'This is not over': Jeremy Hunt ally issues warning to Boris Johnson

‘This is not over’: Jeremy Hunt ally issues warning to Boris after leadership rival’s knifing of PM sparked furious blue-on-blue attacks

  • PM issued with a fresh leadership warning despite surviving confidence vote 
  • Embattled Boris Johnson told ‘this is not over’ by close ally of rival Jeremy Hunt 
  • Philip Dunne, who managed Mr Hunt’s 2019 campaign, warns of ‘choppy waters’

Boris Johnson was issued with a fresh leadership warning today after a close ally of rival Jeremy Hunt declared: ‘This is not over.’

After surviving last night’s confidence vote among Tory MPs, the Prime Minister this morning vowed to ‘get on with the job’ as he looks to fend off rebels who want him ousted from Number 10.

But there was little sign of his opponents backing down.

One warned of ‘very choppy waters ahead’ and suggested the question of who will lead the Conservatives into the next general election is still not settled.

Mr Johnson is now facing a renewed battle with Mr Hunt, who he defeated to win the Tory leadership in 2019, after the former health secretary came out against the PM yesterday.

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, who managed Mr Hunt’s leadership campaign in 2019, this morning revealed he had joined the ex-Cabinet minister in voting against Mr Johnson last night.

He told BBC Shropshire that Mr Johnson had ‘just’ won the confidence vote – by 211-148 votes – as he put the PM on notice that his position in Downing Street was still not secure.

Boris Johnson is now facing a renewed battle with Jeremy Hunt, who he defeated to win the Tory leadership in 2019, after the former health secretary came out against the PM

The PM this morning vowed to ‘get on with the job’ as he looks to fend off rebels who want him ousted from Number 10. But there was little sign of his opponents backing down

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, an ally of Mr Hunt, warned of ‘very choppy waters ahead’ and suggested the question of who will lead the Conservatives into the next general election is still not settled

Explaining his reasons for voting against Mr Johnson, he said: ‘I took the view that it would be better to try to provide the opportunity for integrity, for a new vision for the party, for a new degree of competence at the heart of Government.

‘I felt that’s what we should have had an opportunity to create.

‘It’s not going to happen for now but we’ll have to see what happens in the coming weeks and months; I think this is not over.’

Mr Dunne listed upcoming by-elections in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, a new Partygate investigation by the House of Commons’ Privileges Committee, the cost-of-living crisis and a Brexit row over Northern Ireland as upcoming challenges for the PM.

‘There’s some very choppy waters ahead,’ he added.

‘We do need to come together and we need to find a way to do that – whether that’s under the Prime Minister or somebody else.’

Mr Hunt’s public declaration that Tory MPs should vote for ‘change’ from Mr Johnson last night sparked furious blue-on-blue attacks.

The most vociferous came from the PM’s uber-loyalist Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries, who delivered a withering verdict on Mr Hunt’s time in Government and claimed he had been ‘wrong about almost everything’ from Brexit to Covid.

Mr Hunt’s public declaration against Mr Johnson sparked a furious riposte from the PM’s uber-loyalist Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries

Ex-minister Jesse Norman this morning hit back at criticism of his ministerial record from Jacob Rees-Mogg

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab this morning issued a plea for unity among warring Tory MPs, telling Sky News: ‘I like and respect both Nadine and Jeremy Hunt – he’s one of my Surrey neighbours – and we will need all of the energies of all of our MPs if we’re going to deliver for the people.

‘So I think it’s time to come together.’

But there was little sign of the tensions between Conservative MPs easing.

Former energy minister Jesse Norman, who penned an excoriating letter to the PM yesterday, hit back at criticism of his ministerial record by Johnson loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg.

After Mr Norman’s move against the PM, Mr Rees-Mogg suggested he had a ‘bone to pick’ with Mr Johnson, adding: ‘Jesse points out that he was energy minister – unfortunately, no proper energy plan was developed so Mr Norman must take responsibility for that. He doesn’t do so in his letter.’

But, in response to the Cabinet minister’s comments, Mr Norman posted on Twitter today: ‘Just for the record, the direct opposite is true. While I was at BEIS the Government massively expanded offshore wind and renewables, commissioned Hinkley Point C and put in place the UK Industrial Strategy.’

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