UK’s Sunak ‘qualifies’ For PM Race As Johnson Eyes Comeback

British Conservative Party politician Rishi Sunak is said to have amassed enough support to stand for the Tory leadership contest, as speculation grows that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson will join the race to succeed Liz Truss, who bowed out after six turbulent weeks, becoming the shortest-serving prime minister.

Supporters of Sunak, who served as chancellor under Johnson, said on Friday night he had received nominations from 100 Tory MPs to pass the threshold required way ahead of Monday’s deadline. There was no word from Sunak, who has yet to publicly declare his candidacy.

The United Kingdom’s ruling party has been racked by turmoil with two prime ministers resigning within a space of months, with Liz Truss dramatically announcing her resignation on Thursday after her tax cut plans and economic U-turns plunged the markets into chaos.

“Honoured to be the 100th Tory MP to support #Ready4Rishi,” senior backbencher Tobias Ellwood tweeted, as other backers of Sunak also said he had crossed the barrier.

Sunak will automatically become party leader and prime minister if his opponents fail also to win 100 nominations from their fellow Tory MPs.

Security minister Tom Tugendhat, who ran for the leadership himself after Johnson was toppled in July, also endorsed Sunak: “We need economic stability. That’s why I am backing Rishi Sunak,” he said on Twitter.

British media reported that Johnson arrived back in the UK on Saturday. His flight landed at London’s Gatwick Airport.

James Duddridge, one of Johnson’s closest allies in parliament, said he had been in contact with his old boss via WhatsApp.

“He said … ‘We are going to do this. I’m up for it’,” the MP said, as a Sky News reporter posted a photograph apparently showing Johnson on a flight home from the Dominican Republic.

The Sunak and Johnson camps are reportedly seeking talks to see if there is scope for a unity deal, although there is plenty of bad blood since the former prime minister’s ouster in July.

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