Sunak leads in race for British PM, with Johnson yet to declare

Former British treasurer Rishi Sunak came second in the Conservative Party race to replace Liz Truss as prime minister, as he garnered the public support of more than 100 Tory lawmakers to get ahead of two his main rival – former prime minister Boris Johnson was ousted. and former cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt.

But widespread uncertainty remained after British media reported that Sunak held late-night talks with Johnson on Saturday and speculation the pair could strike a deal to unify the party. power was fractured after it was reeled from the rapid downfall of Truss.

The Conservatives hastily ordered a contest to finalize nominations on Monday and appoint a new prime minister – third place this year – within a week.

Sunak, 42, confirmed Sunday that he is running in the lead race. He has the backing of at least 124 Conservative lawmakers, according to BBC and Sky News unofficial terms. This number far exceeds the 100 nominations required to qualify.

“There will be integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level of government I lead, and I will work day in and day out to get the job done,” Sunak said in a statement.

Mordaunt has attracted about 24 legislators, while Johnson, who has not yet announced whether he will run, has about 50 so far. Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC Sunday that he had spoken to Johnson and that it was “obvious that he would stand” after Johnson flew back to London on Saturday from holiday in the Dominican Republic.

Johnson is under investigation

The possibility of a return to power for 58-year-old Johnson, who was forced out of office just weeks ago by a series of ethics scandals, has deeply divided the Conservative Party and made the race a no-brainer. predictable. Supporters say he won the vote and has enough support from lawmakers, but many critics warn that another Johnson government would be disastrous for the party and the country. .

Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker, a former Johnson supporter and influential politician in the Conservative Party, warned Johnson’s return would be a “guaranteed disaster” as he still faces a The investigation into whether he lied to Congress while in office could lead to his suspension as a lawmaker.

A 9NEWS reporter holds a copy of The Sun newspaper, with Johnson on the cover, outside 10 Downing Street in London on Friday. (Henry Nicholls / Reuters)

“This is not the time for Boris and his style,” Baker told Sky News on Sunday. “What we can’t do is let him be prime minister in cases where he absolutely has to destroy, bring down entire governments … and we can’t do that again.”

But Johnson has won the support of several senior Conservatives, including Nadhim Zahawi, another former Treasurer.

“He wrote and was honest about his mistakes. He learned from those mistakes how he can run No 10 and the country better,” Zahawi said.

Sunak warns about Truss .’s tax plan

Truss quit her job on Thursday after 45 tumultuous days, admitting she was unable to deliver on the tax-cut economic package she was forced to abandon after it sparked fury within her party and weeks. turmoil in financial markets.

Sunak, who serves as Treasurer from 2020 until this summer, has boosted Britain’s faltering economy through the coronavirus pandemic. He quit his job in July to protest Johnson’s leadership. In the competition to replace Johnson, Sunak argued that escalating inflation must first be brought under control, and called promises made by Truss and others to immediately cut taxes a “fairy tale.” .

Sunak left his home in London on Saturday. (Maja Smiejkowska / Reuters)

Tory voters favored Truss over Sunak, but he was proven right when Truss’s unfinished tax-cut stimulus package caused market turmoil in September.

Dozens of Britain’s 357 Conservative lawmakers have yet to make public who they support to replace Truss.

Mordaunt and Johnson – if he confirms he is running – have until Monday afternoon to collect 100 nominations. If all three meet that threshold, lawmakers will vote to remove one and then hold a nomination vote for the final two. The party’s 172,000 members will then decide between the two finalists in an online vote. The new leader will be chosen on Friday.


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