Now we know David Cameron is definitely going, we'll win back Ukip voters who hate him, say Tories

 

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Indy Politics

David Cameron’s decision to rule out a third term as Prime Minister will help his party’s candidates battling against strong Ukip threats,  it was claimed by Tory MPs this afternoon.

Trust in Mr Cameron is a major reason why so many voters have switched to Nigel Farage’s party, one Tory backbencher said, adding that his decision to announce he has no plans to remain as leader beyond 2020 could even persuade many Ukip voters back to the fold.

“There’s an issue with credibility,” one Tory MP said of Mr Cameron. “Hearts don’t vote for him but the head goes for the Tories.”

The party will now be able to pick up more votes from “those people who don’t like David Cameron” and whose hearts are gunning for the likes of Boris Johnson, the MP added.

The Prime Minister is likely to be forced to step aside earlier than 2020 however, in order to give his successor time to prove himself to voters before the 2020 general election.

He has also run the risk of distracting a potential second premiership by name-checking Boris Johnson, Theresa May and George Osborne.

Labour has pounced on Mr Cameron’s remarks, which were made in a BBC interview yesterday.

“He’s gone from a chicken to a lame duck within a week,” says a senior labour source, referring to Mr Cameron’s refusal to take part in a head-to-head TV debate with Ed Miliband and the authority he has apparently now lost due to voters not knowing who will be Prime Minister if the Tories win the election.

But a poll found two in three people thought it was right of Mr Cameron to declare he will not serve a third term as Prime Minister.

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From left to right: Sajid Javid, Nicky Morgan, George Osborne, Theresa May and William Hague. All but the latter are potential successors (Getty)

The survey by market research firm Usurv found Boris Johnson to be the clear favourite to replace him as leader of the Tories.

Today Mr Cameron attempted to downplay the comments, insisting he was simply giving a "straight answer to a straight question".

“I think people will understand that a full second term, a full five years, is a very reasonable, sensible thing to say,” he added.

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David Cameron has constantly spoken about Boris Johnson in terms of his "star striker". He now could soon be the manager

But he raised eyebrows by talking about his political “epitaph”.

"I've got to be honest with you," he told pensioners at an Age UK event.  "I don't want my political epitaph to be that I balanced the books and cleared up the mess I inherited.

"I am here today because I want a different kind of Britain - a country with the right values, a country where reward follows effort, where you get out when you put in."

Earlier today there was a rush to shore up Mr Cameron’s position, with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon insisting he answered the question “in an absolutely straight way”.

“Ten years as Prime Minister is probably enough for anybody,” Mr Fallon added. Government chief whip Michael Gove said Mr Cameron had made a statement of the obvious.

Boris Johnson said what the Prime Minister had said was “entirely banal and obvious”.

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