Boris Johnson is 'bouncing' and 'full of energy' in post-PM life, says Nadine Dorries
The former cabinet minister said Boris is 'certainly not crying in his cups'
Boris Johnson is “full of energy” and shows “absolutely zero bitterness” after the toppling of his premiership, according to former cabinet minister Nadine Dorries.
The ex-culture secretary, who chose to return to the backbenches when Liz Truss took the reins at No 10, said the former Prime Minister was “swinging a cricket bat” when she went to see him earlier this week.
He “hadn’t even watched” Ms Truss’s speech to the Conservative Party conference, Ms Dorries said, and seemed “happy and very relaxed”.
“I wouldn’t say the word is ‘pleased’ but he’s certainly not crying in his cups,” she said.
“I can’t share conversations but he’s in a good place. He’s bouncing, full of energy, absolutely zero bitterness.”
In an interview with The Times, Ms Dorries painted a jolly picture of the former Tory leader, to whom she remains a staunch ally.
She said she does not believe he is “even thinking” about a comeback as he insists it is now time to “back Liz”.
Ms Dorries has criticised the Government’s current trajectory, warning Ms Truss has made “big mistakes” in her first few weeks in office and suggesting the Tories risk losing the next election unless the PM changes course.
She told The Times she is “loyal” to the party and her constituents, but claimed Conservative supporters have become “disenfranchised” as “we’ve taken away everything that they voted for and the person that they voted for”.
“It’s not Liz’s fault that Conservative MPs removed Boris, much as they will come to regret it when they don’t have a job,” she said.
“But it is Liz’s fault that she’s decided to take certain points of ideology and impose them now both on the party and the country, when no one has actually voted for that.”
The former culture secretary, who backed Ms Truss for the Tory leadership, warned that the new premier has left the door to the centre ground “wide open” for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, as she accused the Government of “lurching to the right”.
Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng controversially announced he would be scrapping the cap on bankers’ bonuses in his seismic mini-budget last month, while the Government has come under fire for not ruling out a real-terms cut to benefits.
Instead, reports have suggested the payments could be raised in line with the average increase in workers’ pay.
“Boris Johnson was very clear that we would link benefits to inflation,” Ms Dorries said.
“To suddenly reverse that and say ‘we’re going to link to wages’ is a very difficult concept for those of us who think we have a responsibility to protect those who are the weakest in society.
“What we’ve done on energy costs is fantastic but it’s drowned out by the fact that we’re going to make them poorer in other ways.”
Mr Kwarteng also pledged to slash income tax for the highest earners in his so-called “fiscal event” in September, but this was later reversed in a U-turn forced by Conservative critics.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was “disappointed” by the mid-conference climbdown, and accused Tory rebels like Michael Gove of staging a “coup”.
However Ms Dorries said “the legitimate concerns raised in response to what Liz has proposed” are “not a coup”, but “democratic”.
“It’s about discussing policy ideas and resetting the agenda,” she said.
“I understand that Liz wants to put her stamp on the role of Prime Minister but there are ways of doing it and the ways of doing it are not… lurching to the right and leaving the centre ground free for Keir Starmer to march right in. Liz has just left the door wide open.
“I think she’s had in her head: ‘This is what I want to do. This is who I want to be. This is how I’ll run the country when I’m prime minister.’
“Now she’s got there and implemented it but the environment isn’t right for the policies that she’s been brewing in her head for a very long time. People don’t want disruption. They want somebody who’s strong and stable and steady.”
Ms Dorries said the Tories need to be “careful” that they are not perceived as the party of the rich.
“There is a danger of that perception in the narrative which is being thrown out at the moment,” she said.
“Libertarians cannot abandon compassionate conservatism. Growth is important but we have to be always first and foremost the party that provides for those who need to be protected.
“If we’re abandoning that principle, then that is not a party I’m going to be a member of.”