Boris Johnson, 57, faces calls to resign after it was revealed the Prime Minister attended a ‘bring your own booze’ Downing Street party at Number 10 in May 2020.
ITV’s Robert Peston, 61, put pressure on Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, 54, by asking the Brexit-backing MP for Stratford-upon-Avon whether he would enter the race to succeed Mr Johnson as Prime Minister and Tory Party leader.
During Peston’s interrogation of the ex-Vaccines Minister, the ITV’s political editor asked: “Most of your colleagues, whatever you say, do believe a leadership election is coming.
“Are you going to be a candidate?”
Mr Zahawi, who supported Mr Johnson’s bid to become Conservative leader in 2016 and did so again after Dominic Raab, 47, dropped out following the second ballot of the 2019 contest, replied by saying: “I don’t believe there is a leadership election.”
He then went on to set out ways in which he thought the Prime Minister had been a success.
Mr Zahawi explained: “When you look at what he did on vaccines and then, you know, brought me in to do the vaccine deployment, to then go on to purchase the therapeutics and antivirals, 5million of those coming in to save lives, to then make the call on Omicron pre-Christmas, those are the big calls.”
However, Mr Peston couldn’t resist making a quick quip at the Education Secretary at the end of their interview.
“Great to talk to you,” he said.
“Maybe I’ll look forward to your leadership campaign.”
Mr Zahawi replied: “Don’t hold your breath!”