Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey has explained why he is backing Boris Johnson to become new Prime Minister.

He told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I’ve decided to back Boris Johnson. A month or two ago, I was sure I’d back pretty much anyone but Boris but our politics has changed profoundly since we failed to leave the EU on 29th March. The Brexit Party has won the European elections without a single declared policy beyond an unequivocal commitment to leave the EU.”

“At the same time, the Liberal Democrats have adopted the slogan ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ and are hoovering up support from those who want the result of the referendum ignored. The polarisation of our public discourse is gathering pace and it troubles me enormously that this is the case.”

“Whilst the Brexit crocodiles are swimming closest to the canoe, crocodiles looking much like Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell swim hungrily just beyond. They can see that Brexit could bring about the complete collapse of the Conservative Party and they know that a General Election that follows would hand them the keys to Number 10. Two weeks ago they said they’d nationalise some of our utilities, paying below the market value and thus cheating millions of investors and pensioners out of their money. This week they’ve said they’ll put a tax on people’s gardens!”

“It is not just the Conservative Party that is in great peril, our country is too. Brexit cannot be ignored, it must be delivered. Marxism cannot succeed, it must be defeated. Our public discourse must move on quickly from telling 52% of the population that what they want is ‘bollocks’ or that the 48% are ‘traitors’. Enough really is enough.”

“Boris will get Brexit done, he’ll shine a light on the policies being cooked up by Corbyn and McDonnell and he’ll focus on the issues that really matter – proper funding for our schools, delivering affordable housing, much needed new infrastructure and tackling climate change. That’s why I’m backing him.”

The number of MPs backing the Tory front-runners:

The number of MPs each candidate can get to support them is very important – but it’s also not set in stone. Early leaders can often see support drain away as the contest goes on, and there’s no guarantee that MPs who’ve publicly backed one candidate will actually vote for them throughout.

Here’s the current count for the MPs, both those that are definitely running, and those that have such strong speculation that they will run that MPs are already announcing their backing.

  • Boris Johnson – 44
  • Michael Gove – 31
  • Jeremy Hunt – 30
  • Dominic Raab – 22
  • Sajid Javid – 16