Boris Johnson pulled out of the Conservative leadership race to replace Liz Truss as the U.K.’s next prime minister late Sunday local time, according to multiple reports.
Johnson announced his withdrawal from the race despite earlier claims he had “cleared the very high hurdle of 102 [MP] nominations” necessary for his name to land on the ballot for Tory prime minister, the Independent reported. Soon after Truss resigned Oct. 20, reports circulated that Johnson would be willing to run again if he could garner the required number of member of Parliament (MP) nominations.
Former chancellor and current Tory MP Rishi Sunak is a front-runner for Conservative prime minister now that Johnson has dropped out of the race, according to the Financial Times. Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt is reportedly Sunak’s only adversary when it comes to securing the leadership role.
Mordaunt must meet the required 100 MP nominations in order to beat Sunak in the race, the Financial Times continued. Sunak will reportedly be named prime minister if she is unable to do so. (RELATED: UK Prime Minister Liz Truss Announces Resignation After Just 44 Days In Office)
“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,” Johnson said in a Sunday statement regarding his decision, according to the Independent.
“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,” he continued, according to the outlet. “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”
Johnson announced his own resignation as prime minister in July in the wake of a plethora of resignations within the Conservative Party and a number of governmental scandals.