UK former Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not enter the contest to become the next Conservative party leader and therefore the next prime minister, Britain’s PA Media news agency reported Sunday.
Johnson claimed to have garnered the support of 100 MPs – the minimum number required to clear the threshold to appear on the ballot for the Conservative party membership – but declined to run, saying “this would simply not be the right thing to do” as “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament,” according to PA.
His announcement comes after Britain’s former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak officially entered the race to lead the Conservative party, his second attempt at the position this year.
Sunak has already collected the required 100 nominations from Tory party members in order to run. Sunak had attempted to become leader seven weeks ago following the resignation of Johnson, but lost to Liz Truss who stepped down on Thursday.
And here is the former PM’s statement in full – he claims to have reached 102 backers although only 57 MPs had publicly declared their support for him.
“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.”