Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Sunday he will step back from the contest to lead the Conservative Party, taking him out of the running to return to No. 10 Downing Street after his successor—Prime Minister Liz Truss—abruptly resigned, saying another run for prime minister following his July resignation would “simply not be the right thing to do.”
Johnson, who had not formally placed his hat in the running, said in a statement Sunday there is “a very good chance” he would be successful in the election, claiming to have cleared the more than 100 nominations from Conservative members of Parliament required to make it onto the ballot for party leader (British media outlets have refuted this claim and reported the number of MPs who publicly backed Johnson was closer to 60).
However, Johnson said he had “sadly” decided within the past few days a run for leadership would not be the best course of action, adding that “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”
Johnson’s exit leaves Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in the lead with more than 140 backers, making him the clear favorite to be the United Kingdom’s next prime minister, according to The Guardian, well ahead of Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt with 25 backers.
The Conservative Party is searching for a new leader after Truss announced her resignation on Thursday after just six weeks on the job. Queen Elizabeth II died just days after holding an audience with Truss, and after the official mourning period, Truss introduced a $48 billion tax cut package that would particularly benefit the wealthy, which sparked public outrage and spooked markets, sending the pound to an all-time low. Truss later scrapped the plan but resigned weeks later, as support from the public and her party waned. Truss entered office after defeating Sunak in a Conservative Party election, which was held after Johnson resigned due to a series of scandals, including revelations he hosted parties at his official residence when the country was under a strict Covid-19 lockdown.
Boris Johnson Claims Enough Support For Another Prime Minister Run (Forbes)
BoJo Back? Johnson Among Favorites To Be Next U.K. Prime Minister (Forbes)