Lord Alan Sugar has thrown his support behind Boris Johnson, saying he has the best chance to beat “horrible man” Jeremy Corbyn.
He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer he expects Mr Johnson will win the leadership contest.
“I think Boris is going to get it, obviously, it looks like he’s going to get it,” he said.
“In a way it’s kind of good news because when a general election comes about I think the public will vote for him."
He added: "He’s a bit of a character as opposed to that horrible man Corbyn.”
The endorsement marks a remarkable turnaround in opinion towards the former foreign secretary.
In October last year Lord Sugar said Mr Johnson should be prosecuted along with Michael Gove for claims they made during the European Union referendum campaign.
He is yet to be convinced Mr Johnson can lead Britain out of the Brexit chaos.
“Boris did a reasonably good job as London mayor and I think the positive side will be that he will warm to the public. Whether he can fix this Brexit thing I don’t know,” he said.
The former Labour peer resigned from the party in 2015, and has been a major critic of Mr Corbyn.
On Twitter he wrote: “I am endorsing him (Mr Johnson) for one reason only and that is to stop Jeremy Corbyn getting into power in 2021.”
Last year Lord Sugar promised to leave the country if the Labour leader were elected Prime Minister.