Boris Johnson is said to be considering lucrative work in case he steps down as Prime Minister – despite insisting it will take a ‘Panzer division’ to get him out of Downing Street
Boris Johnson is claimed to be eyeing up lucrative work in the US in case he steps down as Prime Minister – despite boasting only a tank will remove him from Downing Street.
Downing Street sources today insisted the Prime Minister has no current plans to travel to America and is focused on his job – unveiling a new-look top team last night.
Mr Johnson also vowed publicly this week that he would be re-elected in 2024 – and privately said Tory plotters would need tanks to oust him.
A senior advisor told The Sunday Times: “He’s making very clear that they’ll have to send a Panzer division to get him out of there.”
But some Tories could turn on him if he is issued a fixed penalty notice by police over No10 parties.
And the newspaper reported that, if his reset of No10 does not work, he has been “exploring opportunities in the United States”.
This would allow him to make $250,000 per speech when he leaves office, according to the newspaper.
Serving ministers are largely banned from taking on jobs outside government.
But after he resigned as Foreign Secretary in 2018, Mr Johnson – who was going through a costly divorce – raked in hundreds of thousands of pounds outside Parliament.
He was paid £275,000 a year, which he once described as “chicken feed”, to write a Daily Telegraph column.
The Tory leader’s father Stanley was recently overheard moaning about his son’s money worries at a gentlemen’s club in central London, according to the Sunday Times.
And the newspaper quoted three sources claiming Carrie Johnson has privately voiced the view that her husband should consider quitting for the sake of his family.
One told the newspaper: “She was saying she had had enough a couple of weeks ago. She was telling friends the pressure on her was too much and she’d be happier if he left.”
It is not claimed that she is telling her husband to resign. But a friend of the Prime Minister’s wife told the newspaper: “She just wants to focus on her children.”
It’s understood Carrie Johnson’s top ally Henry Newman, who works as a £100k-a-year Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, will move to work for Michael Gove.
It is part of a wider reset of Downing Street but could anger Red Wall MPs as Mr Newman takes on responsibility for ‘Levelling-Up’, one of the PM’s main election pledges.
The PM will hope the changes are enough to win around wavering backbench Tory MPs who are considering over the weekend whether to submit letters of no confidence.
Reports suggest the threshold of 54 letters could be reached this week.
Ex-leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith gave only lukewarm backing to the PM today in a BBC interview – saying the Downing Street partygate saga and its aftermath had been “hugely damaging” and the public were “very angry”.
Asked if the party can recover with him in charge, he replied: “None of us know the answer to that question”.
Asked if Mr Johnson was the right person to lead the Conservatives into the next election, he replied: “I do at the moment”.
But Sir Iain insisted it it was not the right moment for a leadership election as tackling the cost of living crisis should be the first priority. He added: “My instinct at the moment is most colleagues still take the view we’ve got to sort this out.”
One Tory peer warned today there is not “a chance in hell” that Boris Johnson will stand down voluntarily.
Gavin Barwell, who served as chief of staff to Theresa May and now sits in the House of Lords, said there was a “strong case for change” at the top of Government.
Speaking on Sky’s Trevor Phillips On Sunday, Lord Barwell said: “My inclination is that the Conservative Party would be better making a change and I also think, for the good of the country in terms of trust and faith in our politics, there’s a strong case for change.
“But it’s not up to me to make a decision. Ultimately, this is a decision that, up until the next election at least, is one for Conservative MPs.”
He added: “I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that the Prime Minister is going to voluntarily resign.
“He’s going to stay there unless Conservative MPs remove him or unless he loses an election. And so, you know, I don’t see any prospect of him voluntarily standing down.”