London View | Will Boris Johnson’s death kiss help rival Rishi Sunak’s prime ministerial bid?

Reversing his recently known ways, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke more honestly on Monday when he said he “doesn’t want to harm the prospects of leadership candidates by offering my support”. Johnson could hardly have meant that his endorsement of any candidate could mean the kiss of death.

Westminster opens up an extraordinary gap between what is said in public and what is done in private, as the world has undoubtedly seen in recent weeks and months. Johnson’s leadership is not expected to remain a passive spectator for the contest before the announcement of the new Conservative Party leader and prime minister on 5 September.

Of the candidates announced so far, Johnson is likely to offer thoughtful but overwhelming support to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has strongly backed him during his past turbulent months, almost the only cabinet minister to do so. Rishi is likely to be driven less by the passion to see him as the next PM than by the determination to keep Sunak out. Of that we have got signals from Boris Johnson’s own office.

The day Sunak announced his candidacy, Johnson’s office issued a statement to the media on the understanding that it should be attributed to a “Downing Street source” that Sunak was “treacherous”. financial Times Johnson’s cabinet as well as calling Sunak a “treacherous”, a derogatory addition.

His office gave word that Boris Johnson had picked Sunak out of nowhere to take the government’s front bench as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The office said Johnson had backed Sunak during his tenure as chancellor, only after he was stabbed in the back.

policy and principles

For Rishi Sunak, his resignation came from differences over honest principles and policy, apart from all the rage over ‘Partygate’ and then controversy over former deputy party whip Chris Pincher, who has been arrested for admitting to groping two men while intoxicated. After that he was removed from his post. club.

The great difficulty for Johnson proved not only to be the wrong decision in appointing this MP to take charge of party discipline, but also lies in denying that he was aware of his past sexual intrusions.

Sunak’s resignation letter went beyond all this. He said the public expects the government to run “properly, competently and seriously”. There was serious public accusation to suggest that the way Johnson was running the government was not an allegation in line with the perceptions of the party and much of the country. But Johnson will not face any charges.

Also Sunak flagged differences with the prime minister over policy, mainly due to Johnson’s reluctance to go for hefty tax cuts. “Our perspectives are fundamentally very different,” Sunak wrote in his resignation letter. And once he resigned, he certainly didn’t have to forgo a planned joint article with Boris Johnson on the way forward for the economy.

Sunak’s campaign videos posted on social media ranged from criticism to ridicule at Johnson. The country does not need to console the fairy tales like Johnson’s, he said. It’s not a particularly gentle way of saying he thought Johnson was living in cuckoo land. Again, a widely shared, and honestly most Conservative Party and also in much of the country. But as Boris Johnson’s team saw it, it insulted betrayal.

the revenge

An unanswered question among many is how much support Boris Johnson can still get. He won the no-confidence motion held on June 7 by 211 votes to 148. Much of that support fell after Pincher’s revelations. But it is still unlikely to disappear completely or even become something insignificant. The Boris-led whisper campaign against Rishi Sunak is the biggest threat to his bid.

That bid remains strong. More lawmakers have voiced their support for Sunak than any other candidate. Bookmakers have placed him as a clear favourite. This support for him should stand further until the first round, when those supporting his candidacy with fewer than 20 MPs drop out of the race.

Once the serious race begins, and it should happen very soon, the knives will be out. And that will be the time when Sunak will have to win over rival candidates, and work behind them, Boris Johnson himself.

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