Graham Norton slams Boris Johnson in hilarious takedown of Tory leadership candidates

Graham Norton appears next to a picture of Boris Johnson during the opening monologue on his Graham Norton Show commenting on the Tory leadership race

Graham Norton perfectly summed up how ridiculous the Tory leadership contest has become and slammed the idea of Boris Johnson returning as prime minister. 

Norton used the opening monologue of the Graham Norton Show on Friday (21 October) to poke fun at the Tory leadership race to succeed Liz Truss as prime minister. Truss resigned Thursday (20 October) after 44 days in office, going down in history as the shortest-serving prime minister. 

The race to succeed Truss has begun to take off with three presumed front-runners – Rishi SunakPenny Mordaunt and former prime minister Boris Johnson – garnering support in the Conservative Party. 

Norton briefly reflected on the election chaos during the opening of his show, and it was clear that he wasn’t thrilled at the thought of Johnson returning as prime minister. 

“Who’s it gonna be next?” he said. 

“Sources say it could be Penny Mordaunt for the party’s sake. It could be Rishi Sunak for the country’s sake, or even Boris Johnson… for f**k’s sake.”

Graham Norton’s brilliant remarks garnered laughter from the crowd and the internet alike who are – like the rest of the UK – waiting for a decision from the Tories about who will succeed Truss. 


At the moment, Sunak is the bookies’ favourite in the Tory leadership race as he gained strong support within the Conservative party during his previous campaign over the summer. However, the former chancellor hasn’t officially declared his intention to run. 

Sunak’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights has been murky at best, and he had little to do directly with advancing or rolling back LGBTQ+ rights during his time as chancellor of the exchequer. 

During his leadership bid, he made his position on trans rights increasingly clear. Sunak alongside Truss denied that trans women are women, and an ally of Sunak was quoted in the Mail on Sunday saying he would reverse “recent trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language” if he became prime minister.

Mordaunt became the first candidate to officially declare an intention to run to be the next leader of the Conservative party. The former defence minister finished in third place in this summer’s Tory leadership race before eventually backing Truss. 

The Tory government began the long-promised process of reforming the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) under her time as minister for women and equalities under Theresa May, and she earned a reputation as a rare trans ally in the Tory party.

Yet, Mordaunt did an abrupt U-turn from her earlier support for trans rights during her Tory leadership bid. 

She spoke out against what she described as the “trans orthodoxy” in a lengthy Twitter thread, and her short-lived campaign was marked by her making a crude anti-trans jibe about genitals 

Johnson is reportedly considering running again to be the UK prime minister after Truss’s dramatic resignation. The former PM quit in disgrace in July after a series of scandals and a massive wave of ministerial resignations. 

During his time as prime minister, the Tory government axed efforts to crack down on LGBTQ+ bullying, ditched GRA reform and abandoned promises to ban conversion practices in the UK.

Nominations for the next Tory leader and prime minister close Monday (24 October), and candidates will need the support of at least 100 Tory MPs. The Conservative Party will choose a new leader by Friday (28 October).