Boris Johnson has dramatically pulled out the race for 10 Downing Road after admitting he can not unite the warring Conservative Celebration.
However Penny Mordaunt – Rishi Sunak’s solely remaining rival within the race to change into the following prime minister – signalled she wouldn’t withdraw from the method.
Mr Johnson had the general public assist of 59 MPs however required 100 to proceed within the contest.
The race is now extensive open for Mr Sunak, the previous chancellor, who has greater than 140 Tory MPs backing him. Ms Mordaunt lags behind with the general public assist of 26.
Mr Johnson mentioned he had “reached out” to management rivals Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt to see if they may work collectively within the nationwide curiosity, nevertheless it had not proved attainable.
In a press release, he insisted he had secured the 100 nominations wanted to get onto the poll paper – and that if he stood there was a “excellent likelihood” he can be again in Downing Road by the tip of the week.
He went on: “However in the midst of the final days I’ve sadly come to the conclusion that this could merely not be the appropriate factor to do. You possibly can’t govern successfully except you might have a united occasion in Parliament.
“And although I’ve reached out to each Rishi and Penny – as a result of I hoped that we might come collectively within the nationwide curiosity – we have now sadly not been capable of work out a method of doing this.
“Due to this fact I’m afraid the very best factor is that I don’t enable my nomination to go ahead and commit my assist to whoever succeeds.”
Whereas Mr Sunak is now the clear favorite, a supply from Penny Mordaunt’s marketing campaign mentioned: she was “nonetheless operating” for chief.
“Penny is the unifying candidate who’s almost definitely to maintain the wings of the Conservative Celebration collectively and polling reveals that she is the almost definitely candidate to carry onto the seats the Conservative Celebration gained in 2019,” they mentioned.
“Ed Balls, shadow cupboard ministers and Labour advisers have all mentioned Penny is the candidate Keir Starmer fears most.”
Mr Sunak mentioned he would at all times be “grateful” to Mr Johnson over Brexit, the vaccine rollout and the response to Vladimir Putin’s warfare in Ukraine, including: “Though he has determined to not run for PM once more, I really hope he continues to contribute to public life at dwelling and overseas.”
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