Boris Johnson is leading the Tory leadership race, having secured the backing of 114 MPs in the first round of voting last week and knocking out prospective leader Andrea Leadsom. The former London mayor has been winning over Brexiteer MPs by outlining a fresh approach to Brexit, Ms Leadsom – a staunch Brexiteer – revealed to LBC on Tuesday.
Ms Leadsom revealed how Boris is focussing on a managed exit from the European Union – including heading to Brussels in October in attempt to find an agreement with the bloc.
The former Commons leader said she would be supporting for the Tory leader frontrunner for three reasons, explaining: “Essentially, there’s two key reasons. One is I think he is the best placed to get us out of the EU at the end of October.
“His view and mine are closely aligned there.
“Secondly, I do believe he is an election winner. He is someone who can bring the country and the party back together and take us forward in a positive way.
“And the third thing which is more nuanced really is that he and I share a scepticism about the HS2 project on the grounds of value for money.
“But he, at the same time, has a big commitment to improving infrastructure in the country to a pro-business agenda that will really get our economy to be motoring, which is essential in a post-Brexit world.”
Following the meeting, Ms Leadsom said getting clarity from the EU is his priority.
She explained how Mr Johnson plans to speak to EU leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, to get an understanding of the Brexit position.
Ms Leadsom added: “For any negotiation to be successful, you have to be prepared to walk away.”
Mr Johnson is also expected to cull as many as one-third of Theresa May’s top team for his new Cabinet if he succeeds her.
It has been reported that only a few current Cabinet members will retain their posts.
The lucky few include Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, the Defence Secretary and Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.
Steve Baker, the vice chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs is expected to be made Brexit Secretary, in a clear statement of intent from Mr Johnson that he intends to deliver on his promise to take Britain out of the EU by October 31.