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.”
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.