Rishi Sunak was leading the race to become the next Prime Minister on Friday night when he hit the 100 nomination mark to get to the next stage of the Tory leadership contest, according to a campaign source.
The former chancellor, who has not formally declared his candidacy, allegedly crossed the threshold just before 10pm on Friday night, after a series of influential Tories had declared their support.
A total of 42 MPs had publicly supported Boris Johnson while 21 had supported Penny Mordaunt, according to a BBC tally. Each candidate will need the support of at least 100 MPs to advance to the next round, in which Tory members will vote for the next PM in an online poll.
The Standard could not independently verify the claim made by Mr. Sunak’s campaign.
Elsewhere, momentum continued to build for Mr. Johnson after four government ministers expressed their support. Leveling Secretary Simon Clarke, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, Transportation Secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan, and Affairs Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg all indicated they would support his return to number 10.
According to the Telegraph, International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and former Interior Minister Suella Braverman are also considering supporting Johnson in a move that could solidify his position as a favorite candidate of the right-wing Tory.
The former Prime Minister, who is currently on vacation in the Caribbean, is said to be planning to return to the UK to launch his campaign over the weekend.
Sir James Duddridge, a Conservative MP, said he had been in contact with Mr. Johnson on WhatsApp.
“He will come back. He said, ‘I’m coming back, Dudders, we’ll do it. I’m in’.”
But other influential conservatives have urged Johnson to step back from the leadership contest.
Lord Moore, a close friend of the former Prime Minister, wrote in the Telegraph: “It might be a good idea if history repeats itself. I see Boris coming back in different circumstances, with a Labor government in disarray and a lackluster Tory opposition seeking renewal. I don’t see it working right now. True Boris fans will have the courage to tell him to let it go. “
And veteran backbencher Sir Roger Gale, a longtime critic of Mr. Johnson, warned that if the former prime minister succeeds, he could be met with a wave of resignations from Conservative MPs.
A return for Mr. Johnson would be plagued with challenges, not least the investigation of whether he lied to the House of Commons about the partygate scandal, for which he was fined by the police.
If found guilty by the Commons Privileges Committee, he could face recall proceedings that would leave him fighting for his seat in the Commons if he received a suspension of 10 days or more.
Meanwhile, a Tory source told the Financial Times that Mr. Johnson would be “open” to meet with Mr. Sunak and discuss a deal to prevent the pair from facing each other in the final round, lest the party “get involved. pieces”.
Mr. Sunak resigned from Johnson’s cabinet in July, prompting a series of ministerial resignations that led to his overthrow. He has since faced accusations from MPs and Tory members since he “backstabbed” the former Prime Minister, with the issue proving very divisive during the summer leadership contest.
Several former government ministers announced their support for Sunak on Friday, including former chancellor Sajid Javid.
“The only way for our party to reclaim our values and recover our reputation as an administration is to move away from the mistakes of the past and come together to focus on the future,” he said.
He was also supported by former ministers Johnny Mercer, Chris Philp and former justice secretary Dominic Raab.
Mordaunt was the first MP to publicly declare her intention to run, saying she could give Britain a “fresh start”. She pledged to “unite our country, keep our commitments and win the next general elections”.
He has already had talks with Jeremy Hunt and assured him that he can remain as Chancellor if he becomes prime minister, that’s clear. He also assured him that he will deliver the medium-term tax plan as proposed on October 31, a source close to the leader of the municipalities said.