Johnson sets sights on leading into the 2030s

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted the “golden rule” is to “focus on what we are doing”, after revealing he is planning to be in office into the 2030s.

It comes as pressure has been mounting on the Conservative Party leader from across the political divide following the Tories’ stinging by-election defeats in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton.

Mr Johnson said during a trip to Rwanda at the weekend that he is “thinking actively” about fighting the next two general elections to become the longest-serving post-war leader.

Asked at the G7 summit in Germany yesterday if his aspirations are delusional, Mr Johnson said: “What I’m saying is this is a government that is getting on with delivering for the people of this country and we’ve got a huge amount to do.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

He said the “golden rule” is to “focus on what we are doing” – to address the cost of living, the “massive” plan for a stronger economy, and “making sure that the UK continues to offer the kind of leadership around the world that I know our people want”.

Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis said during a round of interviews yesterday he thinks the PM is serious in his aspirations, arguing his desire to look “long-term” when it comes to his leadership “has got to be a good thing”.

The Northern Ireland secretary told Sky News he sees in Mr Johnson “drive and enthusiasm for what we want to achieve for our country”, and that kind of “zest” is to be celebrated.

He told LBC there is no point in the PM “pretending he’s somebody else”, after Mr Johnson insisted he will not undergo a “psychological transformation” despite pressure piling on his leadership.

The prime minister has urged Tory MPs plotting to oust him not to focus on the issues he has “stuffed up”, after his authority was further diminished by a Cabinet resignation.

Oliver Dowden stood down as Tory Party co-chairman in the wake of the by-election defeats, saying he and Conservative supporters are “distressed and disappointed by recent events” and telling Mr Johnson that “someone must take responsibility”.

But the PM set his sights on being in office in the “mid 2030s”, in a run that would see him outlast Margaret Thatcher’s reign.

Asked by journalists at the British high commissioner’s residence in Kigali if he would lead his party into the next election, he said: “Will I win? Yes.”

In buoyant mood, the prime minister added: “At the moment I’m actively thinking about the third term and what could happen then, but I will review that when I get to it.”