A North East MP says he is backing Boris Johnson to return as Conservative Party leader after being “inundated” with support for the former Prime Minister.
Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy, who was first elected in 2019 to become the constituency’s first ever Tory MP, made the comments at an event in Blyth on Friday morning.
It comes after Mr Johnson was forced to leave office after more than 60 of his ministers resigned in early July following a string of scandals including Partygate, with a row over former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher proving the final straw.
Mr Pincher resigned in late June after it was alleged he sexually assaulted two men. Days later, further allegations emerged, including that his behaviour had been reported to Number 10, but was ignored by Mr Johnson.
Conservative MPs have just a few days to back their candidate for the second party leadership election in three months.
A sped-up process was announced by party chairman Jake Berry and Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, following Liz Truss’s resignation on Thursday after six weeks in charge.
Prospective leaders will need the backing of 100 MPs before Conservative Party members will pick between the remaining candidates via an online vote next week.
Speaking at the same event as Mr Levy, Transport Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan refused to answer questions on the leadership election.
Hexham MP Guy Opperman and North West Durham MP Richard Holden have both confirmed they will be backing former chancellor Rishi Sunak, who lost out to Mrs Truss in the previous leadership election six weeks ago.
Mr Opperman said: “I remain of the view that Rishi Sunak is the right person to be our Prime Minister. He is a serious person for serious times.
“He was right about the economy during the summer: we need his leadership to get us back on track.”
The MP, who was first elected in 2010, previously backed Mr Sunak in July and said he would be able to unite the country in “challenging times”.
Mr Holden, who like Mr Levy was first elected in 2019, said: “I’m backing Rishi Sunak to be our next PM. I’ve already spoken to a good few colleagues who backed Liz Truss who now back Rishi.
“We face a major national challenge and need the best candidate to restore economic credibility. That’s the only way to unite the Conservatives and the United Kingdom.”
Mr Holden also backed Mr Sunak in the July election.
Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, who previously backed Liz Truss, and Segefield MP Paul Howell have yet to declare who they will be supporting.