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Ben Wallace tells Tory rebels it is ‘too late’ to replace Rishi Sunak before the election

Ben Wallace was Defence Secretary from 2019 to 2023 (PA )
Ben Wallace was Defence Secretary from 2019 to 2023 (PA )

Former Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has told Tory rebels they should “get on with it” because it is “too late” to replace Rishi Sunak.

He made the comments after the weekend saw reports about the possibility of a plot to try and oust the Prime Minister.

Mr Wallace told Times Radio: “There comes a moment in time in the electoral cycle where you effectively put on your best suit, you stand up and you march towards the sound of the guns and you get on with it.

“Rishi Sunak is the Prime Minister. He set out his plan. He set out his idea and vision, which I think is to effectively, quite rightly, fix the economy, get inflation down. If we get inflation down, we can see interest rates drop.

“Whether colleagues are happy with him or not, it’s too late, right. Get on with it. Stand up. And you know, at some stage this year, commit to engage in the general election and put our best case forward. There is no other alternative. And that’s just the reality of it.”

Similarly, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch told rebels to “stop messing around”.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch made similar comments (PA Wire)
Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch made similar comments (PA Wire)

She told LBC Radio: “I think at this particular time it is really important that we remember that there are thousands of councillors all around the country who are going to be standing for election in May.

“We need people to focus on what they have been doing to help their local communities and not be obsessed with Westminster psychodrama.”

A “senior ally” quoted by The Times said Mr Sunak would be prepared to call a general election if rebels tried to trigger a leadership contest.

They said: “Rishi could easily say ‘OK, if that’s the mood of the party I don’t think it’s fair to put it to another leadership contest’. He can say reasonably he might just go to the palace instead.”

Mr Sunak has dismissed the rumours as “Westminster politics”, saying it “doesn’t matter”.

On Monday, during a West Midlands visit, he said: “What matters is the future of our country. And that’s what I am squarely focused on.”

“All Conservatives are united in wanting to deliver a brighter future for our country.”