Only three and a half months ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned, but for a minute this weekend it looked like he might make a comeback for the ages and return to the post after the abrupt resignation of Liz Truss. That is now officially off the table, as he took himself out of the running Sunday despite claiming to have enough support. Sky News reports on what Johnson had to say about his decision:
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 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.
Well that doesn’t sound like someone about to walk away from a competition. But then he goes on to explain how his remaining in contention would further disrupt the Conservative Party:
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…
I believe I have much to offer, but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 23, 2022
Johnson’s announcement comes after Britain’s former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak officially entered the race on Thursday. Most British pundits now expect him to be the next P.M. (although Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt is still vying for the job). Like Johnson, Sunak says he has the minimum required 100 nominations from party members in order to compete, meaning that a contentious run-off could have resulted had Johnson stayed in the race.
Of course, many others have pointed out the distinct possibility that Boris’ support was a mile wide and an inch deep, and that Sunak stood a good chance of prevailing even if Johnson had stuck around.
Here’s Sunak’s pitch to be the leader:
The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.
That’s why I am standing to be Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister.
I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and deliver for our country. pic.twitter.com/BppG9CytAK
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 23, 2022
It’s been quite a dramatic few months for the Tories (another name for the Conservatives). As mentioned, Liz Truss announced on Oct 20 that she was resigning as Prime Minister after the shortest reign (44 days) in U.K. history following a series of disastrous financial moves which had sent markets into turmoil. That was preceded by Boris’ own resignation.
It’s in our best interests here across The Pond that Britain straightens itself out soon, as they are one of our most loyal and important allies. Let’s hope Sunak is ready to restore some stability.