Stuart Rose says business needs quick successor to ‘lame duck’ PM Johnson | Company


Stuart Rose, the veteran retailer and conservative colleague, has urged Boris Johnson to leave number 10 now, describing him as a “lame duck prime minister”.

His comments came as a range of business leaders and Tory donors, from the hotelier and Brexit supporter Rocco Forte to the telecoms entrepreneur David Ross, commented on Johnson’s resignation and called on his successor to review the UK’s long-term economic prospects. for fear of an impending recession.

It has been suggested that Johnson could stay on as interim prime minister, possibly until the fall, when a new Conservative party leader is elected.

Lord Rose, the chairman of Asda and former boss of Marks & Spencer, said: “This has taken too long and it is unsustainable to continue into the autumn with a paralyzed, crippled Prime Minister. There seems to be no one dealing with the serious problem of the economy. This political crisis has paralyzed everything.”

A new leader will face a deteriorating economy, with inflation at its 40-year high, energy prices expected to rise further as winter approaches, and some economists’ predictions of an imminent recession.

However, Archie Norman, the chairman of M&S and a former Conservative MP, said Johnson’s departure could open a new chapter in British politics, beyond a focus on Brexit. “The public is thirsting for a new civility in public discourse,” he said. “That means a more mature tone, honest talk and respect for the truth, no matter how unpalatable.”

Norman said he first met Johnson in 1994 when he was a journalist. “He was a good colleague during my time in parliament. It was sad to see his regime degenerate. But now is a great opportunity to enter a new post-partisan era, to stop asking every question against the context of Brexit, and to reach out across the water to bring together all the talents of the Conservative Party. to build a sound recovery plan for the UK economy.”

Carphone Warehouse co-founder David Ross, who has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Conservatives, urged the next Prime Minister to “continue with the hugely important leveling program and create equal opportunities for the whole of the UK”. He said: “We also really need to focus on selling Britain after Brexit to the international community and be clear with them about what our economic vision is for the future and how this is a great place to do business.”

Forte, who gave Johnson £100,000 for his latest election campaign, said Johnson’s regime was “not a pro-business, pro-enterprise government”. He said policies such as the windfall tax on oil and gas companies were “myopic.”

“The government has a very short-sighted view – the idea that we have to pay off the Covid debts immediately is nonsense. I hope whoever comes next has a more cohesive, long-term view of the economy.”

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John Caudwell, the billionaire founder of Phones 4U, called for the next prime minister to take “an even stronger lead in supporting Ukraine” and tackle climate change with urgency. He said he wanted them to receive “appropriate assistance for the most vulnerable suffering during the current cost of living crisis”.

Caudwell sent a plan to former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to rebuild the economy after Covid by focusing on infrastructure, domestic investment, an eco-friendly Silicon Valley and apprenticeships. “Fight in this and all other ways furiously to keep the ‘great’ in Britain,” he said.

The donors were reluctant to throw their weight on a candidate to succeed Johnson. Forte said there was “no obvious successor”, adding that Steve Baker, the MP for Wycombe, was “a very good man who has the right ideas to move the country forward” but had no support within the Tory party.

Ross said it was too early to name his favorite candidate and that he would wait to see the “philosophy” of the next regime before donating again. Caudwell said the new chancellor Nadhim Zahawi’s background in business meant he had “a lot to offer” and former health minister Sajid Javid was a strong candidate.

Jim O’Neill, the former Treasury Secretary and crossbench peer, said, “We need a leader who has coherent policies to increase our productivity.”

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