British Conservative politician Rishi Sunak late Friday reached the minimum threshold to run for party leadership, as former prime minister Boris Johnson targeted a bold comeback.
Cabinet member Penny Mordaunt became the first to officially announce her candidacy, after the UK’s ruling party was forced to enter a second leadership contest following the Prime Minister’s dramatic resignation Liz Truss.
“Honored to be the 100th Tory MP to support #Ready4Rishi,” senior supporter Tobias Ellwood tweeted, as other Sunak supporters also said he’s crossed the line.
Sunak will automatically become party leader and prime minister if his opponent also fails to win 100 nominations from their fellow Tory MPs.
Security Secretary Tom Tugendhat, who personally ran for the leadership post after Johnson was ousted in July, has issued an appeal for secrecy so that the scandal-ridden former leader does not enter the race. .
“This is not the time for political games, for match-fixing or for looking back,” Tugendhat said as he also confirmed Sunak late on Friday.
Neither Sunak nor Johnson have publicly stated that they are running for office.
But Johnson cut his Caribbean holiday short to take part in the snap election, which will see Tory MPs hold a vote on Monday before an online vote can be held on the candidates. party members next week.
James Duddridge, one of Johnson’s closest allies in parliament, said he had been in contact with his former boss via WhatsApp.
“He said… ‘We’re going to do this. I’m ready for it’,” said the MP, when a Sky News reporter posted a photo that appeared to show Johnson on a flight home from the Communists. Dominican Republic.
– ‘A new start’ –
The Sunak and Johnson camps are said to be seeking talks to see if there is scope for a unified deal – despite a lot of bad blood since the former prime minister was discharged.
Mordaunt, who just missed making the last line after Johnson resigned, said she was running for “a fresh start, a party of unity and leadership in the national interest”.
But polling firm YouGov found that three out of five voters want an early general election, in line with the demands of opposition parties, as Britons grapple with a cost-of-living crisis increasingly serious.
Labor and other parties argue that only an election can end months of political turmoil, which began when Johnson was forced out following a relentless personal and political scandal.
In the resulting struggle, Truss won the support of just over 80,000 Tory party members, defeating Sunak, who correctly warned that a right-wing debt-based tax cut program would collapse the foundation. economy.
Truss announced Thursday that she will be leaving the job after just 44 difficult days in office.
– ‘Questions to answer’ –
Political website Guido Fawkes, which is running a spreadsheet that aggregates the declared support of Tory MPs, has Sunak on 103, Johnson on 68 and Mordaunt on 25 late on Friday.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, a fan of the Tory establishment, told reporters he didn’t stand his ground. “Right now, I’m leaning towards Boris Johnson,” he said.
But Wallace added that Johnson still had “a number of questions to answer” about the many scandals, leading to an investigation that has not been kicked off in the House of Commons.
If found guilty of lying to the Commons about the “Partygate” scandal – revelations of a lockdown breach held in Downing Street – Johnson could be suspended or even expelled from parliament.
As a result of such controversies, Johnson dropped out of No. 10 with dismal poll ratings, and the other Tories were aghast at the prospect of him returning.
Veteran supporter Roger Gale warned that Johnson could face a wave of resignations from MPs who refuse to serve under his leadership.
– ‘Back Repairer’ –
Johnson’s unequivocal appeal was underscored by a YouGov poll that showed 52% of voters opposed his return.
In Sunak’s constituency in Yorkshire, northern England, 58-year-old farmer Elaine Stones said the party made a mistake by electing Truss over him.
“He’s honest, trustworthy and he should have been voted down last time,” she told AFP.
But retiree Maureen Ward called Sunak a “backstop” who helped topple Johnson.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)