Boris Johnson drops out of the race leaving Rishi Sunak as the clear favorite


LONDON (AP) — Boris Johnson, after campaigning hard to return, abruptly dropped out of the race to return as British prime minister on Sunday, saying it was in the national interest to withdraw from leadership aspirations — for now.

The dramatic development makes Rishi Sunak, the former finance minister who is gaining ground in the race, the firm favourite.

Sunak would be the first black leader to lead the government of Great Britain and the first of Indian descent.

His wife is the daughter of the founder of Infosys, who is a billionaire in India. The couple are among the wealthiest in Britain; Sunak is a Stanford graduate and a former Goldman Sachs employee. He is a centrist on economics, promising to balance the books and pay attention to the Bank of England and the bond market.

yesUnak was also partly responsible for Johnson’s ouster as prime minister.

He left Johnson’s cabinet when his government fell apart over the summer. Sunak was also prescient, saying that the economic plan of Johnson’s replacement, Liz Truss, was based on a “fantasy” economy. Truss was an ardent supporter of tax cuts and the supply side that lasted just six weeks after that plan caused massive disruption to the British economy.

In a statement, Johnson said he had enough support to proceed to a vote among Conservative Party lawmakers on Monday. That claim was not supported by lawmakers’ tallies from the BBC and The Guardian, which failed to show Johnson reaching the 100-vote hurdle from the 357 Conservative members in the House of Commons.

Johnson said: “I think I have a lot to offer, but I’m afraid it’s just not the right time.”

Johnson said that he had approached his competitors Sunak and the leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, to reach some kind of agreement, Johnson does not specify what kind of agreement, “because he hoped that we could come together in the national interest, unfortunately we have not been able to find a way to do this.”

He seemed to blame them for his withdrawal.

“There is a very good chance that he will be successful in the election with members of the Conservative Party, and that he may indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday,” Johnson said.

“But over the course of the last few days, sadly, I have come to the conclusion that this simply would not be the right thing to do. You cannot govern effectively unless there is a united party in parliament,” he said.

Mordaunt is still in the running, but falls far behind with just 25 declared supporters. Sunak is 155. Mordaunt hopes to win the support of undeclared voters and Johnson supporters, but some of them have already said they will back Sunak.

Sunak reacted to the news that Johnson had retired, tweeting, “I really hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”

In what could be read as a plea to Johnson’s supporters, he said: “Boris Johnson delivered Brexit and the big vaccine launch. He led our country through some of the most difficult challenges we have ever faced, and then he took on Putin and his barbaric war in Ukraine. We will always be grateful to him for that.”

The problem for Johnson, the former mop-head leader ousted in July, was this: Many of his fellow Conservative Party lawmakers, along with so-called Tory bigs and once-friendly tabloid hackers, thought his return to the power would mean a “disaster”. ”

Even some of Johnson’s closest allies were wary. “Go back to the beach”, your old Brexit partner David Davis said.

“It is part of the strange political genius of Boris Johnson that should be considered for an encore,” wrote Charles Moore, his former boss and Telegraph columnist, who warned: “True Boris fans will have the courage to tell him to sit this one out.

Had Johnson returned to power, it would have been like a wounded prime minister.

I simply had too much baggage to make a clean start.

People have seen the movie, which ended when scandal-ridden Johnson was forced to resign in July after more than 50 ministers and advisers resigned, calling him unfit to lead.

The sequel, or “Johnson 2.0” as the British press called it, would not have escaped the original’s plot points.

For starters, he was still facing a dangerous inquiry in Parliament into whether he lied to lawmakers about the coronavirus lockdown parties at 10 Downing Street. This is a serious charge, one that could get him censured or worse, and he would likely be in the headlines for months, a constant reminder of his ouster as party leader and prime minister in July.

Boris Johnson blames ‘the herd’ and resigns to make way for the new UK leader

liz truss resigned as prime minister on October 20 after six chaotic weeks in office. As Conservative lawmakers prepared to vote Monday on who leads their party and thus who governs Britain, surrogates for Johnson and his main rival, former finance minister Sunak, squabbled on morning talk shows, the gossipy Westminster Whatsapp groups and rounds of phone calls and arm twisting.

Older, wealthier and 97 percent white members tend to veer to the right of the party, with polls showing many favoring Johnson over Sunak. But that could have changed.

Once their hero, many say Johnson has let his members down. They may have missed it, which pollsters saw as “Boris nostalgia”, but did they want to see the next episode?

Rishi Sunak officially joins the race to be UK Prime Minister

Boris Johnson could run again. He is still under investigation.

Johnson was once very popular. He today he is enormously divisive, even in his own party. Outside the party? The general public can’t stand it, according to polls. His popularity has plummeted.

William Hague, a prominent Tory who was once leader of the party, said that Johnson’s return to power was “the worst idea I have heard in the 46 years I have been a member of the Conservative Party” and would send the party into a “spiral”. of death”.

Steve Baker, the Northern Ireland minister and an influential figure among the party’s right-wingers, said Johnson would be a “guaranteed disaster” who was “destined to implode”.

For Sunak came the former Minister of the Interior Suella Braverman, also from the right of the party. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she said that while she previously backed Johnson “we are now in dire straits. We need unity, stability and efficiency. Rishi is the only candidate who fits the bill perfectly.”

In backing Sunak, lawmakers use words and phrases like “stability” and “competition,” the right man for the economic challenges ahead.

Johnson’s backers said he “has learned from his mistakes” and “is sorry.”

Nadhim Zahawi, a former prime minister in the Johnson administration, tweeted: “A day is a long time in politics…” Indeed, it was. Earlier in the day, he wrote that he was backing Johnson, saying he had “got the big decisions right” and that “Britain needs him back.” But he quickly shifted gears after hearing his old boss was pulling out of the race and said it was time for the party to gather behind the “immensely talented” Sunak.

Keir Starmer, the Labor leader, reiterated his call for a general election. “The country needs to get rid of this chaos,” he told the BBC.

Most Britons say they want a general election, although that is not required until January 2025. An election can be called sooner, but would require the support of Conservative lawmakers, which seems unlikely given the party faces a almost elimination if elections were held today. A petition Calling for a general election “to end the chaos of the current government” has quickly amassed more than 850,000 signatures.

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