A FORMER Conservative party chair has launched a blistering attack on the party calling it an “English nationalist” cult in thrall to Boris Johnson.

Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and chair of the Tories from 1990 to 1992, described the Prime Minister as a “moral vacuum”.

He tore into the embattled Tory leader, who has been dealt a devastating blow as five members of his senior staff have resigned since Thursday.

Patten, now chancellor of Oxford University, told BBC4’s The World At One Johnson was a “symptom” of everything he thought was wrong about the modern Conservative party.

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He said: “: I’ve always thought the show was likely to end in disaster and I fear that’s what’s happened.

“I don’t blame him for everything that’s gone wrong – I think he is a symptom of what’s gone wrong. The Conservative Party, or what calls itself in some cases the Conservative Party, which chose him.

“I think part of it has changed into some English nationalist, populist Johnsonian cult, even though we’d be in difficulties whatever happened, if Jeremy Hunt had won the leadership, I’m not saying everything would be perfect but I don’t think we’d be in this stew.”

And he predicted Johnson would find it difficult to find people willing to take on top roles in his government due to the “tainted atmosphere” following the resignations of several senior advisers, including long-time ally Munira Mirza.

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Mirza has worked with Johnson since he was Mayor of London in 2008 and dramatically quit on Thursday night over Johnson’s Savile slur against Keir Starmer.

Asked if a staff clear out could revive the Prime Minister’s chances, Patten said Johson would find it “tough” given his record of people who work with him. 

Patten added: “If he didn’t know about it he can’t have been listening to his advisers. He was advised at the least to apologise. I think he is incapable of doing that, I think he is a moral vacuum.”

He also explained how he thought the Tories had lost their way in recent years, adding: “The party I was proud to be part of, they would not have done some of the things Boris and his colleagues have been doing. I really do think there has been some fundamental change.”