Tue, 23 Jul 2019
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon has said that he will support Boris Johnson in trying to secure a Brexit deal.
Mr Johnson was announced as the new leader of the Conservative Party this afternoon, securing 92,153 party votes against Jeremy Hunt's 46,656 votes.
Mr Benyon, said: "I congratulate Boris Johnson and I will give him my support in trying to get a deal that Parliament can support and reflects the result of the referendum. I was pleased by his one nation Conservative speech at the announcement of the result."
The Newbury MP had supported Mr Hunt's bid to become the next Prime Minister, after North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse withdrew from the running and Rory Stewart was knocked out of the contest.
Mr Benyon had said that Mr Hunt was "the more likely of the two to land a sensible Brexit deal that respects the result of the referendum, but protects jobs" as the UK prepares to leave the EU with or without a deal on October 31.
But following today's result he said: "That was my view. The party and the country thought differently.
"It's now important that the party unites, works together to deliver Brexit to unite the country and, as [Mr Johnson] said, then to win a forthcoming general election.
"It's possible to do all three but it's going to be immensely challenging."
Speaking of his favoured unsuccessful candidate, Mr Benyon said: "Jeremy has proved himself in this campaign to be an extraordinary talent and I hope that Boris uses him in his government, because he is going to need people of extraordinary intelligence, and particularly people who can talk to our friends and neighbours in Europe as we go through the challenging weeks that lie ahead."
Indeed, the Mr Johnson's majority has been reduced to two following the suspension of Dover MP Charlie Elphicke over sexual assault charges.
This majority could be reduced further if the party loses a by-election in Brecon and Radnorshire on August 1.
Mr Benyon said that it would be extremely difficult for Mr Johnson to govern efficiently unless he reached out "not just across the party but across the House of Commons".