- Jasmine Anderson
- BBC News
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulled out of the government leadership race on Sunday, saying he had the support he needed but “it’s not the right thing to do.”
Johnson’s return has been the subject of speculation in recent days, although the politician has not officially announced it.
Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of Johnson’s most loyal supporters, launched a social media campaign to get him back in Downing Street, the British prime minister’s home and office. Dozens of Conservative MPs later publicly voiced their support.
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Speaker of the House of Commons, Benny MordantThey are still arguing.
In a statement, Johnson said there was a “very good chance” he would have won “back in Downing Street”.
Johnson confirmed that he was inspired by the competition, but that he had to prioritize unity. Conservative PartyWhat does it belong to?
“I led our party to a resounding electoral victory three years ago, so I think I am now in a unique position to avoid a general election,” he said.
“I believe I am in a good position to achieve a Conservative victory in 2024 and can confirm tonight that I have cleared the highest hurdle of 102 nominations, including one supporter and one second. I can file nomination tomorrow“, he continued.
“There is every chance that I will win the election with members of the Conservative Party and I can be back in Downing Street on Friday. But over the last few days, unfortunately, I have come to that conclusion. It won’t be right.”
“You cannot govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”
Johnson announced that he contacted both Sunak and Mordant because he believed the three could come together “for the national good”. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way to do that,” he said.
“That’s why I’m afraid the best thing to do is not to let my candidacy go ahead, and I pledge my support to whoever wins.”
“I think I have a lot to offer, but I’m afraid it’s not the right time,” he concluded.
Johnson is under investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Committee, which could, in theory, lead to him being suspended from parliament or expelled as an MP.
Sunak, the favorite candidate
Although Sunak remains the favourite, sources close to the former foreign minister said they are “taking nothing for granted”.
“Rishi will continue to talk to his colleagues ahead of the nomination tomorrow (Monday) morning and discuss how to unite the party and move the country forward,” a source told the BBC.
Sunak has the support of 153 MPs and Mordant 25, according to the BBC’s tally from public reports.
Candidates need the approval of at least 100 members of parliament to advance to the ballot.
Nominations close this Monday at 2:00 PM local time (1300 GMT).
The election within the Conservative Party for a new Prime Minister in the United Kingdom follows the resignation last Thursday of Liz Truss, who assumed the leadership of the government on September 6.
Truss resigned after being forced to abandon much of his political platform to spook the financial markets.
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