Rishi Sunak should be “swallowing some pride” and bringing back Boris Johnson to help boost the Tories’ electoral fortunes, ex-chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has said.
Mr Kwarteng, who announced this week that he would be quitting Parliament at the general election, also said the Prime Minister needed to “work on his outreach with backbenchers” to prevent more from standing down.
He told GB News on Sunday: “I’ve always been a big Boris fan. He had a very good success as an electoral force.
“You know, we’re 20 points behind, and the polls haven’t really moved in the last year.
“So, it’s not time to simply say, ‘more of the same’. Something has to change for us to have a chance of winning.
“And if that means swallowing some pride and you’re suppressing a bit of ego by reaching out to someone who’s an approved campaigner then, yeah, then he should do that.”
In response, a No 10 source said: “We want the whole conservative family to come together to beat (Sir Keir) Starmer and Labour at the next election.
“Boris and everyone else united in that aim will, of course, be welcome.”
Mr Kwarteng, who briefly headed up the Treasury during Liz Truss’ premiership, said that dismal polling for the Tories played into his decision not to stand for re-election.
“I think the fact that we’re facing a difficult election has something to do with it,” he said.
Mr Sunak had not tried to change his mind, he said, adding that he “wouldn’t expect that” as the Prime Minister was “busy”.
But Mr Sunak should “work on his outreach with backbenchers” if he wanted to dissuade others from quitting, Mr Kwarteng suggested.
Mr Kwarteng, who represents Spelthorne, in Surrey, is among more than 50 Conservatives or former Conservatives who have announced their exit at the election later this year.
Coming from the right of the Tory Party, Mr Kwarteng was a key ally of Ms Truss and served as her chancellor for 38 days before he was sacked amid the chaos caused by his tax-cutting mini-budget.
Published: by Radio NewsHub