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'God help us': Senior Tory's reaction to idea of Boris Johnson returning as PM

Watch: 'God help us' - David Davis reacts to idea of Boris Johnson returning as PM

A senior Tory MP has said "God help us" at the suggestion that Boris Johnson could make a return as prime minister.

Conservative MP and former Brexit secretary David Davis called on the party to back Rishi Sunak in the run-up to the next general election.

Johnson resigned as prime minister last summer, throwing the country and the Conservatives into chaos.

He was replaced by Liz Truss in September, whose disastrous tenure at Number 10 made her the shortest serving prime minister in British history.

She resigned in October after just 44 days at the helm, and was replaced later that month by Sunak.

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) David Davis (L) and Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (R) leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on June 26, 2018. British MPs overwhelmingly approved on Monday long-awaited plans to build a third runway at London Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, after decades of acrimonious debate over its potential impact. (Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Tory MP David Davis, left, does not want Boris Johnson, right, to return as prime minister. (Getty Images)

Speaking to Times Radio on Tuesday, Davis said the Tories must back the current prime minister.

He said: "Apart from some non-stop journalistic rumbling about the return of Boris - God help us, frankly - I don't think there is a big appetite to turn on Rishi."

Despite being battered by Labour in the latest opinion polls, Davis said the Tories can win the next general election.

"I think we've got a good - no, good is too strong - we've got a chance of winning," he said.

Britain's former prime minister Boris Johnson gestures as he waits for the arrival of South Africa's president to the Palace of Westminster, home to Britain's House of Commons and House of Lords, both houses of parliament, in London on November 22, 2022, as part of his two-day state visit. (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Boris Johnson stood down as prime minister last summer. (AFP via Getty Images)
David Davis MP (Con: Haltemprice and Howden) in Westminster, being interviewed before a vote of confidence in Boris Johnson, June 6th 2022
Conservative MP David Davis has urged his party to back prime minister Rishi Sunak. (Alamy)

"It needs some of us to put our shoulder to the wheel to make it happen.

"We've got two years. We've had a record number of prime ministers in one year. If we decide we're going to change again, the public will lose faith in us. We could elect the Archangel Gabriel - it wouldn’t matter.

"We would not be returning to government next time if we did that."

Read more: BBC presenter says 2022 saw 'the death of shame' in politics

Davis said of Sunak: "He's got scope to make lots of decisions and carry the party with him. The closer we get to the election the more that's going to be true."

According to the latest YouGov poll, published on 29 December, almost half of Britons (48%) would vote Labour if a general election was held right now, compared to just 24% who would vote Conservative.

Sunak and health secretary Steve Barclay are under increasing pressure to come up with a plan to respond to the current crisis in the NHS.

More than a dozen NHS trusts and ambulance services declared critical incidents over the festive period, with officials citing rising flu cases and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic among the factors hitting the health service.

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves 10 Downing Street, central London to attend a Liaison Committee, at the Parliament, on December 20, 2022. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo by NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime minister Rishi Sunak is under pressure to address the crisis in the NHS. (AFP via Getty Images)

Professor Phil Banfield, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) council, said: “The current situation in the NHS is intolerable and unsustainable, both for our patients and the hard-working staff desperately trying to keep up with incredibly high levels of demand.

“The BMA has repeatedly invited the government to sit down and talk about the pressures on our health service, but their silence is deafening.

“It is disingenuous for the prime minister to talk about ‘backing the NHS’ in his New Year message, when his own health secretary is failing to discuss how this crisis can be fixed.

“The government should deliver on its obligations to the public. It is just not true that the cost of resolving this mess cannot be afforded by this country.

“This is a political choice and patients are dying unnecessarily because of that choice.”

Watch: UK's problems will not go away in 2023, says Rishi Sunak