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Boris Johnson pulls out of UK PM race, Rishi Sunak closer to victory

In a surprise move, former British PM Boris Johnson announced that he will not be contesting the Conservative Party leadership race

Boris Johnson pulls out of UK PM race, Rishi Sunak closer to victory
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NH Web Desk

In a surprise move, former British PM Boris Johnson on Sunday announced that he will not be contesting the Conservative Party leadership race, with frontrunner Rishi Sunak moving a step closer to be elected Britain's first Indian-origin prime minister.

The 55-year-old former leader claimed he had crossed the 100-MPs threshold but decided not to go forward in the interest of Tory party's unity.

In a statement, Johnson who resigned in July in the wake of the 'partygate' scandal of COVID-19 lockdown law-breaking parties said he had "cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations", but came to the conclusion that "this is simply not the right time".

I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds Johnson said. ìI believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.


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, he added.

Johnson, who formally had not announced his candidacy yet, had the public backing of around 59 Tory MPs, including some high-profile cabinet members.

Sunak, who is now seen as a favourite to be the next Prime minister, is still being challenged by Penny Mordaunt, the current leader of the House of Commons.

The two contenders have until 2 p.m. on Monday to get the required 100 endorsements from MPs and there are a total of 357 Conservative MPs in Parliament.

MPs will hold an "indicative" ballot of the final two, with the winner then decided in an online vote of party members, to end on October 28.

According to a tally by the BBC, 155 MPs are backing Sunak and 25 are supporting Mordaunt.

The 54 MPs who had backed Johnson are yet to switch support.

The likelihood of a two-member shortlist by 2 PM local time Monday deadline is now almost certain. If the party MPs unite behind a single candidate, expected to be frontrunner Sunak, he will be declared the Tory leader and prime minister by Monday evening.

However, if there are two candidates, the Tory membership will get an online vote and the successor to Liz Truss will be declared on Friday.

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