Tory Leadership: Kemi Badenoch Backs Rishi Sunak To Be The Next PM - 9japarrot


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Saturday 22 October 2022

Tory Leadership: Kemi Badenoch Backs Rishi Sunak To Be The Next PM

Kemi Badenoch has ruled herself out of the race to be the next prime minister, throwing her weight behind Rishi Sunak.

Ms Badenoch - who made a big impact in the last Tory leadership contest - said in The Times that Mr Sunak was "the serious, honest leader we need".

The international trade secretary joins a growing list of Sunak backers, even though the ex-chancellor has yet to officially declare he is standing.

Former prime minister Boris Johnson is also gaining supporters.

But claims by his campaign team that he had reached the threshold of 100 MPs needed to secure place in the first round of voting were met with scepticism by Mr Sunak's supporters.

They have challenged the Johnson camp to release a list of names, as the number of MPs to have gone on the record as backing the ex-PM is considerably smaller.

The BBC understands Mr Sunak and Mr Johnson were due to meet face-to-face earlier on Saturday. It was postponed for reasons that are not clear, but may still go ahead later. Neither side is commenting on what is to be discussed, although there is speculation they will seek to avoid a potentially damaging contest.

Only Penny Mordaunt has officially launched a campaign to be the next PM, since nominations opened on Friday.

Ms Badenoch is seen as a rising star on the right of the Conservative Party but she had not attracted any public support from MPs urging her to stand for leader this time.

She said: "Mrs Thatcher won the public's trust and three elections in a row by making it about us, not about her. We need someone who can do the same. I believe that person is Rishi Sunak."

Another leading figure on the right of the party, former Brexit secretary Lord Frost, has also backed Mr Sunak.

According to the BBC's running total of MPs who have gone on the record with support, Mr Sunak has 122 backers, to Mr Johnson's 53 and Ms Mordaunt's 23.

The hopefuls have until 14:00 BST on Monday to find 100 backers. If any candidate reaches 156 nominations out of the 357 Tory MPs the race will be reduced to two candidates, as there will not be enough MPs left to support a third candidate.

It will then go to an online ballot of the Conservative party membership, with the result to be announced on Friday.

But if the party's MPs get behind just one candidate, we could have a new prime minister by Monday afternoon.

Polling suggests Mr Johnson would be favourite to win a members' vote.

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Transport Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan - plus former home secretary Priti Patel - have thrown their weight behind Mr Johnson.

His supporters say he is the only contender to have the backing of the voting public after winning the 2019 general election. Mr Johnson still has a Parliamentary investigation hanging over him over whether he lied to MPs about Covid lockdown-busting parties in Downing Street.

Some leading figures in the party have reacted with horror to the prospect of a second Johnson premiership, with former leader Lord Hague warning the party would enter a "death spiral".

Mr Sunak was the first candidate to reach the 100 nominations needed to get to the first round of voting
Mr Sunak's supporters include former chancellor and health secretary Sajid Javid, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat and former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab.

Pointing to the parliamentary probe facing Mr Johnson, Mr Raab told the BBC: "We cannot go backwards. We cannot have another episode of the Groundhog Day, of the soap opera of Partygate".

He said he was "very confident" Mr Sunak would stand, adding: "I think the critical issue here is going to be the economy. Rishi had the right plan in the summer and I think it is the right plan now."

Penny Mordaunt was first to declare that she wanted the top job
Launching her campaign on Twitter on Friday, Ms Mordaunt said she would "unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next [general election]".

Mordaunt backer Conservative MP Bob Seely said "I think we owe the country a collective responsibility to apologise" and said he believes Ms Mordaunt has the best chance of providing "unity and leadership" within the party.

Among those to have ruled themselves out of the race are Defence Secretary Ben Wallace - who has said he is "leaning" towards supporting Mr Johnson - and current Chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

Boris Johnson was ejected from office in July after a string of scandals, but the replacement chosen by the Tory Party, Liz Truss, lasted just 45 days, making her the shortest-serving prime minister in British history.

She stood down on Thursday, after a series of humiliating U-turns forced on her by an adverse reaction to her tax policies in the financial markets.

A chart of the process that will be taken in order to elect Britain's next Prime Minister.


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