Boris Johnson complained the Tories ‘changed the rules’ as he lamented his dismissal in his final speech as Prime Minister.
The incumbent leader said he was “passing the torch” to Liz Truss, before making a bitter reference to the revolt that ousted him just three years after winning the 2019 parliamentary election.
“The relay will be put back on in what unexpectedly turned out to be a relay race – they changed the rules halfway through, but never mind,” he told the No.10.
Despite speculation he is plotting a comeback, Mr Johnson has signaled he will retire from frontline politics after leaving Downing Street.
He said that, like the thrusters jettisoned as a space rocket shoots skyward, “I will now re-enter the atmosphere and crash down invisibly in a remote, dark corner of the Pacific.”
The outgoing Prime Minister also pledged the most ‘fervent’ support for his successor, Ms Truss, from the Tory backbench, and appealed to the Tories to end the infighting and come round to her .
Referring to his pet dog and the Downing Street cat, he said: ‘If Dilyn and Larry can put their occasional differences behind them, then so can the Conservative Party.’
However, Mr Johnson also raised his eyebrows as he compared himself to Roman military general Cincinnatus, saying he was ‘coming back to my plow’. Cincinnatus then returned to power as dictator.
In a bid to shape his legacy as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson said he was ‘proud to have delivered on the promises’ he made in 2019, claiming to have delivered Brexit and protection reform social.
He claimed he helped ensure Britain ‘held its head high in the world’ and bragged about ‘speaking with clarity and authority’ on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine .
But much of his speech consisted of a list of broken promises, in an apparent attempt to lock his successor into unfinished business, such as recruiting 20,000 more police and 50,000 nurses and building 40 new hospitals. , three high-speed rail lines and a nuclear reactor each year.
He also made it clear that he expects major intervention on energy bills during the cost of living crisis, saying: “I know that Liz Truss and this compassionate Conservative government will do everything in their power to help people get through this crisis.”
Mr Johnson said he was confident the new Tory administration would ‘give people the money they need to get through this energy crisis caused by Putin’s vicious war’.
Mr Johnson also hailed the successful rollout of Covid vaccines. “The people who have delivered the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe… That’s the government for you. It’s that Conservative government.
Labour’s shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy said Mr Johnson listed ‘imaginary achievements’ in his resignation speech, describing him as ‘the worst prime minister of the modern age…. He was denounced as a liar and a charlatan. Good riddance.”
Ms Truss, who will travel to Balmoral to accept the role of Prime Minister from the Queen later on Tuesday, is expected to draw up plans for a bill freeze which could cost around £100billion.
The plan could see the government subsidize the extra cost of bulk gas bought by energy companies, according to The temperature. But energy industry chiefs have suggested the huge loans will be repaid by a levy on household bills once the crisis subsides.
She is expected to begin a cabinet reshuffle as early as Tuesday afternoon after delivering her first address to the nation as prime minister from Downing Street around 4 p.m.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries have both resigned ahead of a reshuffle. Close Truss ally Therese Coffey – tipped to become health secretary and potentially deputy prime minister – said the new cabinet would be revealed today.