RISHI Sunak hit back at Boris Johnson today — denying claims that he meddled in the ex-PM’s resignation honours list.
Cabinet Minister Grant Shapps was sent out to publicly reject the allegation from Johnson’s supporters that the PM had removed some names.
Boris Johnson was spotted on an early morning run near his Oxfordshire home following his resignation as MP
A war of words has reignited between the Sunak and Johnson camps following Boris’s dramatic resignation on Friday night
Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and ex-minister Nigel Adams were among those nominated but ditched from the list.
Both quit as MPs, decrying a “stitch up.”
Yesterday Mr Shapps put the boot in — suggesting that Boris was yesterday’s man.
Asked whether names had been removed by No10, the Energy Secretary gave a firm “No”.
He told the BBC: “The list that came to the PM was the list that went to the House of Lords Appointments Committee that looks at these things.
“Just to be clear here, it went to that committee.
“The Prime Minister has exactly followed the very long-standing conventions of prime ministers who simply take the list and pass it on and receive it back.”
Asked whether any names had been removed before the list went to the Lords authorities for approval by Mr Sunak or one his close aides, Mr Shapps could only say he was not aware of that to the best of his knowledge.
Downing Street declassified a document over the weekend showing the list of individuals from February approved by the House of Lords vetting panel.
A furious Mr Johnson believes he has been misled by Sunak who did not tell him the sitting MPs he had nominated had been removed when they met recently.
But Mr Shapps goaded: “Occasionally Boris wouldn’t be all over the detail, I don’t know whether that’s what happened in this particular case.”
Eight peerage nominees put forward by Mr Johnson were not approved by the body, with the suggestion the individual MPs would not stand down immediately or within six months.
Ex-Downing Street spin doctor Guto Harri told Sky News the authorities were not happy with the scale of the list and “some of the nominations originally”.
The row means three by-elections will be contested after Johnson, Dorries and Adams all stepped down.
A war of words has reignited between the Sunak and Johnson camps following Boris’s dramatic resignation on Friday night.
He stepped away from Parliament after it emerged the Privileges Committee would recommend a suspension of more than ten days, which would set in motion a by-election in his West London seat.
The panel — who meet today — are expected to publish their findings imminently.
Mr Shapps added “the world has moved on” from the BoJo era.
He said: “I think people around the country, inside and outside the Party, recognise that Boris was somebody with many qualities.
“But we are now in a world where there are different challenges to face and we’ve got new management in No10 getting on with the job and getting on with the priorities of this country.
“I think the world has moved on from what was quite a dramatic period under Brexit and under the issues related to Covid, the vaccines and the rest of it.”
Grant Shapps was sent out to publicly reject the allegation that PM Rishi Sunak meddled in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list
The ex-Tory chair was at pains to point out that Mr Johnson enjoyed success with the response to the invasion of Ukraine and the Covid vaccine roll-out.
But he added “people both in the Conservative Party and outside don’t miss the drama” of his administration.
He added that the country was “under new management” with Mr Sunak focused on his priorities such as reducing hospital backlogs and stopping Channel small boat crossings.
Ministers distanced themselves from Mr Johnson’s criticism of the Privileges Committee report.
He accused the seven-person panel of a “witch-hunt” — likening the MPs led by Labour’s Harriet Harman, to a “kangaroo court”.
Mr Shapps said he had “no reason” to believe the accusations.
Meanwhile Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg — knighted in last week’s resignation honours — said Mr Johnson will come back to frontline politics “to save the nation”.
He added there would be a Tory “civil war” if bosses blocked him from standing again — claiming Boris was in “pole position” to return at some date to lead the Conservatives for a second time.
Former Tory minister Tim Loughton told Times Radio that he wished Mr Johnson would now “shut up and go away”.
He added: “His sad demise was brought about entirely at his own doing, frankly.”
A government source said: “Rishi knows people just want to see him and his government delivering for them. That’s why he’s focused day in, day out on his five priorities — halving inflation, reducing debt, growing the economy, cutting waiting lists and stopping the boats.