Ukrainian-born millionaire Alexander Temerko is one of the Conservative party’s biggest donors and is certain about who he thinks should be the leader of the party and the country — Boris Johnson.
Temerko, who received British citizenship in 2011, is a fully-paid up member of the British Conservative Party and a member of the Leader’s Group, a private group for donors who give the party at least £50,000 ($US76,300).
Temerko made his money in the energy sector and has given around £500,000 ($US762,842) to the Tory party.
His total net worth was not confirmed to Business Insider but put it this way — he paid £90,000 ($US137,300) for a bronze bust of Prime Minister David Cameron and then gave it away to the Tories’ private establishment in London, the Carlton Club.
In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Temerko told us exactly why he thinks Boris Johnson, who is currently the Mayor of London, should be the next leader of the Conservative party after David Cameron and why Johnson would make a good Prime Minister.
“Boris Johnson is a man of global vision and is pro-business,” Temerko says. “He built a very solid team that aren’t all just his cronies. He is wise in politics and business life too.”
“He’s not afraid of what the PR reaction would be to any strategies, which is what the country needs if we are to reinvest in our infrastructure, rail systems, ports and our roads, in order to make our country much more modern and effective to receive investment.”
In October, Prime Minister David Cameron “singled out” Johnson at the Tory party conference for his role as Mayor of London and gave Johnson supporters hope that he would soon take over from Cameron as party leader. Cameron said:
I want to single someone out. He’s served this country. He’s served this party. And there’s a huge amount more to come. So let’s hear it for the man who for two terms has been Mayor of the greatest capital city on earth: Boris Johnson.
Temerko — who still fully supports the Tory party despite lashing out at the government’s coal-fired plant announcement yesterday — said: “Boris is best [of the Conservative party] and is the best for the country as well.”
“Even within the first 100 days of Boris being Mayor he reshuffled the team, adopted some good programmes and renovated London. With five years, you saw very good results,” he added.
Johnson has brought about a lot of change to London since he was first appointed Mayor of London in 2008. He was instrumental in improving and supporting the Tech City infrastructure currently being built in and around London’s Old Street, has boosted low-income workers’ pay packets by installing the Living Wage, and is active in finding foreign investment for the City.
Temerko says: “Johnson is very energetic, talks to everyone directly, makes sure he meets with all the people and he has huge support and is well-received — not just from Conservatives but from parts of the Labour party as well. He is reasonable and trustworthy.”
Johnson is a favourite amongst Tory voters. But he is also seen as a buffoon by many outside of his supporter base. In some ways, this actually helps him — he resonates with a wider audience than people like Cameron.
Temerko says: “It’s not because of celebrity — he’s a driver of innovation and good ideas and he knows how to implement them. He works on opportunity to turn into reality.”
However, if Johnson does want to lead the party and the country he will have to fight for the role. George Osborne is also said to be keen to take over from Cameron as the party leader and the Prime Minister even gave him the moniker of the “Iron Chancellor” in his October conference speech, echoing Margaret Thatcher’s knickname “The Iron Lady”.
Our party’s success in growing our economy and winning the economic arguments has never been more vital. Nothing less than the security of every single family in our country depends on it. And as we do that, I know that we will have on our side our Iron Chancellor, George Osborne.
Temerko isn’t sold on Osborne: “George Osborne may be personally a good man but he is and cannot be leader of the party or drive country to next generation because his immature and very unprofessional.
“We have numbers good MPs and good politicians who demonstrate good business sense but unfortunately George surrounds himself with cronies.”
At the moment, bookmaker Paddy Power has odds on Osborne for the next Prime Minister at 6/4 and Johnson at 9/2. Meanwhile, the radical leader of the left-wing Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, comes in at 8/1.
Corbyn is suffering a schism within his own party but he has substantial support from members that voted him in.
However, Temerko said he cannot see, in any way, Corbyn becoming the next Prime Minister.
“The current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is anti-business and an anti-country man and all he does is preach to people about global social equality and justice,” said Temerko. “He’d be a good priest but it’s more likely seeing him become the next Archbishop of Canterbury than Prime Minister.”
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.