By Aditi Khanna :
RISHI Sunak supporters claimed on Saturday that the Indian-origin former Chancellor has hit the threshold of 100 members of Parliament required to make it to the shortlist for the race to replace Liz Truss as the Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister. The 42-year-old frontrunner’s tally continues to grow as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew back from his Caribbean holiday and his camp also claimed that he has the requisite minimum of 100 MPs for a possible leadership bid. Neither Sunak nor Johnson has officially declared their intention to contest the leadership election, with Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt the only candidate to formally announce her candidacy so far. However, the former Finance Minister has taken a comfortable lead with some heavyweight Tory Ministers and MPs from different factions of the Tory party throwing their weight behind him and the betting odds also continuing to rise in favour. “Rishi had the right plan in the summer and I think it is the right plan now,” former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told the BBC.
“I think he is the best placed candidate to provide some stability, to provide confidence for the millions of workers and businesses up and down the country,” he said. Raab warned against a comeback by the partygate scandal-hit former leader Johnson, just over three months after being forced to resign, pointing out that the UK Parliament is still conducting an inquiry into whether he misled Commons over the lockdown law-breaking parties at Downing Street. “We cannot go backwards. We cannot have another episode of the Groundhog day, of the soap opera, of partygate. We must get the country and the Government moving forward,” he said. It came as Johnson was pictured by ‘Sky News’ on a flight back to London from the Dominican Republic with his wife and children, having indicated to allies of his intention to have another go at 10 Downing Street. The tally of MPs publicly supporting him for the comeback publicly stands at 53, with former Home Secretary Priti Patel among his high-profile backers and his loyalists are confident that he would hit the 100-MP mark required by 2 pm local time on Monday to make the shortlist.