Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Boris Johnson could “easily get back into Parliament at the next election”.
In an article for the Mail On Sunday, the former business secretary warned of a potential schism in the Conservative Party if its machinery attempts to “block” the ex-prime minister’s return to the House of Commons after he sensationally resigned as an MP on Friday.
“I would most strongly warn Conservative Party managers against any attempt to block Boris if he seeks the party nomination in another seat,” he said.
“Any attempt to do so would shatter our fragile party unity and plunge the Conservatives into civil war.”
Mr Johnson’s decision to step down came ahead of the publication of the Privileges Committee report into whether he lied to the Commons when he said No 10 had followed social distancing rules during the pandemic.
Read more: Johnson ‘could set up new party’ as Sunak allies fear ex-PM may ‘go nuclear’
The committee’s findings have yet to be released but Mr Johnson’s response appears to confirm that the MPs have concluded he was not truthful about the boozy parties.
According to The Sunday Times, Mr Johnson was told by Ms Harman that his punishment would be a suspension from the Commons for a time that would “significantly exceed” 10 days, thereby reaching the threshold for a by-election to possibly be triggered.
While Mr Johnson won his Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat with a 7,000 majority in 2019, early polling has suggested Labour could snatch it from the Tories in the upcoming by-election following his exit.
The Liberal Democrats have briefed that they could potentially pull off an upset in Ms Dorries’ former Mid Bedfordshire constituency despite a Tory majority of 24,000.
The Tories enjoy a comfortable 20,000 vote cushion against Labour in Mr Adams’ former Selby and Ainsty constituency in North Yorkshire.
But the governing party’s record has been poor in recent years, with the Tories losing four seats in by-elections since June 2021, three of them to the Lib Dems and a fourth to Labour.
The timing of the fresh contests in the three vacant constituencies has not yet been announced.
PA news agency understands that chief whip Simon Hart could feasibly move a motion know as a “writ” next week in at least one of the seats, giving between 21 and 27 working days for a vote to be held.