UK Education Secretary James Cleverly said he would be open to Boris Johnson joining a government led by Liz Truss if she was comfortable with it.
Cleverly, who backs the Foreign Secretary in the race for No 10, called Johnson an incredible politician but said it was not a decision for him to make.
He is an incredibly talented politician. If he would like to serve after the bruises he’s had right now, that might be another matter, but it’s not for me to start dictating to Liz. [Truss] that she places in her cabinet, Cleverly, one of Johnson’s staunchest defenders, told Sky News.
I worked with him for years, supported him, and continue to think of him as an incredible and effective politician.
When asked if he would welcome Johnson to a senior government post, Cleverly added: I would be comfortable if she [Truss] is.
More than 9,000 members of the Conservative Party are signed a petition calling for Johnson to be put on the leadership ballot.
Cleverlys’ comments come ahead of the first one-on-one televised debate between Truss and rival Rishi Sunak hosted by the BBC on Monday night. The two Conservative leadership candidates have been engaged in bitter clashes over immigration, China and the economy ahead of Monday’s clash.
Intelly accused Sunak of being late to the threat posed by China after the former chancellor unveiled plans to close 30 Confucius Institutes, which promote Chinese language and culture education, in the UK. United.
Cleverly told Times Radio: She’s been talking about it for a long time. So I’m very happy that Rishis is now talking about the issues that Liz has been talking about for some time, and of course we have to look at China’s influence, not just on the world stage, but here in the UK.
Cleverly, who has said he would like to remain education secretary in a Truss government, added: I would say we have already looked at China’s influence on our education system. This is not new, it may be new to members of Rishis’ campaign team, but it is not new to anyone who has worked in education or the foreign ministry.
But health and social care committee chairman Jeremy Hunt, a former Tory leadership candidate who backs Sunak, said the former chancellor was right to focus on China.
The former health secretary also suggested Sunak was ahead of Truss in understanding the pressures the NHS faces.
Hunt told Sky News: I give him credit that of the two candidates, he was the first to actually talk about the NHS and he used the word emergency, and I think that’s very important because that’s what we feel on the front line at the moment. This is how some people who seek care from the NHS feel.
He also defended Sunaks’ plan to house migrants in cruise ships instead of hotels to save money, which was criticized by the Truss campaign.
The truth is that we have to be radical, we have to do things differently and we have to be brave and Rishi Sunak has shown me that he is ready to be brave, especially by being frank with members of the conservative party, of which I I’m one, who all want tax cuts and say it’s not possible right now, we can’t afford it right now, Hunt said.
I think it was the kind of courage that persuaded me that he was the right man to be Prime Minister, but the same courage and the same determination are needed, yes, when it comes to asylum policy, refugee policy as well.
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