Home Politics Boris Johnson withdraws from Conservative leadership contest

Boris Johnson withdraws from Conservative leadership contest

by reporter263

The former Prime Minister said despite having the support of the MPs required to run ‘this would simply not be the right thing to do’

Boris Johnson has announced he will not be standing in the Conservative leadership contest.

Boris Johnson said he will not be entering the leadership contest. (Photo: Anadolu Agency)
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Mr Johnson said he was ruling out a dramatic attempt to return as prime minister, after failing to reach a deal with leadership rivals Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt – despite having the support of the MPs required to run.

He said entering in the contest “would simply not be the right thing to do” because “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament”.

Mr Johnson said: “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.”

Mr Johnson’s withdrawal means Mr Sunak is now the firm favourite to become the next Prime Minister and he could be crowned as the new leader by tomorrow evening.

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Tonight Mr Sunak was surging ahead of his rivals in the contest with 149 nominations from MPs, and Penny Mordaunt, the only person left in the race on 26.

Mr Johnson said he had “reached out” Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt to see if they could work together in the national interest, but it had not proved possible.

Mr Johnson claimed he had the backing of 102 MPs, two over the 100 threshold required to enter the contest – and that if he stood there was a “very good chance” he would be back in Downing Street by the end of the week.


He added: “But in the course of the last 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 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.

“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.”

Mr Johnson’s announcement comes after he flew back from a holiday in the Caribbean on Saturday.

He publicly was backed by several senior Tory MPs including Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Nadhim Zahawi.

Mr Johnson’s withdrawal from the race comes after several of his long-time allies, including Suella Braverman and Steve Baker, backed Mr Sunak.

Mr Baker warned a comeback by Mr Johnson would be a “guaranteed disaster”.

Boris Johnson’s statement in full
Mr Johnson said: “In the last few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who suggested that I should once again contest the Conservative Party leadership, both among the public and among friends and colleagues in Parliament.

“I have been attracted because I led our party into a massive election victory less than three years ago – and I believe I am therefore uniquely placed to avert a general election 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 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.”-i

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