Rishi Sunak, a British Conservative MP, obtained the required votes to run for party leader late Friday, just as former prime minister Boris Johnson planned an ambitious return.
Following the abrupt departure of Prime Minister Liz Truss, the UK’s governing party was pushed into a second leadership campaign. Cabinet member Penny Mordaunt was the first to register her candidacy publicly.
Tobias Ellwood, a prominent backbencher, tweeted, “Honored to be the 100th Tory MP to endorse #Ready4Rishi,” while other supporters of Sunak claimed he had also reached the milestone.
If Sunak’s opponents cannot get 100 nominations from their fellow Tory MPs, Sunak will automatically become the party leader and prime minister.
After Johnson was overthrown in July, security minister Tom Tugendhat, who also stood for office, made a veiled plea to the disgraced former leader to withdraw from the election.
Tugendhat praised Sunak late on Friday, saying, “This is no time for political games, for settling scores, or for looking backwards.”
Johnson and Sunak have not openly announced their candidacy.
However, Johnson cut short his Caribbean vacation to participate in the hurried election, which would see Tory MPs vote on Monday before potentially holding an online poll for party members the following week.
One of Johnson’s closest parliamentary friends, James Duddridge, claimed to have used WhatsApp to communicate with his former employer.
“We’re going to do this, he said. I’m ready for it “The MP made the statement when a Sky News reporter published a picture purportedly showing Johnson boarding a flight from the Dominican Republic back to the UK.
Although there has been a lot of hate since the previous prime minister’s defenestration, the Sunak and Johnson camps are allegedly seeking negotiations to determine if there is room for a unity agreement.
After Johnson resigned, Mordaunt almost missed making it to the final round of voting. Instead, she said she was running for “a new start, a unified party, and leadership in the national interest.”
However, YouGov, a polling organization, showed that as Britons suffer from a deepening cost-of-living issue, three out of every five respondents now want an early general election following opposition party demands.
According to Labour and other parties, only an election can end the months of political unrest that began when Johnson was ousted as prime minister after a barrage of personal and political scandals.
In the subsequent election, Truss defeated Sunak with the backing of just over 80,000 members of the Tory party, despite Sunak’s accurate predictions that her right-wing policy of debt-fueled tax cuts would cause the collapse of the economy.
Truss resigned on Thursday, barely 44 turbulent days into her term.
– ‘Questions to answer’ –
By late Friday, the political website Guido Fawkes, which keeps track of the proclaimed support of Tory MPs on a running spreadsheet, had Sunak at 103, Johnson at 68, and Mordaunt at 25.
Ben Wallace, the defense secretary and a favorite of the conservative base informed reporters he would not be voting. I’m leaning towards Boris Johnson right now,” he said.
Wallace added that Johnson still had “some questions to answer” about the several scandals, which led to a House of Commons probe that has not yet been launched.
Johnson might be ejected from parliament if found guilty of misleading the Commons over the “Partygate” affair, which included lockdown-violating celebrations hosted in Downing Street.
Johnson departed Number 10 with poor poll numbers as a consequence of these scandals, and other Tories were horrified by the idea of his returning.
Veteran backbencher Roger Gale foresaw a tsunami of resignations from lawmakers who would not follow Johnson as a leader.
– ‘Backstabber’ –
A YouGov survey that indicated 52% of people opposed Johnson’s comeback highlighted his dubious popularity.
Elaine Stones, a 58-year-old farmer in Yorkshire, northern England, which Sunak represents, said that the party erred in choosing Truss over him.
She told AFP, “He’s honest, dependable, and he should have been elected last time.
Sunak was referred to as a “backstabber” who assisted in the ouster of Johnson by retiree Maureen Ward.