Sunday, 04 Dec 2022

Boris Johnson gaining ground on Rishi Sunak in Tory leadership race

Boris Johnson gaining ground on Rishi Sunak in Tory leadership race


Boris Johnson gaining ground on Rishi Sunak in Tory leadership race

Boris Johnson is gaining ground in his audacious bid to return to Downing Street despite critics warning he risks plunging the Conservatives into fresh chaos over the impending parliamentary inquiry into the Partygate scandal.

As the former prime minister raced back from his Caribbean holiday to drum up support among MPs, Rishi Sunak remained ahead and the favourite to win with close to 90 publicly declared backers, including Dominic Raab and Sajid Javid, and with his supporters claiming he had passed the threshold of 100 names required to get on the ballot paper.

But one rival leadership camp questioned whether he really would reach 100, amid reminders of the way his leadership tore the party apart when he was in Downing Street.

Neither Johnson nor Sunak have yet formally declared, while Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons, became the first to announce she was standing.

Critics of the former prime minister said some Tory MPs would be likely to go independent or defect to another party if he won again.

Another MP source said the committee had collected vast amounts of written evidence that could be published shortly, and it was preparing to take oral evidence as soon as in the next 10 days, potentially sitting for four hours a day, three days a week for several weeks to get through it all.

They argued it would be a huge distraction for Johnson if he were to become prime minister, and risked reigniting public anger over the scandal that led to him and others being fined by police for breaking Covid rules during lockdown.

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