Sunak ally says Rishi could forge deal with Boris as PM instead

Rishi Sunak reaches 100 MP backers for premiership

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An ally of Rishi Sunak has suggested the MP could attempt to forge a deal with Boris Johnson after the former prime minister’s allies claimed he had reached the 100 votes needed to run for the Tory leadership race. Sunak, who is yet to formally declare, has been backed to become the next PM after Liz Truss resigned after just 45 days in office. But supporters of the former Chancellor have suggested Sunak may choose not to run for leadership and instead form a deal with Mr Johnson. 

One of the team of MPs running the Boris campaign told that the number of MP nominations collected is now “in the 90s” earlier today.

He said: “We expect to reach 100 today.”

Since then, the former Prime Minister’s allies have claimed he has managed to receive 100 nominations from Conservative MPs before Sir Graham Brady’s Monday deadline and could announce his candidacy as early as today. 

More support is expected to be forthcoming when the European Research Group (ERG) of Tory Brexiteer MPs meets on Monday morning.

The development could lead to the competition being cancelled and Mr Sunak deciding to strike a deal.

One Tory MP backing Mr Sunak said: “He hasn’t declared yet and the thought is that he is waiting to see if Boris gets 100.

“If Boris gets 100 then it’s over because the members will back him not Rishi.

“So there is a strong chance Rishi decides not to run and does a deal with Boris instead. That means we could have a government in place by the middle of next week.”

Others though have said that if Sunak does that they will switch to Penny Mordaunt who is the only candidate to officially declare but is struggling to find nominations.

Mr Johnson, who only left Number 10 on September 6 after being booted out following a Cabinet cabal in the summer, is expected to formally announce his candidacy after arriving back in the UK from the Caribbean earlier today.

He looks likely to go up against ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt in the race to replace Liz Truss in Downing Street.

The Uxbridge & South Ruislip MP is reported to have around 70 supporters, just 30 short of the number required.

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Sunak is the only candidate to receive more than 100 publicly-declared nominations so far and Ms Mordaunt is straggling in a distant third with around 25 backers.

ory MP Sir James Duddridge claimed Mr Johnson already has the support he needed were he to announce he was standing in the leadership race.

He tweeted: “New – Boris Johnson has more than 100 backers.”

Another Johnson supporter said: “I firmly believe he will but the ERG meeting on Monday morning is critical.”

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