ENGLAND, October 23, 2022–former Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pulled out of the Conservative leadership race. Johnson did not have the majority votes to go on the ballot.
His withdrawal leaves the path open for Rishi Sunak, who has a chance of picking up the keys to Downing Street as early as today.
The former prime minister had the public backing of 59 Tory MPs – far short of the 100 required to be included on the ballot.
Mr. Sunak has more than 150 backers, a significant lead over Penny Mordaunt, who has 25.
We’ll find out at 2pm who has made it on to the ballot – and if Mr Sunak is the only one to reach this threshold, he will automatically become the UK’s third prime minister this year.
In his statement, Johnson said he had “cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations”, but came to the conclusion that “this is simply not the right time”.
Johnson added that although he was “attracted” to run because of the support from his colleagues, “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament”.
In response, Mr Sunak tweeted: “Although he has decided not to run for PM again, I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”
In another tweet, Sunak said “The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.” He added “That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.” Sunak said on Twitter, “I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country.
The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022
That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.
I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country. pic.twitter.com/BppG9CytAK
One of Mr Johnson’s key allies told Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby that he had said he thinks two-thirds of the party are against him and that he would be unable to govern like Liz Truss.
Another ally said the anti-Johnson coalition in parliament is “very loud” and “very motivated”.
The first Johnson backer to publicly switch to Mr Sunak was Nadhim Zahawi, the former chancellor, who tweeted “a day is a long time in politics”.
He had only endorsed Mr Johnson on Sunday morning.
On Sunday, several long-time allies of Mr Johnson – including Suella Braverman and Steve Baker – threw their support behind Mr Sunak.
Mr Baker, the former head of backbench Brexiteers, had warned Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday that a potential comeback by Mr Johnson would be a “guaranteed disaster”.
Source: Sky News wrote the original article. Bee News Daily contributed.