Boris Johnson pulls out of No10 race
Boris Johnson has pulled out of the Tory leadership race, saying he had the support of more than 100 but it would not be “the right thing to do.”
Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt remain in the contest – with Sunak way ahead.
The leadership race began on Thursday following Liz Truss’s resignation after just 44 days on the job.
Nominations for the ballot close on Monday at 14:00 and candidates need the support of at least 100 Tory MPs to go forward.
Rishi Sunak is miles ahead in the race and he could be declared PM as early as Monday afternoon and there will definitely be a new PM by the end of the week.
Boris Johnson statement in full
“In the last few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who suggested that I should once again contest the Conservative Party leadership, both among the public and among friends and colleagues in Parliament. I have been attracted because I led our party into a massive election victory less than three years ago – and I believe I am therefore uniquely placed to avert a general election now.
“A general election would be a further disastrous distraction just when the Government must focus on the economic pressures faced by families across the country. I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024 – and tonight I can confirm that I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and a seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow.
“There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members – and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday. But in the course of the last days I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do. You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.
“And though I have reached out to both Rishi (Sunak) and Penny (Mordaunt) – because I hoped that we could come together in the national interest – we have sadly not been able to work out a way of doing this. Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds.
“I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”Boris Johnson
Race to No10: Who’s switched camps so far?
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has endorsed Rishi Sunak to be Britain’s next prime minister
“To restore stability and confidence, we need a leader who can be trusted to make difficult choices. We have a leader who can do just that in Rishi Sunak.” Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
As Boris Johnson withdraws from the Tory leadership race, here are the MPs who first backed Boris Johnson but are now supporting Rishi Sunak:
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has endorsed Rishi Sunak to be Britain’s next prime minister, in a piece in the Telegraph, comparing him to Winston Churchill in his willingness to speak the truth.
‘In the summer, Rishi warned that unfunded tax cuts would not be sustainable. He refused to tell people what they wanted to hear, even though he knew that could cost him the chance to be prime minister. Sadly, he has been proved right.‘
Nadhim Zahawi, MP, said: “Rishi is immensely talented, will command a strong majority in the parliamentary Conservative Party, and will have my full support and loyalty.”
David Morris and Shailesh Vara also joined the former Chancellors’ camp, putting him firmly in pole position.
So far only one Conservative MPO has switched allegiance from Borish Johnson to Penny Mordaunt. Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield, said:
“I am deeply disappointed that Boris has chosen not to stand. I shall now nominate [Penny Mordaunt] to let the members of our great party decide who should be our leader and next prime minister.”Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield
It is being highly speculated that Penny Mordaunt will concede the race and throw in the towel, firmly putting Rishi Sunak is favourite – as the new Prime Minister of the UK.