Britain holds its breath in race for next PM – POLITICO

LONDON – Still the showman, Boris Johnson is once again keeping Britain waiting.

The former British prime minister – dreaming of another shot at the top job after the dramatic collapse of the fledgling administration of Liz Truss – has yet to formally declare his candidacy in the Conservative Party leadership race .

But throughout the weekend, Johnson and his closest allies engaged in a frantic effort to win the support of enough Tory MPs to allow him to qualify for a face-off with his former rival. Rishi Sunak. To stand a chance, Johnson needs the backing of 100 fellow Tory MPs by the close of nominations at 2 p.m. Monday.

Late-night talks between Johnson and Sunak – aimed at bridging a legendary rift in British politics sparked by Sunak’s fateful resignation from Johnson’s last administration – broke down with no sign of a deal on Saturday.

Johnson’s relatives insist he is still in the running – but the ex-prime minister doesn’t seem willing to officially declare his candidacy until he’s sure he has the numbers he needs.

« I spoke to Boris Johnson, » said Cabinet Minister and Johnson ally Jacob Rees-Mogg. « Clearly he’s going to stay on his feet. There’s a lot of support for him. »

Despite Rees-Mogg’s optimism, some of the signs bode ill for Johnson as the Tories scramble to find a candidate who can save them from plummeting in the polls amid the UK’s economic turmoil.

Former Chancellor Sunak, who officially launched his own campaign on Sunday, enters the week in a commanding position, having already passed the 100-nomination mark. He appears to be the clear choice of the parliamentary party, and if no other candidate secures the support of 100 MPs by Monday’s deadline, he will be declared the winner on the same day.

However, if a second candidate also reaches the 100 MP threshold, the result will be decided by an online ballot of the party’s 180,000 members. Johnson remains a favorite among the base and would hope to defeat Sunak or third-placed Penny Mordaunt in a ballot of party members if he goes that far.

Crucially for a candidate seen as coming from the center of the Conservative Party, however, Sunak won over key figures on the right over the weekend, including former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, current International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and former Brexit negotiators David Davis. and David Frost.

On Sunday, Steve Baker – another influential right-winger and Brexiteer leader – also backed Sunak and delivered a scathing verdict on Johnson’s potential return.

The former chairman of the European Research Group told Sky News that while there is « a lot of love for Boris Johnson, and I respect that », an ongoing parliamentary inquiry into Johnson’s conduct during the » Partygate » means it had been a « guaranteed disaster ». as PM. Conservative members, Baker said, should « engage with reality. »

Despite Rees-Mogg’s optimism, some of the signs bode ill for Johnson as the Tories scramble to find a candidate who can save them from a poll slump | Peter Summers/Getty Images

Yet Johnson – who has already risen from the political grave – cannot be counted. His supporters privately claim he has already reached the 100 MP threshold, although his publicly declared supporters remain well below the crucial number. And if Johnson manages to get a vote from the broader base – a group that flatly rejected Sunak when he went head-to-head with Truss over the summer – he’ll have a real shot at grabbing the crown for a second time. .

The former Tory leader was also bolstered over the weekend by support from several Cabinet ministers, including Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Cabinet Minister Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Anne Marie-Travelyan.

Make the case, shrewdly said on Twitter On Sunday, Johnson had « learned the lessons » of his move to No 10 and « will ensure that the focus is on the needs of the country from day one ».

Westminster can only watch and hold its breath.

if ( document.referrer.indexOf( document.domain ) < 0 ) { pl_facebook_pixel_args.referrer = document.referrer; } !function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s) {if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod? n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)}; if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version='2.0'; n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0; t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window, document,'script', ''); fbq( 'consent', 'revoke' ); fbq( 'init', "394368290733607" ); fbq( 'track', 'PageView', pl_facebook_pixel_args ); if ( typeof window.__tcfapi !== 'undefined' ) { window.__tcfapi( 'addEventListener', 2, function( tcData, listenerSuccess ) { if ( listenerSuccess ) { if ( tcData.eventStatus === 'useractioncomplete' || tcData.eventStatus === 'tcloaded' ) { __tcfapi( 'getCustomVendorConsents', 2, function( vendorConsents, success ) { if ( ! vendorConsents.hasOwnProperty( 'consentedPurposes' ) ) { return; } const consents = vendorConsents.consentedPurposes.filter( function( vendorConsents ) { return 'Create a personalised ads profile' ===; } ); if ( consents.length === 1 ) { fbq( 'consent', 'grant' ); } } ); } } }); }


Back to top button