June 11, 2017 / 3:37 PM / 2 years ago

Boris Johnson stresses loyalty to May in leaked text - ITV

FILE PHOTO - Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson attends a cabinet meeting hosted by Theresa May at the Prime Minister's country retreat Chequers in Buckinghamshire to discuss department-by-department Brexit action plans, Britain August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Rousseau/Pool/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - British foreign minister Boris Johnson has urged Conservative Party members of parliament to give Prime Minister Theresa May their full support in a group text message, ITV reported on Sunday.

British newspapers have been awash with speculation that Johnson will soon mount a leadership challenge after May gambled away a parliamentary majority in an election she did not need to call.

“Folks we need to calm down and get behind the prime minister,” Johnson said, according to a screenshot of a WhatsApp group text message to Conservative lawmakers posted by an ITV news reporter on Twitter. The screenshot could not be immediately authenticated by Reuters.

Johnson added the Conservatives needed to think about lessons from the election, but not via newspapers.

“The pm (prime minister) is a woman of extraordinary qualities and frankly the public are looking to us to get behind her with discipline and determination,” Johnson said.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Mark Potter

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