PM still has the support of cabinet despite Dowden’s resignation, minister says

Boris Johnson still has the support of his cabinet despite one of his top team resigning last week, George Eustice has said.

Asked whether the PM has the full support of his cabinet, the environment secretary told Sky News that “we work as a team”.

“We have the support of the prime minister. The prime minister has our support,” he continued.

“We work together and, you know, we stick together through difficult times.

“And even when, yes, you have very disappointing election results, as we undoubtedly did last Thursday, we have got an important agenda that we’re working on – and that’s what we’re all focussed on.”

Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said Mr Johnson is capable of winning the next general election.

It came after the PM said he was confident of winning the next election and was “thinking actively” about a third term, despite recent political turmoil.

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“I am thinking actively about the third term and what could happen then. But I will review that when I get to it,” Mr Johnson told reporters on the final day of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.

A Downing Street source later suggested he may have been joking.

The last few days alone saw the resignation of cabinet minister Oliver Dowden, after the Tories lost their former stronghold of Tiverton and Honiton to the Liberal Democrats and the red wall seat of Wakefield to Labour.

The electoral beatings have reignited questions within the Conservative Party over Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Standing down as Tory co-chairman in the wake of the losses early on Friday morning, Mr Dowden said he and Conservative supporters were “distressed and disappointed by recent events” and told Mr Johnson that “someone must take responsibility”.

Speaking to Trevor Phillips on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Mr Lewis also acknowledged the party had suffered “a bad set of results” but said Mr Johnson is “the right person to take us into the next general election”.

“I think he will do that successfully,” he continued.

“He’s proven that time and again, where people have written him off, both before London elections and before in the 2019 election, and then we’ve been able to come back and win, and win successfully. And I think he’s got the ability to do that.”

Mr Lewis also argued the PM looking to the long term was an asset.

“Having that ability to look forward is a good thing. This is somebody I think who is capable of winning a general election, delivering for our country,” he said.

“I want a prime minister who’s looking at the long term, and doing so with enthusiasm and focus.

“That’s what we’ve got in Boris Johnson and that’s why I support him, and will continue to.”

The PM is meeting counterparts at the G7 summit in Germany on the latest leg of a series of international visits as questions loom over his premiership.

Asked in Rwanda if he believed questions over his leadership were settled, Mr Johnson replied: “Yes.”

But Labour has challenged the Conservatives to call an early general election, with leader Sir Keir Starmer telling Mr Johnson to: “Bring it on.”

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