Allies of Rishi Sunak fear Boris Johnson could start his own political party following his explosive resignation as an MP, it has been reported.
Mr Johnson has told close pals he’s the victim of a plot to reverse Brexit but insists he has no intention of giving up, leading some to believe the former prime minister could form a new party in an effort to shake up the Westminster status quo.
The claims come after reports that Mr Johnson received an email outlining the findings in a report by a Commons committee investigating whether he lied to Parliament over Partygate while he was on a flight to Cairo in Egypt on Thursday.
The email from Commons Privileges Committee chairwoman Harriet Harman reportedly warned Mr Johnson that her findings would be strongly critical and merit a 10-day suspension from Parliament that could trigger a by-election in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency.
Mr Johnson announced his resignation as an MP on Friday in a lengthy statement in which he said he was the victim of “a witch hunt” that was exacting revenge “for Brexit and ultimately to reverse the 2016 referendum result”.
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Senior Conservatives have reportedly accused Mr Johnson of trying to “blow up the Tory party” and allies of Mr Sunak fear his predecessor-but-one could set up his own political party in a bitter act of revenge.
One loyalist to the Prime Minister told The Sun: “He could go nuclear and set up his own party. That would be wild, but he might.”
Those concerns were fuelled by leading Tory party figure David Campbell Bannerman who said he thinks a new Johnson-led party was possible.
“We could be in a position of having to renew the Conservative Party from the ground up,” he said. “The party is in a desperate state.”
He went on to say that the party’s rank-and-file membership must take back control from Number 10.
The Privileges Committee, which has seemingly sealed Mr Johnson’s fate for the time-being, was reported to have been split equally along party lines as to whether it should give the ex-prime minister a 10-day suspension until Sir Bernard Jenkin sided with Labour.
Mr Johnson was then notified of the decision while he was travelling business class on flight BA384 to the Egyptian capital.
Mr Johnson’s decision to quit on Friday has triggered a number of other resignations from close allies including former culture secretary Nadine Dorries and ex-Cabinet minister Nigel Adams, prompting by-elections in their respective seats of Mid Bedfordshire and Selby in North Yorkshire.
In addition to Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge constituency, Mr Sunak is also facing a by-election in Scotland that he’s predicted to lose and there are rumours that more resignations from Tory MPs could follow amid speculation about the futures of Alok Sharmer and former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.