Impossible to avoid general election after Boris bows out of race

Rishi Sunak reaches 100 MP backers for premiership

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Boris Johnson has taken himself out of the running from the Tory leadership race, saying now is “not the right time” for him to return to high office, and urging his party to unite under the next leader. His decision leaves the path clear for rival and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to enter Number 10 as contestant Penny Mordaunt is believed to have fallen short of the nominations needed to progress. Nadine Dorries, who served as culture secretary when Mr Johnson was Prime Minister and remains a loyal supporter, has warned it will “now be impossible to avoid a general election”. Writing on Twitter, she said: “Boris would have won members vote – already had a mandate from the people. Rishi and Penny, despite requests from Boris refused to unite which would have made governing utterly impossible. Penny actually asked him to step aside for her. It will now be impossible to avoid a General Election.” 

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Team Mordaunt ‘confident’ they will hit 100 threshold

Team Mordaunt is “confident” of hitting the 100 threshold, an ally has said.

Damian Green, the former first secretary of state and a supporter of Ms Mordaunt, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We are confident that Penny will get above the 100 mark.”

He added: “There are a lot of people who weren’t declaring publicly what they were doing, indeed, Penny’s numbers I know are well above the published figure already even without any of Boris’s supporters…”

Mr Green would not say a specific number but said it is “way, way above the published number” and “we are confident of getting to 100 before the deadline of two o’clock”.

Good morning

Good morning from London. I’m Tara Fair, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the Tory leadership contest. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @TaraFair_

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