Great Yarmouth MP to run chancellor's Tory party leadership bid

Brandon Lewis says the closure of Ambitions is "deeply disappointing" Photo: PA / David Mirzoeff

MP Brandon Lewis is running Nadhim Zahawi's leadership campaign - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The MP for Great Yarmouth has thrown his support behind the chancellor's bid to become the next Conservative Party leader.

Brandon Lewis has revealed he will be running Nadhim Zahawi's leadership election campaign as Conservative Party heavy weights jostle to replace Boris Johnson.

Mr Zahawi was appointed chancellor last week by the embattled Mr Johnson, who announced he would be resigning on Thursday.

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Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has thrown his hat in the Conservative Party leadership election

Last week's slew of cabinet resignations saw Mr Lewis stand down as Northern Ireland secretary and he is now focussed on his new role of helping Mr Zahawi secure enough votes to head his party and become prime minister.

Mr Lewis said: "I am running Nadhim's campaign.

"He is an excellent businessman and a genuinely decent man and very successful in his parliamentary career as well and voted for Brexit which will be good news for all the people of Great Yarmouth.

"We are very old friends. I am helping him as I think he is the right man to lead our country.

"I think it is really sad we have found ourselves where we have been in the last week.

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"The job for all of us as parliamentarians and Conservative Party members is to pull together.

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only BBC handout photo of Secretary of State for Norther

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, Sunday Morning hosted by Sophie Raworth. - Credit: PA

"We are fortunate we have got such a wide breadth of talent in our party. Nadhim is the best person to lead us and I hope he wins and then we can all unite and get on with the job.

"There is still a bit of work to do - a bit of Brexit work, we have got to grow the economy, get on top of inflation, get a bit more money in people's pockets, reduce taxation and make sure there are good education opportunities for people.

"We will make that case in the next few weeks."

When asked if he is looking forward to another cabinet role Mr Lewis said: "If he is in that position (of prime minister) who he chooses for which roles is up to him.

"The prime minister decides who is serving."

Last week's resignation letter from Mr Lewis saw him say honesty, integrity and mutual respect were not being upheld by Mr Johnson's government.


A difficult decision

Brandon Lewis said that his role as Northern Ireland secretary and Mr Johnson's 2019 mandate from the electorate had made his decision to resign a difficult one. 

He said: "I believe in serving and in Northern Ireland there is a particular important job to do.

"It was quite a difficult decision because there is a lot going on in Northern Ireland with the protocol and obviously we are getting power sharing up and running, so there is a lot going on.
 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation. Photo: PA Video/PA Wire

Boris Johnson has resigned as prime minister - Credit: PA

"I took it really really seriously. I don't feel you walk away from those kind of jobs, certainly not lightly.

"And also I do think Boris got a mandate from the public in 2019, a big mandate and we should do everything we can to deliver on that.

"But it became clear on Wednesday things had just moved on and had moved from being recoverable.

"I had a long conversation with him (Boris Johnson) on Wednesday night and I just felt because of the situation the right thing for him, for the party, and the country was for him to stand down.

"And having said that, it would be hypocritical for me to then serve so I just felt the only option I had was to resign."