Liz Truss suggests Tories were wrong to oust Boris Johnson as she campaigns to replace him

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Liz Truss has suggested that the Conservative Party ousting Boris Johnson was a mistake, as she campaigns to replace him.

Asked why she did not join the ministers quitting over Mr Johnson’d conduct in the BBC TV debate on Monday evening, the Foreign Secretary said: “I supported Boris for the leadership, I was first Cabinet supporter, I campaigned with him, he did a brilliant job of delivering Brexit and delivering an 80-seat majority.

“Yes, he made mistakes, he admitted he made mistakes, but I didn’t think the mistakes he made were sufficient that the Conservative Party should have rejected him. That is my view.

“I’m still working with the Prime Minister, I’m still Foreign Secretary, and I think it’s important that I remain in my post. We have very serious issues to deal with on Russia and Ukraine, and I thought it would have been a dereliction of duty to leave my job at that juncture.”

Asked if she would welcome Mr Johnson in her Cabinet, she said: “Having spent time with him in the past week, I very much suspect he would not want a future role in the Government.

“I think he needs a well-earned break from what has been a very difficult few years. After all, he was seriously ill with Covid. He has faced real challenges that no leader would have expected to face.

“I simply don’t think that is an option.”

Pressed on the issue, she said: “I just don’t think it’s going to happen. I think that what’s done is done, the party has made the decision, I’ve told you my views of that. I’ve put myself forward as a candidate because I think I’m the right person to do the job, and I don’t believe he would want further involvement.

“I’m sure he will have a role (in public life), I’m sure he will be vocal, but he will not be part of the Government.”

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In a previous debate, all the candidates including Ms Truss had indicated they would not wish for Mr Johnson to serve in their Cabinets – comments she avoided repeating.

It comes amid reports that Mr Johnson is hoping for a possible comeback as Prime Minister despite his resignation, while there has been a groundswell of support from Tory activists opposed to him quitting.

But Mr Sunak, whose resignation brought down Mr Johnson, said he would not welcome his old boss back in Cabinet.

He said: “For me, the simple answer is no, I think we need to look forward at this point. That’s why I want to be Prime Minister, I want to bring the change that this country needs.”

Mr Sunak said of his relationship with Mr Johnson: “I was proud to serve under his leadership, but it got to a point for me, personally, where enough is enough. I thought all the things going on for the conduct side were not right, and we clearly had very different views about the direction of travel on the economy.

“For me, I acted out of principle… I think we need someone as leader who has the consistency and courage of their convictions, and that’s something I will bring.”

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