Boris Johnson On Sunday, Grand Conservative politicians were struggling to win enough support to make what would be a stunning comeback as UK prime minister, as former finance minister Rishi Sunak announced his support.
The two men became early favorites to replace Liz Truss, who announced it resignation Thursday marked just six weeks left in a period that has plunged Britain into political and economic turmoil.
Sunak announced that he will participate in the competition on Sunday morning. He tweeted: “The UK is a great country but we are facing a deep economic crisis. That is why I am ready to be the Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister. I want to fix our economy, unite our party and serve our country.”
The former chancellor of the ex-treasurer has already reached the 100-candidate threshold to get on the ballot, with Johnson’s allies saying the former prime minister has returned from a Caribbean vacation with plans to enter the race. he has not declared that he is still standing.
A runoff between the two men could be divisive for the ruling Conservative party, not least because many of Johnson’s supporters blame Sunak’s resignation in July for the fall of his government. Some publications think that these two people may start some kind of deal.
The BBC reported that a meeting between Johnson and Sunak had taken place, but “it was not revealed what they discussed”, while Britain’s PA Media news agency reported on Saturday that the two had “held talks in the evening”.
Meanwhile, Sky News called the meeting a “secret summit”.
If Sunak and Johnson decide to run, they will be up against Commons leader Penny Mordaunt, who on Sunday said she regretted the so-called “mini-budget” that led to economic turmoil in Britain and Truss’s resignation.
“I am very sorry about the mini-budget… I have expressed my concerns even before I was in the Cabinet,” Mordant told the BBC on Sunday, adding that the details of the budget were “not known to the Cabinet”.
After the collapse of the Johnson government, the Conservatives held a leadership race for the last time, with Truss first, Sunak second and Mordaunt third.
Graham Brady, the Conservative Party official in charge of the process, said any candidate must receive at least 100 nominations from the party’s MPs by 2pm local time on Monday.
As the party has 357 MPs, the threshold effectively narrows the field of potential candidates to a maximum of three.
If only one candidate crosses this threshold, he will automatically become the leader. Otherwise, the remaining candidates will be put to an online vote by Conservative Party members, which will close on Friday 28 October.
Truss resigned on Thursday after just six weeks in a disastrous role that plunged Britain into political and economic crisis. His successor will be the fifth prime minister to lead the country since it voted for Brexit in 2016.
Keir Starmer, the leader of the main opposition Labor Party, renewed his calls for a general election on Sunday after claiming people were “fed up to the back teeth” with the Conservative leadership and the consequences of their government’s decisions.
“You have to make a choice. We need a general election! Let the public decide… Do they want to continue with this utter chaos or do they want stability under a Labor government?” Starmer asked during an interview with the BBC.
Former home secretary Priti Patel became one of Johnson’s most high-profile supporters in his bid to become prime minister on Saturday. “Boris has the mandate to deliver our elected manifesto and a proven track record of getting big decisions right,” he said.
But his possible return to the top job has caused a rift within the Conservative Party, with many lawmakers dismayed at the prospect of a second Johnson prime ministership.
Dominic Raab, Johnson’s former deputy prime minister and foreign secretary, told the BBC “we cannot go back”, pointing out that Johnson still faces an investigation into the so-called partygate scandal, which involved illegal gatherings in Downing Street.
The former prime minister is expected to appear in the next few weeks before the Commons Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether he rigged parliament over parties, which could see him suspended or expelled as an MP.
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