Truss left in the lurch as Boris steps down

Election Count gets underway at Lynnsport King's Lynn
Elizabeth Truss ANL-150805-111416009
Election Count gets underway at Lynnsport King's Lynn Elizabeth Truss ANL-150805-111416009
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A West Norfolk MP had backed Boris Johnson to be the next prime minister – despite opposing him in the EU referendum campaign.

With politics still in turmoil following Britain’s vote to leave last week, both major parties are facing questions over their leadership.

But, despite their differences, environment secretary and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss announced her support for the former Mayor of London only for him to dramatically pull out of the race yesterday.

In a national newspaper column published before Mr Johnson’s announcement, she said that, because of the leave vote, the new prime minister had to be someone who had campaigned on that side.

She added: “The British people must be able to trust the new prime minister to deliver the instruction they have given. I believe he can bring the country back together and lead a programme of domestic reform and renewal.”

Her North West Norfolk counterpart, Sir Henry Bellingham, said he would wait until the final list of candidates was confirmed before making a decision.

But he had said he was “likely” to back Mr Johnson.

Meanwhile, a senior Labour official in the borough has criticised her party’s MPs for seeking to unseat their leader instead of focusing on the government’s problems.

More than 170 Labour MPs declared they had no confidence in the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn during a vote this week, amid growing expectation of a leadership challenge following fierce criticism of his handling of the referendum campaign.

But North West Norfolk party secretary Jo Rust, who backed Mr Corbyn before his election last autumn, said she was confident he would win again if a new election takes place.

And she maintained those demanding a change of leader were focusing on the wrong target at a time when they should be taking on the Conservatives.

She said: “We’re still seeing an increase in our membership. We’re getting more messages in support of Jeremy than we are saying they have no confidence in him.

“We have got a political class now, people who go into it straight from university and that’s why they don’t resonate with ordinary people.

“I think he will be elected again and I hope then that these careerist MPs will work with him.”