Whether Boris Johnson will decide to officially throw his hat into the ring in the Conservative leadership race remains to be seen but, according to a leading financial organisation, the former PM’s return to No 10 as Prime Minister would send financial markets into “utter chaos” at a time when Britain is facing an economic meltdown.
After flying back from his holiday in the Caribbean early, Mr Johnson was locked in talks with his former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on Saturday night. The aim of the meeting, to strike a deal to avoid a leadership battle between the pair, although according to The Sunday Times, prominent Tory donors were pleading with Mr Johnson not to stand against Mr Sunak.
However, speaking on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg this morning, business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said there is a great deal of support for Mr Johnson and that he will stand to be leader of the Conservative Party. He said: “I have been speaking to Boris Johnson and clearly he is going to stand, there is a great deal of support for him, as you will have seen.
Despite claims Mr Johnson already has the backing of 100 supporters, only 55 have so far made their opinions publicly known. Responding to this, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The system is that the proposer and seconders names are made public, other people have a choice as to whether to make their names public or not, but the people who are doing the numbers for Boris’ campaign tell me that they have the numbers so the 100 that is necessary of members of parliament are there.”
Founder of deVere Group warns against Boris Johnson returning as prime minister
CEO of deVere Group, Nigel Green, offered a stark warning following Mr Johnson’s return to the UK yesterday. Founder of one of the world’s largest financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations, Mr Green said: “The Second Coming of Boris Johnson would receive the wrath of already jittery financial markets.
“It was the markets’ horrified reaction to Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget that forced her to resign after just 45 days in office. The pound hit historic lows against the dollar, gilt yields jumped, and stock markets fell. The mortgage market, the pension market, the housing market, amongst others, all took a battering. We can expect to see the same kind of market carnage should Boris Johnson take back the keys to Number 10.”
Detailing his reasons for being concerned about Mr Johnson’s potential comeback, Mr Green continued: “There are several areas of concern for investors surrounding a potential return of Johnson. First, he could unpick the stabilising work being done by the new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, who is desperately trying to repair the immense economic damage inflicted by the Truss administration.
“Second, the ex-PM is still under investigation by the Privileges Committee for potentially lying to Parliament. If found guilty of misleading the House, Johnson could be suspended and face a by-election and the country will be choosing another prime minister in January. Third, this is the man who was forced to go only a few months ago after more than 50 Members of Parliament resigned from his own government within 48 hours. They deemed him unfit for office.”
Earlier this week, the deVere CEO spoke publicly about the good work being done by the new Chancellor, but admitted Mr Hunt faces an uphill battle to restore the country’s credibility.
“To investors, the UK looks ungovernable, and its economy resembles that of an emerging market, not a G7 nation.
“The massive loss of credibility cannot be regained all that rapidly. U-turns and abandoning landmark economic policy after economic policy does not inspire investor confidence and trust. UK financial assets currently remain hugely unattractive for investors.”
Concluding, he said: “For everything he has come to represent in recent times, Boris Johnson’s return will spook financial markets and create yet more economic turmoil in the UK.”
Conservative Party leadership race
Earlier today, Rishi Sunak, officially announced he would stand in the leadership contest saying he wants to “fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country”. He joins Penny Mordaunt who announced her candidacy on Friday, saying: “I’m running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your prime minister - to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next general election.”
Mr Sunak currently has the declared support of 133 MPs while Ms Mordaunt is some way behind with only 23. Candidates require at least 100 Conservative MPs to be on the ballot. With just over 24 hours to go until nominations for the next Conservative Party leader close, Mr Johnson doesn’t have long to announce himself as a contender. The window for nominations remains open until Monday (October 24) at 2pm. If by the deadline only one candidate gains the support of at least 100 Tory MPs, that person will, by default, become the next leader of the Conservative party and the country.
If more than one candidate reaches the 100 threshold, Tory MPs will vote on their favourite. The vote is set to take place between 3.30pm and 5.30pm the same day, with results announced at 6pm. In the event of three candidates reaching the threshold, the person with the fewest votes will be eliminated and there will be a second vote between the final two between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, with the result announced at 9pm.