Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson withdrew from the race for Downing Street on Sunday evening, in a stunning turn of events just hours before nominations closed.
When applications close at 2:00pm (13:00 GMT) on Monday, Mr Johnson said in a statement that he had secured the 100 sponsorships needed to stand. But he said, “Over the past few days I have come to the sad conclusion that this is not the right course of action. You cannot govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”
He says he believes he “would have had a good chance (…) of getting back to Downing Street” if he had been a candidate, and says he is “well placed” to lead his camp in two assembly elections. years.
The withdrawal will pave the way for former finance minister Rishi Sunak’s nomination on Monday: he is currently the only candidate with the required 100 supporters. The other candidate, Parliamentary Relations Minister Benny Mordant, is far from it.
In a weekend of intense negotiations, Mr. Sunak, 42, ran on Sunday after Liz Truss resigned after 44 days in power.
“I want to fix our economy, unite our party and work for our country,” he announced his candidacy on Twitter, pledging “integrity, professionalism and responsibility.”
Boris Johnson’s camp said over the weekend that the 58-year-old former prime minister, who returned from a holiday in the Caribbean on Saturday, had reached 100 supporters, contrary to at least three unofficial figures reported on Sunday evening of 57 to 76. Support.
“I spoke to Boris Johnson and he introduced himself,” said minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of his relatives.
The second announced candidate, Parliamentary Relations Minister Benny Mordant, was approached by Boris Johnson, according to his entourage, and asked to step down in favor of him. Ms Mordaunt told the BBC she was the ‘winner’ candidate.
Boris Johnson’s former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab said support for Rishi Sunak was “growing by the hour”.
– “Guaranteed Disaster” –
Among his most notable recent supporters is former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who is influential on the right wing of the party and loyal to Boris Johnson for many years.
Even if they don’t support him, many Conservative MPs are careful to express their affection for Boris Johnson, who was forced to resign in early July after a string of scandals and lies. The perennial optimist and former Brexit “hero” is popular in the party ranks.
But for many in his camp, he is too controversial to return to Downing Street. Especially since he is still subject to a parliamentary inquiry, which will soon begin to establish whether he lied to Parliament about the Downing Street “participation” during his anti-Covid lockdown.
“It will be a guaranteed disaster,” Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker said on Sunday, predicting the Johnson government would collapse within months.
Rishi Sunak, a budget orthodoxy and workaholic defender, appears to be a good choice for them as the country goes through a severe economic and social crisis, exacerbated by the disastrous blunders of Liz Truss, which roiled the markets and led to the book.
Against Mr. Liz Truss’ economic plan. Sunak continued to warn this summer. He did not trust the party militants who elected her to have the last word.
The campaign to replace him will last only a few days.
If Benny Mordant stands down and doesn’t reach 100 nods, Tory MPs will tell the party floor who their favorite is in a provisional vote on Monday afternoon.
Members can vote online till October 28. There was no representative vote this summer, with approximately 140,000 of the party’s voters electing Liz Truss, while delegates preferred Rishi Sunak.
The next Conservative prime minister will be the third in two months and the fifth since 2016.