Former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been named as the country’s next Prime Minister after Boris Johnson strongly withdrew from the race for the Conservative Party leadership.
Incumbent Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned last week after six weeks in office. Conservative leader Graham Brady said a new prime minister would be appointed by Friday.
Candidates to replace Truce have until 2 p.m. (9 a.m. ET) on Monday to win the endorsement of 100 Conservative lawmakers to enter the race to become the new leader of the party and the country.
Johnson’s withdrawal leaves Sunak, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the running against House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt.
If both candidates get the support of 100 MPs, around 172,000 Conservative Party members will vote online to choose their new leader.
As of Monday morning, Sunak was the only one of the pair to pass the 100-nomination threshold.
If Sunak remains the only person to reach this number of supporters, he will automatically become the new leader of the Conservative Party. The party’s parliamentary majority ensures that he becomes the next prime minister.
After days of speculation, Sunak officially announced her candidacy on Sunday, writing on Twitter: “Britain is a great country but we are facing a deep economic crisis. That’s why I’m standing to be leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister. Fix the economy. , I want to unite the party and work for the country.
“There will be integrity, professionalism and accountability in every level of government I lead, and I will work around the clock to get the job done.”
Many of Johnson’s supporters accused Sunak of helping to oust Johnson from power in July over a series of scandals, but the former prime minister paid tribute to him on Sunday night after he withdrew from the race.
“Boris Johnson led to Brexit and the introduction of vaccines. He led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced and then took on Putin and his savage war in Ukraine. For that we will always be grateful,” Sunak tweeted. I really hope that even if he decides not to run for Prime Minister again, he will continue to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”
In announcing his withdrawal from the race, Johnson said he had nominated 102 lawmakers, despite a much smaller number of lawmakers who had publicly announced their support. And after he failed to convince Sunak and Truss to support his return, he ran them over.
“There is a very good chance that I, along with the Conservatives, will be successful in the election and return to Downing Street on Friday,” Johnson said. “But in recent days I have come to the conclusion that, unfortunately, this is not the right thing to do. “Unless there is a united party in the parliament, we cannot govern effectively.”
“Though I approached both Rishi (Sunak) and Penny (Mordaunt) hoping that we could come together in the national interest, unfortunately we could not find a way to do that,” he added. . “So I’m afraid the best thing would be to not let my nomination go ahead, and I’ll support whoever succeeds. I believe I have a lot to offer, but I’m afraid it’s just not the right time.”
Mordaunt was the first to announce his candidacy on Friday. He promised a “new start” for Britain, aiming to “unite our country, deliver on our promises and win the next general election”. He also works under the catchy hashtag ‘PM4PM’.
He also praised Johnson for his decision to withdraw from the race, saying the former prime minister “puts country before party and party before himself.”
“He worked to secure his mandate and the majority we now enjoy. We must use it well, and I know he will work with us to do so,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mordaunt came third in the last leadership election and narrowly missed out on going before members. Having received 105 votes from members of the Parliament in the last election, he crossed the new threshold and has a good position among the members of his party, partly due to his military ID. Mordaunt was in the Royal Navy and briefly served as Secretary of State for Defence.
The Conservatives last held a leadership contest after the fall of the Johnson government, with Truss first, Sunak second and Mordaunt third. Johnson did not run.
Opposition Labor leader Keir Starmer renewed his call for a general election on Sunday after saying people were “fed up” with the Conservative leadership and the consequences of his government’s decisions.
“It is necessary to make a choice. We need a general election! Let the public decide… Do they want this chaos to continue, or do they want the stability of a Labor government?” Starmer asked in an interview with the BBC.