Former Defence Secretary Michael Portillo has said any MPs intent on pointlessly deposing of leader Boris Johnson without an outstanding candidate to replace him should back down.

In a wide-ranging interview with GB News, Mr Portillo said some politicians were looking to “throw a grenade in the pond”.

Speaking to Gloria De Piero in an interview to be screened tomorrow (Thursday), he said:

“I’m not going to take a position of saying the Prime Minister should go, and I’ve been rather surprised to hear people who were leaders of the Conservative Party saying that.

“And I’ll tell you the reason why I think that’s quite important. Boris Johnson has many attributes and qualities and many, many flaws. But he has won four elections.”

“I see people telling him that he should resign, that the Conservatives should get someone else. These are people who, to my knowledge and memory, haven’t won anything.

“I mean, they may have held on to safe seats having been selected. But, you know, they have never won a national election…

“I do think it’s interesting that lots of Conservative MPs seem to think they should change the leader without having a clue who would take over and why that would be any better.”

He said it seemed to be a habit among some MPs to plot against their leader in the absence of outstanding alternative candidates. 

“There are quite a lot of people in the Conservative Party today, and it happens again and again, who just want to throw a grenade in the pond,” Portillo added.

“They have no idea whether, having got rid of Boris, whether things will be better or not. And why does this happen? One of the reasons is because the party now consists largely of people who are disappointed or unappointed, or de-appointed.

“In other words, they didn’t get into office, or they’ve been thrown out of office. And this becomes a very large group of people.

“And what they think is, whoever is the Prime Minister after Boris Johnson, that ‘I have a better chance of being a junior minister and having a ministerial car and red box’ under someone else. And that becomes a very powerful engine.”

He also criticised former Tory leader Michael Howard who has called for the Prime Minister to resign.

Mr Portillo said:

“…if it were someone who had won three general elections saying, ‘I think this person should go because they’re not good enough’, I could just about understand it.

“But people who have won nothing, telling someone…that he should go, I find that very difficult to deal with.“

Mr Portillo also reflected on his own political career saying he felt he would have been “well suited” to the job of Prime Minister but acknowledged he lost a safe seat and did not feel he had the right temperament to go out and win elections.

He said:

“I could imagine myself doing the job of Prime Minister. I think I’m quite decisive, and I’m quite organised, things which actually Boris is not. So, in a way I can imagine that part of the job of Prime Minister as being to me, quite easy. But the bit that is not easy for me, clearly, is winning elections, I lost a safe seat. So, I wouldn’t be comfortable with that part of it. And I don’t think I had the temperament.”

Commenting on that now infamous General Election defeat Portillo said he actually felt a sense of relief. 

He said:

“You may think that odd, but what I really cared about was being in Government and I had no doubt whatsoever that the Tories were getting out of Government that night. Had I won my seat, I would have had to contest the leadership of the Conservative Party, which I was not keen to do because we had been reduced to a rump, and I knew the Tories wouldn’t be back for 10 to 15 years as indeed turned out to be the case. So, there was a certain relief to not winning and a certain amount of graveyard humour.” 

He also revealed to Gloria that he and Labour MP Dianne Abbott attended drama classes together when they were at schools in Harrow in north-west London.

Mr Portillo said:

“In fact, I cast her as Lady Macduff in a film version of Macbeth which never got made.

“However, years later – I remember Dianne as being very shy and self-effacing – and when years later a rather self-confident woman got elected to Parliament, who also had the name Dianne Abbott, I couldn’t quite believe it was the same person.”

Source: GB News
Photo credit: Michael Portillo


  1. I totally agree with Michael Portillo. I am totally sick of these remoaners and whingers trying to kill the party I voted for. They are handing an election win on a plate to Labour.

  2. A very fair assessment from a very intelligent man that the Tories would do well to listen to. The public who voted Boris in do not like these underhanded snakes in the grass trying to oust him.

  3. Mr Portillo speaks total sense with to our PM and and Tory backstabbers. They should get behind him and the sooner the better. Be careful what you wish for.

  4. Everything Michael Portilo says is right.This is from a very intelligent
    man who is always a pleasure to listen too.I am fed ou yo the teeth with these anti Boris people,many of whom would not be where they are today without him.As for those who say they will defect too Labour.They should be immediately deselected as they are obviously not Conservatives and have won their seats under false pretences.Who in their right minds would defect to the appalling Labour Party.

  5. What a shame Michael Portillo wasn’t PM
    and also Jacob Rees Mogg the conservatives let themselves down drastically.


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