Boris Johnson Says He's Out of the Running

Running for top spot again wouldn't be right, former prime minister says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2022 5:20 PM CDT
Updated Oct 23, 2022 4:26 PM CDT
Boris Johnson Returns to London During PM Hunt
Boris Johnson arrives at Gatwick Airport in London on Saturday after a return flight from the Caribbean.   (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP)

Update: He never officially said he was in the running to replace Liz Truss, but Boris Johnson announced Sunday that he's out of the race. In a statement, the recent and former prime minister said he was well-positioned to lead the UK's Conservative Party to victory, the BBC reports. "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," he said. "You can't govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament." Johnson said he had the votes of 102 party lawmakers, but the BBC said it couldn't confirm that because only 57 members had said so publicly. Our story from Saturday follows:

As a leaderless UK looks for somebody to replace Liz Truss, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson ended his vacation and returned Sunday to London—where support for a comeback was building, though he remains well short of the votes needed. Johnson hasn't said anything publicly about wanting the job again, CNBC reports, but the nation's trade minister said Friday that Johnson said he's "up for it." His welcome back from the Caribbean might not have been quite what Johnson had hoped for: A Sky News reporter said some of the passengers on his flight Saturday booed him.

The BBC's count of publicly announced supporters in the Conservative Party shows Rishi Sunak leading with the backing of 127 lawmakers, Johnson with 53, and Penny Mordaunt with 23. Only Mordaunt, a former defense minister, officially is running so far. The possibility of Johnson becoming prime minister just months after resigning has split the party. Some members see him as a vote-getter with appeal across the UK, while others don't see how—given the scandals of his tenure—Johnson's return would end the political chaos. He would be the first prime minister to return to office after resigning since William Gladstone did it 140 years ago, per the BBC. (More United Kingdom stories.)

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