Boris Johnson DID have enough backing to go for Tory leadership. So why didn’t he?

Tireless self-promoter: Boris Johnson spent a huge amount of time performing stunts like this zipwire nonsense. He would have been well up for another Tory leadership contest… except suddenly he wasn’t. Have we been told the whole story about that?

Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee, has made it clear that Boris Johnson did have more than the 100 nominations he needed to take part in the Tory leadership contest that ended when Rishi Sunak went unopposed.

According to the BBC,

Sir Graham said “two candidates” had reached the threshold, and “one of them decided not to then submit his nomination”.

This raises – again – the question This Writer posed when Johnson withdrew from the leadership contest: why?

I suggested a few reasons at the time:

It has … been suggested that, while Johnson would be an extremely popular choice among Conservative members, he would be electorally catastrophic for the party with most voters unwilling to forgive and forget the transgressions of his original period as prime minister – irrespective of whether MPs would unite behind him.

Could one possibly argue that Johnson was brought in simply to take votes away from any other serious candidate, to ensure they could not progress through the process and, thereby, to deprive Conservative Party members of their democratic choice?

That would be a blow for the party faithful – especially as Johnson was their preferred choice.

Brady has poured cold water on the second of these ideas:

Sir Graham insisted the committee had wanted to involve party members in the leadership race, despite setting a “very high” nomination threshold to speed up the contest.

“We thought it was in the national interest to get a result as quickly as possible – but wanted to make sure we weren’t closing that possibility that the members would also have a vote,” he said.

But do we believe that?

Johnson is not the kind of man who will give up on his ambitions lightly – especially knowing that a majority of Conservative Party members would have supported him.

So what really happened?

Was he discouraged from putting his nomination in? If so, then by whom? And what reasons were given?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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