Former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has ruled himself out of returning to the job.
This week speculations of Johnson’s impending move to replace Liz Truss intensified after she resigned following just 45 days in office.
Truss had replaced Johnson who was forced out of office in July following a series of scandals.
In the wake of Truss’ resignation, Johnson had reportedly undertaken consultations to see if he has support to return, meaning he would need to secure 100 nominations from Conservative lawmakers.
Despite some Conservative lawmakers publicly expressing their support for the former prime minister, Johnson in a statement on Sunday, October 23 withdrew his interest, saying he has enough support but has decided it is not the right thing to do.
“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 have been attracted because I led our party into a massive election victory less than three years ago – and I believe I am therefore uniquely placed to avert a general election now,” the statement reads.
“A general election would be a further disastrous distraction just when the government must focus on the economic pressures faced by families across the country. 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. 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.
“And though I have reached out to both Rishi (Sunak) and Penny (Mordaunt) – because I hoped that we could come together in the national interest – we have sadly not been able to work out a way of doing this. Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds. I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”
Johnson’s withdrawal leaves the race open to Sunak, former finance minister, and Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons.