Advertisement
Politics

Boris Johnson ‘was made prime minister to defeat Jeremy Corbyn’

Jeremy Corbyn was deemed such a threat in 2019 that Boris Johnson was made prime minister to defeat him, a senior Conservative has said.

A senior Tory MP has admitted that Boris Johnson was only made prime minister in 2019 because they feared the threat of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, who helped bring down Theresa May over disagreements with her Brexit policy, told the Radio 4 Today programme that Brexiteers faced a choice between Johnson and now-deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, but the decision was made on who would fare better against the Labour leader.

“Boris was made prime minister because he was the best possible chance of defeating Jeremy Corbyn,” Baker said, “which we thought ought not to be difficult, but it turned out in 2017 we nearly didn’t do it and handed power to him.”

Subscribe to The Big Issue

Support us

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015 and his proposals to reverse the damaging years of austerity under the Conservative party through nationalising public services and taxing the rich were hugely popular among large sections of the country.

His 2017 election campaign mobilised a large grassroots support under the slogan “for the many, not the few” and ultimately led to then-Prime Minister Theresa May losing her parliamentary majority and resigning in 2019, when Johnson took charge.

Corbyn’s leadership was dogged by accusations of antisemitism within the Labour party, however, and researchers found press coverage would often misrepresent his policies and amplify allegations against him.

Advertisement
Advertisement

“So we made [Johnson] prime minister,” Baker continued, “and I was there in the rooms because we had in the end a choice as Brexiteers between Dominic Raab, who I respect immensely, and Boris Johnson, both of whom would have delivered our exit from the EU.

“But Boris was vastly more likely to defeat Corbyn so we made him prime minister.”

Big Futures
Big Futures is calling on the Government to put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of poverty for good. We are calling for long-term solutions to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. So that young people and future generations have a fair shot at life. Join us and demand a better future.

Johnson succeeded in defeating Corbyn in the 2019 election but his appointment by senior Conservative MPs as party leader was dependent “on a range of promises”, Baker said, ” and he should have succeeded, he hasn’t, it’s his fault”.

Johnson’s premiership was dominated by a mishandling of the pandemic in its early years with a steadily growing outcry over sexual misconduct by Tory MPs while in office, rule breaking, and accusations of corruption within the Conservative party.

Calls for Johnson’s resignation began with the Partygate scandal of heavy drinking and socialising in Downing Street while the UK was in lockdown. They have since intensified across 2022 through a vote of no confidence, lost by-elections, and sex scandals, culminating in more than 50 resignations from government in less than 48 hours.

Johnson is expected to resign by the end of Thursday but is rumoured to want to stay on as a caretaker prime minister while the Conservatives elect a new leader.

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

Recommended for you

Read All
80 years on from the Beveridge Report, this is Britain's new safety net
Welfare state

80 years on from the Beveridge Report, this is Britain's new safety net

Is the fiscal ‘black hole’ real? We asked economists
Politics

Is the fiscal ‘black hole’ real? We asked economists

House prices will fall by 9% by 2024, OBR predicts
Autumn Statement

House prices will fall by 9% by 2024, OBR predicts

What does Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement mean for me?
Autumn Statement

What does Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement mean for me?

Most Popular

Read All
Here's when and where nurses are going on strike
1.

Here's when and where nurses are going on strike

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'
2.

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'

Here's when people will get the additional cost of living payment
3.

Here's when people will get the additional cost of living payment

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways
4.

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways