(NewsRadio); Rishi Sunak looks set to become UK’s next Prime Minister after former Premier Boris Johnson ended his bid in a surprise decision.
The other contender, Penny Mordaunt, is way off securing the crucial number required to contest to replace outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss.
If Penny Mordaunt fails to garner the support of 100 MPs by 2pm local time today, Rishi Sunak would automatically become the Prime Minister.
Sunak has the support of 142 members of Parliament – far above the 100-mark required to bag the top job.
The Tory MP made the renewed attempt to contest for the post yesterday, just weeks after losing to Liz Truss in the summer leadership contest.
The Indian-origin former UK chancellor said in a short statement confirming his widely expected candidacy, “I want to fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country.”
Boris Johnson, who cut short a holiday in the Caribbean to try and secure the backing of 100 lawmakers to enter today’s contest, pulled out in a surprise move yesterday, saying he would not be able to lead “a united party in parliament”.
Johnson, 58, said that although he could have been “back in Downing Street”, but that he had failed to persuade either Sunak, or Penny Mordaunt, to come together “in the national interest”.
He said, “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”
Shortly after the announcement, Sunak put out a tweet praising for the leadership of his former boss for leading the country through some of the toughest challenges including Brexit, COVID vaccine rollout and the war in Ukraine.
He added, “Although he has decided not to run for PM again, I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”
Johnson’s exit leaves Penny Mordaunt as the only challenger to Rishi Sunak but she is way off securing 100 backers.
Mordaunt, who entered the race on Friday, reportedly has the support of 29 MPs.
Before his recent political success as the UK Chancellor, Sunak has been better known through his wife, Akshata Murty, the daughter of the billionaire co-founder of Infosys Narayana Murthy.