Tory leadership contest: Johnson and Sunak hold ‘late night talks’ – fuelling speculation they could strike a deal | Politics News

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are said to have held talks late into the night – sparking speculation that they could strike a deal.

Neither the former prime minister nor the former prime minister have officially declared themselves in the race to succeed Liz Truss as prime minister.

The race to be PM heats up – follow the latest updates

Expected progress of events in electing a new Prime Minister
Expected progress of events in electing a new Prime Minister

To be placed on the ballot, leadership candidates need the backing of at least 100 Conservative MPs.

Public approval means Mr Sunak has crossed the threshold – with 121 supporters – and Mr Johnson’s allies claim he also has the numbers needed to run.

However, the latest Sky News count of votes showed only 56 MPs confirmed they would support Mr Johnson’s campaign for a second prime ministership.

One of Mr Sunak’s supporters – Richard Holden – dismissed claims that Mr Johnson had 100 MPs behind him, and said this public count had not been made “because they don’t exist”.

The only person to throw their hats into the ring, Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, received approval from 23 of her peers.

The current election campaign has been moved quickly after Liz Truss resigned as prime minister and nominations for the ballot will close at 2pm tomorrow.

Read more:
Who do Tory MPs support to be the next prime minister?
MPs welcoming Johnson’s departure now urge #BringBackBoris
Analysis: Johnson dominates the talk, but victory won’t be easy

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‘I can’t have a liar in parliament’

Reports suggest Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak’s talks are focused on a potential joint ticket.

It comes after the former Prime Minister returned to the UK from his holiday in the Dominican Republic in economy class – with some passengers booing him as he boarded the train.

If all three candidates receive 100 supporters, there will be a vote of MPs – with two winners transferred to party membership.

A vote will then take place, meaning a new leader will be chosen on Friday.

In a pivotal moment for Team Sunak, Kemi Badenoch backed the former prime minister after a flurry of big names flocked to Mr Johnson.

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What would happen to force a general election?

While she admits she used to be a member of “Boris Johnson’s fan club”, she warned the Tories not to “host a popularity contest” – and the party “is not a vehicle for any personal ambition of any individual”.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Ms Badenoch said of her decision to endorse Mr Sunak: “Like any colleague at work, we had disagreements, which I explained when we were rivals in the field. same contest.

“It’s now imperative for me to let people know the decisions he’s made that I know are absolutely right.”

She also spoke of his attention to inflation and curbing “wasteful, unnecessary spending”.

Meanwhile, the former foreign minister Dominic Raab said it was “difficult to see” how Mr Johnson could return as prime minister when he was “engrossed and distracted” by issues surrounding partisanship.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Raab said he was “confident” that Mr Sunak would run in the Tory leadership race and was “the standout candidate” in the field.

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