well with Conservative colleagues if he becomes Prime Minister.

He wrote: “Boris also knows his MPs. Some of them question his willingness to stay on top of his brief.

“But he has made clear he will be a prime minister who delegates and trusts the “team of stars” he appoints to his Cabinet.”

Mrs May’s former adviser added Mr Johnson would have to be “brave” to win Brexit concessions from the EU.

He argued: “Unless he is prepared to be bold and brave, he will not change the weather in Europe, and unless he does that, his determination to leave the EU by October will bring about a confrontation with Parliament, and an early general election.

“Boris also suffers from a personal Catch-22. When he is very much himself, his critics write him off as unserious and unstatesmanlike. When he shows his serious side, they say he has lost his mojo. But he is learning to balance his sense of fun – which is a key part of his appeal – with the discipline of high office.”

Mr Johnson and Mr Gove will be joined in the leadership race by Matt Hancock, Mark Harper, Jeremy Hunt, Sajid Javid, Andrea Leadsom, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and Rory Stewart.

The first ballot of party MPs is on Thursday with MPs needing to acquire 5 percent or 16 votes to remain in the running.

When considering the MPs who have declared publicly who they will vote for, Ms Leadsom fails to reach this target.

Subsequent ballots will be held on June 18, 19 and 20 with candidates then needing 32 votes or 10 percent to stay in contention.

Though more votes will be available to MPs when candidates are remaining Mr Harper, Ms McVey and Mr Stewart currently falling short.

If all MPs reach this target, the one with the lowest tally will be eliminated, this would continue until there are just 2 candidates remaining.

Then a ballot of all party members will be conducted, with the result expected in the week beginning July 22nd.

Theresa May remains as PM and acting party leader while the process is completed.

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