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Rishi Sunak could be crowned next Prime Minister tomorrow after Boris Johnson QUITS leadership race

Rishi Sunak appears set to become the new Prime Minister tomorrow after Boris Johnson sensationally dropped out of the Tory leadership race this evening – with rival Penny Mordaunt short of the 100 backers threshold.

The former Chancellor, who officially launched his campaign this morning, had more than double the number of publicly-declared supporters than Mr Johnson.

As of this evening, 228 out of 357 Tory MPs have gone public with their support. Mr Sunak is understood to have 147 backers, while Mr Johnson had the support of 57 MPs and Penny Mordaunt just 24. 

Mr Johnson, though, has claimed he in fact reached the ‘very high hurdle of 102 nominations’, but tonight bowed out of the race because it is ‘simply not the right thing to do’.

He said: ‘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.

‘It is simply not the right thing to do’: Boris Johnson bows out of race to return as PM 

In statement this evening, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed he was bowing out of the race because it is ‘simply not the right thing to do’, despite claiming he had cleared the ‘very high hurdle of 102 nominations’.

He said: ‘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 and Penny – 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.’ 

‘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 and Penny – 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.’

It comes after Boris Johnson unsuccessfully reached out to his two main rivals in an attempt to make a pact. However the pair both turned down an alliance, with Penny saying ‘I’m in it to win it’. 

Ms Mordaunt, now Mr Sunak’s only rival in the leadership bid, was claimed to have rebuffed attempts from the former Prime Minister to get her to drop out in a phone call.

She is reported to have told Mr Johnson that the majority of her supporters were more likely to have switched to Team Sunak, rather than backing his return to the premiership.

It also means Ms Mordaunt is likely to be short of the 100 backers needed to remain in contention. 

It comes as Mr Sunak appeared to be surging further ahead in the contest today as he moved near to 150 Tory MPs publicly supporting him today.

His leadership bid was further bolstered by the backing of former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who is popular on the Tory Right, and her close ally Steve Baker.

Grant Shapps, who replaced Ms Braverman as Home Secretary following her resignation this week, and Work and Pensions Secretary Chloe Smith also gave their support to Mr Sunak. 

And Armed Forces and Veterans Secretary James Heappey also this evening tweeted his support, saying: ‘I’ve been agonising all weekend knowing that our choice as next PM must bring together our divided party and restore stability to our Government. 

‘All wings of our party will need to work together after contest to achieve that but I’m supporting Rishi Sunak to lead us in doing so.’  

Following Mr Johnson’s decision this evening, one jubilant Rishi Sunak-backing MP told MailOnline: ‘I’ve known him since 1995: he never changes. He’s too thin skinned to be brave.’

Another Cabinet source said the ‘writing was on the wall’ for the ex-PM after a day of bluster.

Rishi Sunak appears set to become the new Prime Minister tomorrow after Boris Johnson sensationally dropped out of the Tory leadership race this evening

Rishi Sunak appears set to become the new Prime Minister tomorrow after Boris Johnson sensationally dropped out of the Tory leadership race this evening

Mr Johnson earlier claimed'Boris 2.0' had'learned from those mistakes' he made during his first spell in No10 and would lead the Tories to'victory and prosperity'

Mr Johnson earlier claimed ‘Boris 2.0’ had ‘learned from those mistakes’ he made during his first spell in No10 and would lead the Tories to ‘victory and prosperity’

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Now only Ms Mordaunt now stands in the way of Mr Sunak's leadership bid.'I’m in this to win it,' the Leader of the House of Commons earlier declared

Now only Ms Mordaunt now stands in the way of Mr Sunak’s leadership bid. ‘I’m in this to win it,’ the Leader of the House of Commons earlier declared

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Mr Sunak officially launched his PM bid in a Twitter post, as he promised to'fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country'

Mr Sunak officially launched his PM bid in a Twitter post, as he promised to ‘fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country’

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Tory leadership race timeline  

Monday: Nominations for the race close, candidates making it through must have at least 100 Tory MPs backing them

Monday 3.30 pm: First round of voting (if more than one candidate gets through)

Monday 6pm: Result of first vote announced. If three make it through, the candidate with the fewest votes is be knocked out 

Monday 6.30pm: ‘Indicative’ ballot held if two candidates are left, one may drop out

Tuesday-Friday: If two candidates make it through, Conservative Party members have the chance to vote online

Friday: The final vote closes and Britain’s new Prime Minister is announced 

WhatsApp messages sent to supporters of the former PM are understood to have confirmed that ‘all the paperwork’ has been completed to ensure he will appear on the ballot to replace the outgoing Liz Truss.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Northern Ireland Secretary, wrote: ‘OK everyone! Some very good news!. Thanks to all your hard work I can confirm we have completed all the paperwork (verified all nominations, with proposer and seconder) to be on the ballot tomorrow.

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! More to follow, but thank you!!!!’ 

The message, seen by the Sun and Bloomberg, came despite Mr Johnson only having had 57 publicly-declared backers.

Candidates need 100 nominations from Tory MPs by 2pm tomorrow if they are to remain in contention ahead of a final poll of party members.

Mr Johnson loyalist Michael Fabricant also joined claims his support has met the threshold, adding: ‘Boris WILL go to the membership. He has exceeded the 100 certified supporters.’

But fellow Tory MP Richard Holden questioned the claims, tweeting: ‘Very odd to brief this out again… (2 days in a row) It’s what they briefed yesterday.

‘What a strange thing to do… Wonder why you’d do it… It’s almost as if they still need people and are desperate to show momentum, which they can’t because no-one will publicly come out.’

Mr Sunak, meanwhile, has vowed to ‘work day in and day out to get the job done’ as as the UK faces a ‘profound economic crisis’.

He has also promised to lead a Government with ‘integrity, professionalism and accountability’ if he is confirmed as the new PM tomorrow.

It comes after Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak met at 8pm last night, where the ex-PM is said to have told his former Chancellor that – if he re-entered No10 with Mr Sunak in a senior role – it would avoid a divisive battle.

But it was subsequently claimed this morning that no agreement had been struck between the pair following negotiations that last around three hours.

Mr Johnson earlier claimed ‘Boris 2.0’ had ‘learned from those mistakes’ he made during his first spell in No10 and would lead the Tories to ‘victory and prosperity’. 

Allies revealed a ‘smartly dressed’ Mr Johnson was on ‘good form’ as he ploughed on with his comeback bid this morning in a meeting with supporters. 

His hopes of a return also gained further traction today when Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, both declared their support.

But Mr Johnson suffered a blow when prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker gave his support to Mr Sunak and warned Tory MPs against putting the former premier back in Downing Street.

The Northern Ireland minister, who backed Ms Truss over Mr Sunak in this summer’s leadership contest, claimed a Boris comeback would be a ‘guaranteed disaster’.

‘This isn’t the time for Boris and his style,’ Mr Baker told Sky News, as he claimed the parliamentary Partygate probe hanging over Mr Johnson’s head would see his premiership ‘implode’.

He warned a ‘large number’ of Tories would refuse to ‘lay down their integrity to save’ Mr Johnson in a House of Commons vote over whether he misled MPs on Covid rule-breaking in No10, which is being investigated by the Privileges Committee.

Now only Ms Mordaunt now stands in the way of Mr Sunak’s leadership bid. ‘I’m in this to win it,’ the Leader of the House of Commons earlier declared.

But her determined statement comes amid signs she is struggling to win backers, remaining short of the threshold needed despite Mr Johnson’s absence.

‘I’m standing to be prime minister. I am not contemplating how the other camps are organising themselves,’ she told the BBC.

‘I’m in this to win it. I think it’s important for our party, we have a contest. I am very confident about our numbers.’

However, she refused to say who she would put her support behind if she fails to meet the threshold of 100 backers to formally enter the contest.

Rishi Sunak's campaign received a major boost when prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker gave his support to the former Chancellor

Rishi Sunak’s campaign received a major boost when prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker gave his support to the former Chancellor

Meanwhile, Mr Sunak officially confirmed his candidacy in a Twitter post this morning, as he promised to ‘fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country’.

He wrote: ‘I served as your Chancellor, helping to steer our economy through the toughest of times.

‘The challenges we face now are even greater. But the opportunities, if we make the right choice, are phenomenal.

‘I have the track record of delivery, a clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face and I will deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto.

‘There will be integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level of the government I lead and I will work day in and day out to get the job done.

‘I am asking you for the opportunity to help fix our problems. To lead our party and country forwards towards the next general election, confident in our record, firm in our convictions and ready to lead again.’

Mrs Braverman, who dramatically quit as Home Secretary the day before Ms Truss’s premiership collapsed, backed Mr Sunak as ‘a leader who will put our house in order and apply a steady, careful hand on the tiller’.

She wrote in the Telegraph: ‘I have backed Boris from the start. From running alongside him in London in 2012, to supporting him to be our leader in 2019 and willing him to succeed throughout the travails of this year. His resignation in July was a loss for our country.

‘But we are in dire straits now. We need unity, stability and efficiency. Rishi is the only candidate that fits the bill and I am proud to support him.’

And Mr Shapps added: ‘We need someone who can provide stability and proven economic competence in these challenging times, and Rishi Sunak is that person.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11346057/Rishi-Sunak-crowned-Prime-Minister-tomorrow-Boris-Johnson-QUITS-leadership-race.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Rishi Sunak could be crowned next Prime Minister tomorrow after Boris Johnson QUITS leadership race

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