LEADING Brexiteer Steve Baker MP has hinted that he is on the verge of formally announcing that he intends to run to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader.
He said he played a key role in helping deliver a big majority for the party at the last election.
He told GB News: “I have to think about it seriously, your viewers will know that, in the course of the last seven and a half of the 12 years I’ve been an MP, I have actually provided leadership in moments of crisis.
“Over Brexit, over Covid over race relations, and indeed over net zero, so I’ve got to face up to the reality that Conservative Home readers routinely put me in the top ten for next leader, sometimes in the top five.
“That’s very honouring and I need to take it seriously. So I’m going to reflect on whether I should run.”
Speaking in an interview during Breakfast with Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster on GB News, he said it was regrettable that the Prime Minister took so long to announce he is stepping down.
“I’m very confident that Boris will have had people around him saying that it was over, it’s a pity it’s taken overnight,” he said.
“I’m afraid to disappoint my critics, people are in fact lighting up my phone encouraging me to go for it.
“People have watched me provide leadership for seven years, sometimes for up to a third of the Conservative Party.
“And successfully, you know, people warned we would split the Conservative Party terminally over Brexit. We didn’t do that.”
Mr Baker said he also played a key role in delivering the Prime Minister’s 80-seat majority in the last General Election.
He said: “Colleagues have watched my role in making sure we actually won an 80-seat majority and colleagues will know that I have a lot to do with getting that.
“Of course, if Theresa May’s deal had gone through, which Boris voted for amongst others, and indeed a number of people in the Cabinet, that would have split the Conservative Party terminally and it’s because I and others stopped it.
“Because I and others persuaded Nigel Farage not to run against incumbents, because of all of that we got an 80-seat majority, so it’s with huge sadness that we’ve come to this point.
“But I’d have to accept, as a working class kid from Cornwall, I’m in the extraordinary position of finding serious people asking me to stand, Conservative members putting me in the top ten or even the top five.
“I’ve got to take it seriously and reflect on it.”