Liz Truss: Boris has to campaign for job of prime minister

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss has said she does not believe Conservative MPs “would seek to bring a Tory government down and let in Jeremy Corbyn” if Boris Johnson pressed ahead with a no-deal Brexit as prime minister.

Ms Truss, who is backing the former foreign secretary in the battle to enter Number 10 – and has herself been tipped as a future chancellor, said it was “dangerous to be complacent”, adding “Boris has to campaign for this job”.

She refused to be drawn on police being called to Mr Johnson’s partner’s home after reports of shouting and banging, telling BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “There’s no point in asking me, I believe it’s a private matter, I don’t think the public are concerned about that and I think that Boris is somebody who served for eight years as mayor of London – did a brilliant job, he served as foreign secretary, people know what he’s like in office and that’s what’s important.”

The South West Norfolk MP insisted Mr Johnson could attract a broad base of support, adding: “My view is that Boris Johnson is somebody who is capable of commanding the support of the country and the support of the parliamentary party and I don’t believe my colleagues would vote no confidence and risk a Jeremy Corbyn government which puts a lot of the economic issues we’re discussing in here completely into the shade, he’s a Marxist.”

She went on: “We need a leader with the determination to follow through, go through to the 31st October, leave preferably with a deal, but without a deal if necessary – and I do not believe in those circumstances those Conservative colleagues would seek to bring a Conservative government down and let in Jeremy Corbyn and his Marxist agenda.”

Ms Truss called for a fresh approach to Brexit negotiations with the EU, adding it was “vitally important” to keep no deal on the table. 

Mr Johnson’s strategy, she said, was to make sure the country was prepared for no deal. 

She added: “We need new approach and that means redoing things, redoing the negotiations with the EU and being much clearer that we are prepared to leave on the 31st October.”

She said: “What I think would be an absolute disaster is to yet again not follow through on the democratic mandate of the British people which has created a huge amount of mistrust.”

On no deal, she added: “To say there are no plans for this and it would be a disaster is wrong, we are prepared for an exit on the 31st October.

“What we need now is to have the political leadership to follow through on that and I believe that Boris Johnson is the person capable of that political leadership and making that happen.”

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