Only Tory party “nutters” want to oust Prime Minister Theresa May, a move that could trigger a fresh election, which "the people of this country don't want,” Boris Johnson has said.
Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, the foreign secretary, who was accused of overshadowing May at last week’s Tory Party conference, backed the prime minister to "deliver Brexit” and compared those plotting to remove her to a herd of elephants that "sniffed the air" but turned back.
"For heaven's sake: in the last three years we have had two elections and a referendum,” Johnson wrote. “They certainly don't want to see a Tory leadership contest that would inevitably trigger further demands for an election."
“We need a strong Conservative government to keep the economy moving forward," he added, rather than the "bonkers and unaffordable" policies of Labour.
"Above all the people of this country want us to get on and deliver Brexit - and we need Theresa to do it.”
May faced calls to sack Johnson after he set out his own personal Brexit "red lines" during his keynote speech in Manchester last week. However, Johnson used his Sunday column to back the "determined" prime minister.
“Once her mind is made up there is no-one more implacable and determined in pursuing what she believes is right for Britain," he wrote.
Comparing members of his party to elephants, he said: "Are we really going to be stampeded myopically over the edge of the gorge, with an election that no-one wants?
“Quo quo scelesti ruitis? as Horace put it at the beginning of a fresh bout of Rome's ghastly civil wars, and which roughly translates as: What do you think you are doing you nutters?
"From what I can see the Tory herd has refused to be so goaded. We have sniffed the air and turned sensibly away from the cliff."