Boris Johnson drops UK Prime Minister comeback bid, favorite Sunak to win

Content of the article

LONDON — Rishi Sunak looked set to become Britain’s next prime minister after Boris Johnson pulled out of the contest on Sunday, saying that while he had enough support to make it to the final ballot, he realized the country and the Conservative Party needed unity.

Johnson had returned home from a vacation in the Caribbean to try to enlist the support of 100 lawmakers to contest Monday’s ballot to replace Liz Truss, the woman who succeeded him in September after being ousted from office in the following a series of scandals.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Content of the article

Johnson said he won the support of 102 lawmakers, but was unable to persuade either Sunak or fellow candidate Penny Mordaunt to come together « in the national interest ».

“Therefore, I fear that the best thing is not to allow my nomination to go forward and to pledge my support to whoever succeeds,” he said in a statement late Sunday.

« I believe I have a lot to offer but I’m afraid it’s just not the right time. »

The pound rose more than half a cent against the dollar in early Asian trading.

Johnson’s statement likely paves the way for arch-rival Sunak to become prime minister, possibly as soon as Monday, replacing Truss who was forced to resign after launching an economic program that sparked market turmoil financial.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Under fast-track contest rules, if a single candidate wins the support of 100 Tory lawmakers, they will be named prime minister on Monday.

If two candidates cross the threshold, they will move on to a vote by party members, with the winner announced on Friday, just days before new finance minister Jeremy Hunt unveils the state of the country’s finances on October 31.

It had raised fears that Johnson would return to Downing Street with the backing of party members, not the majority of lawmakers in parliament. The BBC says Sunak has the backing of nearly 150 lawmakers so far.

A Sunak supporter, who asked not to be named, said his main reaction was relief because if Johnson had won, « the party would have torn apart ».

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Another Tory lawmaker, Lucy Allan, said on Twitter: ‘I backed Boris for Prime Minister but I think he did the right thing for the country.

Sunak, the 42-year-old former finance minister, had earlier confirmed he would take part in the poll, promising to tackle the country’s « deep economic crisis » with « integrity, professionalism and responsibility ».

« I want to fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country, » said Sunak, the man accused by Johnson’s supporters of ending his previous three-year term.

Sunak left the cabinet in July, sparking an unprecedented cabinet rebellion against Johnson.

(Reporting by Kate Holton, Paul Sandle and Elizabeth Piper; Additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Toby Chopra and Daniel Wallis)



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Back to top button