Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson He withdrew from the competition to become the next Conservative Party leader and thus the next Prime Minister.
Johnson claimed he had the support of 100 MPs – the minimum required to pass the ballot threshold for Conservative membership – but declined to run, saying “it simply wouldn’t be the right thing to do” as “you can’t effectively govern.” Unless you have a united party in parliament,” according to the Palestinian news agency Media.
His announcement comes after former British finance minister Rishi Sunak officially entered the race to lead the Conservative Party, his second bid for the job this year.
Sunak has already collected the 100 required nominations from Conservative Party members in order to run. Sunak tried to become leader over the summer after Johnson’s resignation, but lost Les Truss who resigned on Thursday.
The run-off between the two men could have been divisive for the ruling Conservative Party, not least because many Johnson supporters blame Sunak’s resignation in July for triggering the downfall of his government. The Conservatives, in power for 12 years, are currently mired in turmoil after both Johnson and Truss resigned.
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Johnson’s potential return to the top job has divided opinions within the Conservative Party, with many lawmakers terrified that Johnson could again take over as prime minister. He resigned in July after a series of scandals.
The former prime minister is expected in the next few weeks to appear before the House of Commons Privileges Committee which is investigating whether he misled Parliament about parties, which could lead to his suspension or expulsion as a Member of Parliament.
Sunak announced on Sunday morning that he will compete. He wrote in a tweet: “The UK is a great country but we are facing a deep economic crisis. That’s why I stand to be your next Tory leader and Prime Minister. I want to fix our economy, unite our party and help our country.”
After Johnson announced on Sunday that he would not seek to become the next Conservative Party leader, Sunak tweeted, “Boris Johnson delivered Brexit and the great vaccine launch. He led our country through some of the toughest challenges we’ve ever faced, then confronted Putin and his barbaric war in Ukraine. We will always be grateful to him for that.”
Sunak will face House of Commons Speaker Penny Mordaunt, who on Sunday said she regretted the so-called “mini-budget” that led to Britain’s economic turmoil and Truss’ resignation.
“I am deeply sorry about the mini-budget… I raised concerns even before I was in government,” Mordant told the BBC in an interview on Sunday, adding that there were details about the budget that “the cabinet was not aware of”.
The last time the Conservatives held a leadership race – after the demise of the Johnson government – Truss came first, Sunak second and Mordaunt third.
Graham Brady, the Conservative official in charge of the process, said any candidate must receive at least 100 nominations from party MPs by 2 p.m. local time on Monday.
Truss resigned on Thursday, just six weeks into her disastrous tenure that plunged Britain into political and economic turmoil. Her successor will be the fifth prime minister to lead the country since it voted for Britain to leave the European Union in 2016.
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Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition Labor Party, renewed his calls for a general election on Sunday, after claiming that people are “tired to their back teeth” of Conservative leadership and the consequences of their government’s decisions.
“There is a choice to be made. We need a general election! Let the public decide…Do they want to continue in this utter chaos, or do they want stability under a Labor government?” asked Starmer during a BBC interview.
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