Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have one-on-one discussions amid the UK race for the UK’s leadership

The possibility of them running together on a single ticket is yet another unexpected turn in what’s been an unsettling year for UK politics.

Former British Prim Secretary Boris Johnson and ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak leaving Downing Street(Reuters file)

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak who are both candidates to become the next UK premier, had in-person talks on this weekend in order to debate the Conservative leadership race According to those who were aware of the talks, looking for a compromise that would make it unnecessary to submit an unpopular runoff vote between them and the party members.

The former premier and ex-chancellor spoke out as a group of Tory MPs urged them to set aside their differences to come to an agreement that would let one of them succeed as the premier while the other take on an important cabinet post The people claimed they would not reveal their identities since the issue is confidential.

The possibility of the two running together on a single ticket is yet another improbable turn in an extremely turbulent year in UK politics. The possibility of a partnership was thought to be almost impossible because of the conflict between the two men they claimed. They became bitter rivals in the summer of this year after Sunak was forced to resign as Finance minister in Johnson’s administration. This was a move that led to his demise.

The former premier is losing ground to Sunak with fewer public endorsements from the members of Parliament, despite Sunak’s campaign team claims there are more than 100 people privately supporting him. Sunak won a significant victory on Saturday thanks to the backing of Kemi Badenoch who is the International Trade Secretary and a prominent figure in the right of the party.

Penny Mordaunt, who appears to be receiving less support than either of them, is the only one who has publicly announced their candidacy.

Event Alarm

Liz Truss’s departure after only 44 days as the country’s prime minister on Thursday has triggered the possibility of a fast-paced leadership race which could potentially have Johnson and Sunak clash. The possibility of the two conflicting about policy has worried many of the party’s most prominent big names.

Lord Frost Johnson’s Brexit minister, suggested that the party must “move ahead” and support Sunak. In remarks that were in line with those made by previous Telegraph editor Charles Moore, ex-party chairman Lord Ashcroft tweeted that Johnson should abstain from the race and support Lord Ashcroft, his predecessor as chancellor.

When negotiating a possible agreement, Sunak could point to his popularity with MPs as proof that he’s the most likely to secure a majority in parliament and unite the party which is deeply divided. However, Johnson should be certain that he’s got enough support to cross the 100-strong threshold to be eligible to contest but he might overlook it because the majority of his supporters are the grassroots, who will have an ultimate decision in the race.

Although he’s still well-liked by Tory members, there is a question mark whether Johnson could unite his party following his departure from his post just seven months ago. Many MPs remain angry about his flaws (including violating the law during lockdowns for pandemics and causing the party to lose its support at the polls. Truss has since pushed this decline to a record low.

Roger Gale, a Tory lawmaker since 1983, stepped out of the shadows to inform Times Radio he’d stand as an independent MP instead of work under the Johnson government once more.

It’s possible that Johnson and Sunak might be able to provide top government positions in order in exchange for each other’s approval however their differences regarding economic policy just a few weeks ago have raised doubts about whether they’d be willing to collaborate once more. If one decides not to run, the one remaining would likely have to defeat Mordaunt.

Kemi Key

So so far, Johnson has picked up support from the left of the party, who generally backed Truss in the previous election. Sunak appeals to moderate parties and has gained some votes from some MPs who previously backed Truss.

Badenoch was the most well-known cabinet member to back Sunak, and her choice could influence the opinions of other cabinet members, especially among those who are hardcore Brexiteers. She declared Sunak the “serious and honest leader we’ve been looking for,” in an article in The Sunday Times.

“We differ greatly as with different approaches regarding a myriad of issues, but I think he recognizes the importance of unification and inviting others in the process before taking difficult choices,” Badenoch wrote.

Three Tory MPs will be eligible to run for office since the party has established a threshold of 100 MPs to allow candidates to be eligible to appear on the ballot paper and there are 357 MPs within the party. MPs will have till the 2nd of April at p.m. on Monday, to cast their vote for the candidate they prefer. It will then be narrowed down to two candidates that same day if there are at least three candidates who meet the threshold.

Assuming that two candidates remain running on Monday If one of them does not withdraw those who are grassroots are given until Friday to cast their votes.

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