Boris Johnson launches public attack on Rishi Sunak in first major intervention since quitting as an MP

Boris Johnson has launched a furious public attack against his ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Boris Johnson has launched a furious public attack against his ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 14/09/2023

- 07:58

Updated: 14/09/2023

- 10:25

The former Prime Minister left the House of Commons in June ahead of the privileges committee’s damning partygate report

Boris Johnson has launched a furious public attack against his ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak as the former Prime Minister makes his first major intervention since quitting as an MP.

Johnson , 59, who pushed from No10 last September following a Cabinet revolt seen to have been led by Sunak, warned the United Kingdom has only contributed a “fraction” of what the United States provided to Ukraine.

He also highlighted how British support for the ex-Soviet state was a mere one per cent of the American defence budget.

The ex-Prime Minister argued failure to provide Kyiv with weaponary needed to win would prolong the conflict and lead to unnecessary casualties.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson wrote his criticisms about UK funding to Ukraine in The Spectator


Writing for his old employers at The Spectator, Johnson said Vladimir Putin’s invasion had so far produced around 20,000 amputees in the ex-Soviet state but he sensed “not the slightest slackening of Ukrainian resolve”.

He wrote: “What the hell are we waiting for? There is only one thing they want from us and that is the weaponry to finish the job — and so I simply do not understand why we keep dragging our feet.

“Why are we always so slow? How can we look these men in the eye and explain the delay?”

Johnson, who recently visited a Ukrainian rehabilitation centre, added: “The US has given only about one per cent of its annual defence budget to support Ukraine’s armed forces, and the UK has given a fraction of what the US has given.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at ChequersPrime Minister Rishi Sunak meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at ChequersPA

“There are no US boots on the ground, and no possibility of US bodybags coming home – and yet the stakes for the West are enormous.

“If Putin wins – and all he has to do, to claim a victory, is hang on to at least a chunk of the territory he has taken since February 24 2022 – the dreadful message will go round the world: that this was the moment when the democracies pledged to stand up to the autocracies, and we flunked it.”

Sunak, who served as Johnson’s Chancellor for more than two years, spectacularly resigned from his former boss' Cabinet alongside Health Secretary Sajid Javid last summer.

The decision triggered dozens of other Government Ministers to follow suit, making Johnson’s already precarious position untenable.


Boris JohnsonBoris JohnsonPA

The Prime Minister then attempted to succeed Johnson in Number 10 during last summer’s leadership contest.

However, Johnson-loyalist Liz Truss defeated the former Chancellor when more than 100,000 Tory Party members voted last September.

Sunak appeared set to have one more showdown with Johnson last autumn following Truss' short-stint in Downing Street.

Despite receiving enough nominations to enter the contest, Johnson ultimately pulled out of the race, saying: "This is simply not the right time."

Rishi SunakRishi SunakPA

Sunak seemingly triumphed over his fomer boss when Johnson announced his resignation as the MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip ahead of the privileges committee report into partygate.

The Prime Minister gave Conservative MPs a free vote on the report's findings as only seven opposed its recommendations in the Commons.

However, with Sunak facing increasing pressure, Johnson's intervention is unlikely to land well in Downing Street.

Sunak is facing two totemic by-election contests next month following the resignations of Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries and Tamworth MP Chris Pincher.

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