Johnson has decided not to run for the leadership of the Conservative party, opening the door for Rishi Sunak, his former chancellor and the front-runner in the race, to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
In a statement that was made public on Sunday evening, Boris Johnson claimed that he had overcome “the very elevated hurdle of 102 nominations” from members of parliament, that he could “indeed be home in Downing St. on Friday,” and that he would be “well placed” to lead his party to victory in the general election of 2024. Johnson made these claims in the context of announcing that the statement would be made public.
“However, over the period of the last several days, I have reluctantly arrived at the realization that this would just not be the best course of action to take. Johnson said that in order to lead successfully, you need to have a party that is cohesive across parliament.
He said that he had made contact with both of the current contenders for the leadership position, namely his ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak & his former defense secretary Penny Mordaunt, in the hopes that they might “come together in the good of the country.” On the other hand, as the previous head of state indicated, “a manner of achieving this” has not yet been discovered.
He made the announcement, “Therefore, I am sure the best part is that I really do not allow my candidacy to go ahead and offer my support to whoever wins,” saying that “I am afraid the greatest part is that I do not let the nomination to go forward.”
The remark that Johnson made was made on the same day that some of the long-time supporters, such as Suella Braverman, who had previously worked in his cabinet as an Attorney General, supported Sunak.
On Monday at 2:00 p.m., the cutoff time for joining the competition for the leadership of the Conservative Party will have passed. In the current race, Sunak is in the lead with more than 140 people who have declared their support for him, whereas Penny Mordaunt has now over 20 endorsements.
In the event that Mordaunt or another contender exceeds the threshold of 100 votes, the race will proceed to a vote by electronic ballot among members of the Conservative Party. If Sunak is the sole candidate who is able to meet the requirement, then his status as the new Prime Minister will be decided upon on Monday.
Many MPs of the Conservative party are expected to express their dissatisfaction with Johnson’s decision to withdraw from the contest for prime minister. In spite of the string of scandals including cabinet resignations that finally led to Johnson’s removal as prime minister, a recent poll conducted by YouGov found that 32 percent of respondents would want to see him return to the position of leader of the country.
Only 23% of the 530 Conservative respondents in the survey expressed their support for Sunak, which is a huge gap when compared to the popularity of his previous employer.