London: If reports in the media are to be believed, Boris Johnson on Monday declared himself out of the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister race and leader of the Conservative Party, claiming he has enough support but has decided it is not the proper thing to do,
The former prime minister released a statement on Sunday night in which he said: “In the last few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have suggested that I should once again run for the leadership of the Conservative Party, both among the public and among friends and colleagues in Parliament. I was drawn in because I helped our party win a sizable election victory less than three years ago, and I think I’m in a unique position to prevent a general election right now.
“A general election would be a further disastrous distraction just when the government must focus on the economic pressures faced by families across the country. I believe I am well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024, and tonight I can confirm that I have cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations, including a proposer and a seconder, and I could put my nomination in tomorrow.
“There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members, and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday. But in the course of the last few days, I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do. You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.
“And though I have reached out to both Rishi (Sunak) and Penny (Mordaunt) – 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. Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds. I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”
In response to Johnson’s decision, Rishi Sunak, the front-runner in the campaign, openly complimented the former leader for his accomplishments while in Downing Street.
Sunak stated in a series of tweets early on Monday morning: “Boris Johnson delivered Brexit and the great vaccine roll-out. He led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced, and then took on Putin and his barbaric war in Ukraine.”
“We will always be grateful to him for that. Although he has decided not to run for PM again, I truly hope he continues to contribute to public life at home and abroad.”
1/ Boris Johnson delivered Brexit and the great vaccine roll-out.
He led our country through some of the toughest challenges we have ever faced, and then took on Putin and his barbaric war in Ukraine.
We will always be grateful to him for that.
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022
The current leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, continues to challenge Sunak, who is currently viewed as the front-runner to become the next Prime Minister.
There are 357 Conservative MPs in all in Parliament, and the two candidates have until Monday at 2 PM to secure the necessary 100 endorsements.
The last two candidates will be the subject of an “indicative” vote by MPs, and on October 28 party members will cast an online poll to choose the winner.
Sunak has the support of 155 MPs, while Mordaunt has the support of 25, according to a BBC count.
The 54 MPs who supported Johnson have not yet changed their stance.