WATCH: Return of Johnson “powerful argument” for election, Starmer says

Elliot Chappell

Keir Starmer has argued that the prospect of Boris Johnson returning to Downing Street to become Prime Minister following the resignation of Liz Truss is “the most powerful argument you can possibly have for a general election”.

In an interview this morning, the Labour leader reminded viewers that Johnson left Downing Street just three months ago because “most of those who were serving him on his frontbench had declared that he was unfit for office”.

“To go from the kamikaze Budget under Liz Truss back to a man that his own party has declared is unfit for office is the most powerful argument you can possibly have for a general election,” Starmer said.

The Labour leader argued that the “risk is not a general election” but “continuing with this chaos”. He said there has been “real damage to our economy, real damage to our reputation as a country” in the past few weeks and warned that “people are paying the price for that – whether it’s in mortgages or other things”.

“The risk is not changing, and there’s an alternative; you can either have more of this chaos under the Conservatives or stability under a Labour government,” he added.

Asked whether Truss should received the £115,000 she is entitled to as a former Prime Minister after her brief time in office, the Labour leader said: “No, she shouldn’t take that entitlement. After 44 days she has not earned the right to that entitlement. In my view, she should turn it down.”

Truss announced her resignation on Thursday in a statement delivered from Downing Street after a tumultuous 44 days in office. Her premiership was rocked by the controversial ‘mini-Budget’, culminating in the departure of her Chancellor last week, a large backbench rebellion and the sacking of the Home Secretary.

She told the public that she had met with the chairman of the 1922 committee and that a Tory leadership election will conclude “within the next week” to pick her successor, with Truss to remain in place until the contest is completed.

Johnson is reportedly returning from a holiday in the Dominican Republic – taken while parliament is sitting – to launch a bid for the leadership and a return to Downing Street. Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, who both ran for leader in the election held over the summer, are also expected to stand.

Johnson resigned in disgrace in July following a series of scandals, ousted by his own ministers after attempting to change parliamentary rules to get Tory MP Owen Paterson off the hook for breaching lobbying rules, a series of law-breaking parties during the Covid lockdowns, and the Chris Pincher sexual harassment row.

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