Sunak leads PM race to replace Truss after Johnson withdraws
Although low-voting opponent Penny Mordaunt remains the rival in the now two-contender race, Sunak is acquiring more votes than expected.
Following Boris Johnson's withdrawal from the PM race, Conservative member Rishi Sunak is bound to become the first PM of color, as he is left to compete with cabinet member Penny Mordaunt.
After first losing the PM position to Liz Truss, who resigned Thursday just 44 days after becoming PM but failing due to her inept policies, Sunak may take home the leadership position as early as Monday afternoon, especially with Mordaunt's low vote count.
Sunak crossed the required threshold of at least 100 Tory MP support votes by Friday, while Mordaunt struggled to catch up to the pace as she attracted just 24 public supporters among the MPs.
However, if Mordaunt decides not to withdraw and obtains the required 100 votes, the Tory party of approximately 170,000 members will have to make the final call in an online vote later this week, with a deadline of Friday.
In a chain of failed governments, Truss replaced Johnson for his Partygate scandal and pandemic law violations, and now Sunak is due to replace Truss for a devastating-to-the-economy mini-budget and other failed policies.
Truss has become the shortest-serving Prime Minister in the history of the country. She said she would stay in office until her replacement was picked, noting that a new party leader would be voted next week.
Former Johnson allies, such as Interior Minister Grant Shapps, switched support to Sunak, as did right-wing figures such as Steve Baker, Kemi Badenoch, and Suella Braverman.
Baker even spoke up on his disapproval of Johnson's return, calling it "a guaranteed disaster."
On Sunday, Johnson then resorted to the divisive situation of the Tory party as a way out to withdraw, saying, "You can't govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament," adding that "the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward."
"I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time," he commented, as he insisted that he surpassed the 100 nominations required to compete for the position.
As a response to his former boss and ex-rival, Sunak tweeted: "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.— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022
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.
Reports say that Sunak spoke to opponent Mordaunt on Sunday who stated that her supporters were likely to divert more for his support instead, but for now, she remains the opponent in the race for PM.
After Johnson's withdrawal, a campaign source commented: "Penny is the unifying candidate who is most likely to keep the wings of the Conservative Party together."
"Polling shows that she is the most likely candidate to hold onto the seats the Conservative Party gained in 2019."
A survey by Conservative pollster James Johnson found that she acquired a negative rating of -15 among the electorate, with Sunak coming in at -2.