Only Boris has the ‘oomph’ to be leader! Tory minister Liz Truss throws her backing behind Johnson a week after she ruled herself out of the race
- Liz Truss is joining Boris Johnson’s campaign as his ‘policy tsar’
- She believes only Boris has the ‘oomph’ to take the country out of the EU
- Her backing will cement Mr Johnson’s status as the early leadership frontrunner
Boris Johnson’s Tory leadership ambitions received a substantial boost last night after he became the first candidate to receive a public endorsement from a Cabinet Minister.
Liz Truss, who abandoned her own ambitions last week, today announces she is joining Mr Johnson’s campaign as his ‘policy tsar’, entrusted with devising a manifesto for a Boris premiership.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury uses an article in today’s Mail on Sunday to argue that out of the large field of candidates, only Boris has the ‘oomph’ to take the country out of the EU by the October 31 deadline and ‘unleash the dynamism and talent’ of Britain.
Liz Truss has thrown her support behind Boris Johnson to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader
Her backing will cement Mr Johnson’s status as the early frontrunner in the race to succeed Theresa May, and the former Foreign Secretary is expected to name more backers in the coming days.
It follows the acrimonious collapse of the so-called ‘Bamber’ ticket between Mr Johnson and Amber Rudd.
The pair met on Thursday to try to thrash out a joint policy on Brexit – only for Mr Johnson to reject Ms Rudd’s demand for him to rule out No Deal.
This week, Boris Johnson rejected Amber Rudd’s demand for him to rule out No Deal
Mr Johnson refused to be ‘bounced’ into dropping his pledge to leave the EU ‘with or without a deal’ and his camp pointedly insisted that they would not be ‘handing out jobs for endorsements’.
One source close to Mr Johnson said: ‘Boris is happy to leave the door open if Amber changes her mind but his terms will not change.’
The Mail on Sunday has also learned of major concerns within Mr Johnson’s camp that Ms Rudd’s backing was seen by some as ‘counterproductive’ to securing the endorsement of other MPs.
Allies of Ms Rudd insisted the talks had been amicable but disappointing. However, friends of the Pensions Secretary say she assured Mr Johnson he would have her support if it came down to a straight fight between him and Brexit hardliner Dominic Raab.
Sources said that the pro-Remain Ms Rudd was now looking to join forces with Environment Secretary Michael Gove because she believes he can be persuaded to delay Brexit beyond October – and even to sign up to a second referendum.
One Cabinet Minister claimed to this newspaper that Mr Gove had told them that if he was leader he would be happy to delay Brexit until the end of 2020.
Ms Truss writes today that she is proud to be working with Boris on a ‘policy platform based on popular free-market conservatism that can take us through Brexit and beyond’, adding that: ‘We need a leader who can fight Labour’s negative and destructive worldview head-on. Boris has proven he’s a winner, and now we need someone to win the battle of ideas.’
Ms Truss says she and Boris ‘share a deep optimism about the power of individual creativity and enterprise to deliver progress and prosperity’, and sets out policies such as cutting stamp duty, scrapping business regulations and introducing free enterprise areas.
She says: ‘As Chief Secretary, I know there’s still waste to cut. We need to be prepared to stand up to the vested interests who have come to rely on Government handouts, and if Boris has proven one thing, it’s that he doesn’t shy away from a fight.
‘As someone who grew up in a Left-wing household, my first political act was rebellion. It’s why I believe people should be free to live their lives as they see fit.’
Describing Boris as a ‘British freedom fighter’, she writes: ‘He’s the original champion of the social freedoms brought in by Conservatives since 2010.
‘He’s the candidate to carry the Conservative torch to the next generation.’
Ms Truss pulled out of the leadership race because she concluded that despite now being pro-Brexit, she voted Remain in 2016 and she would struggle to persuade the Brexiteers in her party to back her.
It now means she would be in prime position to achieve her ambition of becoming the first female Chancellor.
One Tory MP, commenting on the ‘Gamber’ ticket, said: ‘Michael Gove is getting some momentum. His pledge to delay Brexit to the end of 2020 is bound to be popular with some but we think it will destroy the Conservative Party and put Corbyn into Downing Street.’
Why I’m backing Boris, Britain’s freedom fighter, by Liz Truss
We have a massive task ahead of us over the next six months. We must leave the European Union, deal or no deal, by October 31.
At the same time, we must unleash the dynamism and talent of Britain to make a huge success of our economy by taking full advantage of the new freedom we will have.
This task is not for the faint-hearted. It will take bravery and a strong platform of policies that can deliver.
Boris Johnson is the person with the credibility and oomph to lead at this crucial time and bring Britain with us
Boris Johnson is the person with the credibility and oomph to lead at this crucial time and bring Britain with us.
I am proud to be working with Boris on a policy platform based on popular free-market conservatism that can take us through Brexit and beyond.
In recent years, we’ve lost confidence to make the argument that Conservative principles can change people’s lives.
We’ve let Labour tell us that more red tape, public spending and higher taxes are inevitable.
We’re told that the country is beset by misery, young people are all flag-waving revolutionaries, wealth creators are the enemy, and only the coming of Jeremy Corbyn’s Socialist utopia can solve our problems.
We need a leader who can fight Labour’s negative and destructive worldview head-on. Boris has proven he’s a winner, and now we need someone to win the battle of ideas. He’s on the side of the challenger, the start-up, the sole trader.
We share a deep optimism about the power of individual creativity and enterprise to deliver progress and prosperity.
Only by standing up and making the case for popular, free-market conservatism will we have any hope of winning the next Election and leading Britain into the future.
To succeed, we must harness that enterprising spirit. By cutting taxes like stamp duty that hold back home ownership and growth, we can boost the economy to deliver more jobs and higher wages.
Where business regulations are having little to no benefit, they should be scrapped and there should be a high bar for new regulations coming in.
Likewise, we should embrace freeports and free planning zones – areas where firms can import raw materials, make finished goods and then export them, with none of the border taxes the rest of the country has to pay.
They have the potential to create new hotbeds of economic growth in all corners of the UK.
Conservative mayors in Birmingham, Tees Valley and elsewhere have shown us how it’s done.
By unleashing enterprise and building world-class infrastructure, we can make the UK a country of 20 global cities, not just a handful. From Bolton to Walsall, Plymouth to Inverness, our nation is full of pent-up economic potential.
We won’t make Britain greater by punishing high-growth business or regions. Instead, we need to raise every part of Britain up by giving them freedom to succeed.
To do that, we must make sure every person has the basic tools to lead a successful life.
That means a good school, opportunity for a great degree or apprenticeship, better local roads and public transport, and ultra high-speed broadband for everyone.
But it shouldn’t mean tax hikes. As Treasury Chief Secretary, I know there’s still waste to cut, and every pound wasted on a vanity project is a pound that cannot be spent on a classroom teacher or road upgrade.
We need to be prepared to stand up to the vested interests who have come to rely on Government handouts, and if Boris has proven one thing, it’s that he doesn’t shy away from a fight.
Finally, I’m backing Boris because he’s the candidate who best represents the future of Britain.
As someone who grew up in a Left-wing household, my first political act was rebellion. It’s why I’ve always believed people should be free to live their lives as they see fit, without being told what to think, how big their pizza should be, or what to view online.
If there’s one thing young people value more than ever, it’s their personal freedom in a world that has never been more open. Boris is a British freedom fighter.
He’s the original champion of the social freedoms brought in by Conservatives since 2010.
He’s the candidate to carry the Conservative torch to the next generation and win young people over to the cause of freedom in a world where people like Jeremy Corbyn want to take it away.
As I’ve travelled the country talking to working people about public spending, they, by and large, tell me the same thing.
They don’t want government to control every part of their lives or hand them everything on a plate.
They want the opportunity of a good job, to keep more of their own money, to get from A to B without breaking the bank, and a good school place for their child. And they want reasons to be cheerful about the future of their country.
Boris Johnson, and the platform on which he stands, is the candidate who can deliver that. He has massive appeal to people in Britain who ask nothing more than for the opportunity to lead a better life.
He’s the leader who can get us out of the EU, but also give people hope and optimism about their future and the country’s future. There’s only one person for the job, and that’s why I’m backing Boris.
Michael Gove pledges £1billion to help Britain’s schools as he tries to mend fences with teachers after he oversaw swingeing cuts as Education Secretary
Leadership hopeful Michael Gove is pledging a £1billion increase to the schools budget
Michael Gove will today pledge a £1 billion increase to the schools budget as the former Education Secretary attempts to unpick his unpopularity among teachers.
The Tory leadership hopeful has vowed to restore the amount of money spent per pupil to 2015 levels in real terms, following a three-year slump.
Following the education reforms he brought in between 2010 and 2014, Mr Gove has been deeply unpopular within the sector and among parents, and was demoted amid fears his reputation could cost the Tories at the ballot box.
But his latest policy has earned him the endorsement of fellow former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, who says Mr Gove is ‘ready to lead the nation’.
She told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Michael is determined that as the Prime Minister, we will find that extra money.’
Backing the campaign of Mr Gove, who has been Environment Secretary since 2017, Ms Morgan said: ‘You have got him as a former Education Secretary, me as a former Education Secretary – education absolutely has to be at the total heart of the Conservative Government’s policies going forward.’
Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says endorsed Mr Gove and said he is ‘ready to lead the nation’
She added: ‘I followed Michael into the Department for Education, I absolutely know what it takes to turn a department around, to make it deliver and Michael has done that in successive departments.
‘In No 10 now, you want someone with a real track record of delivery and I think Michael absolutely has to be the strongest person.’
Last night Mr Gove’s campaign manager, Commons Leader Mel Stride, called him ‘the outstanding Minister of our time’.
By Harry Cole, Deputy Political Editor for the Mail on Sunday
‘Classic Old Etonian rivalry’: Boris Johnson’s allies dismiss fellow Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart’s attacks as nothing more than schoolboy banter
Rory Stewart’s attacks on his Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson were last night blamed on ‘classic Old Etonian rivalry’.
Mr Johnson’s allies claimed Mr Stewart’s targeting of their man bore all the hallmarks of the fierce competitiveness instilled in pupils at the elite school.
Mr Stewart, who at 46 is eight years younger than his rival, also followed him to the same Oxford University college – Balliol.
Rory Stewart’s attacks on his Tory leadership rival Boris Johnson have been blamed on ‘classic Old Etonian rivalry’
The two men both went on to serve at the Foreign Office, although Mr Stewart was a junior diplomat compared to Mr Johnson’s stint as Foreign Secretary.
In the past week, the International Development Secretary has criticised Mr Johnson, insisting he could never serve under him and branding him an untrustworthy ‘Pinocchio’.
Last night, one Minister backing Mr Johnson said: ‘This level of rivalry has a classic ring to it.
‘It’s just an Eton thing and, to be honest, a Balliol thing as well.
‘You only truly despise someone who is very similar to you but always destined to go one better.’
Friends of Mr Stewart dismissed the rivalry claim as ‘absurd’.
Tory insiders say some of the party’s MPs are impressed by Mr Stewart’s ‘competence’, contrasting it with ‘gaffe-prone’ Mr Johnson.
But Mr Johnson’s backers point out that Mr Stewart is also accident-prone, recalling that as a newly elected MP in 2010, he had to apologise after branding some areas of his Cumbrian constituency ‘pretty primitive’, with ‘people holding up their trousers with bits of twine’.
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