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Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak meet for talks as UK PM race heats up: Report

Amid Tory leadership contest, former UK PM Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak met for talks on Saturday. Niether has formally declared their candidacy.

London,UPDATED: Oct 23, 2022 04:17 AM IST

Rishi Sunak served as the finance minister in the Boris Johnson government (Photo: Reuters)

By India Today Web Desk: The race to elect a new Conservative Party leader, who will take charge as British Prime Minister this coming week, heated up on Saturday as rivals Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak held face-to-face talks, reported news agency AFP quoting multiple reports. Former Indian-origin British chancellor Rishi Sunak holds an early advantage in the latest race for the Conservative Party leadership as he has already secured the backing of at least 100 Tory MPs.

Meanwhile, former UK PM Boris Johnson has enough support to enter the race to become Britain’s next prime minister, his ally and Conservative lawmaker James Duddridge said on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Sunak served as the finance minister in the Boris Johnson government and now the feuding ex-UK government colleagues reportedly met to launch leadership bids. Neither has formally declared their candidacy.

Former PM Johnson, who has holidaying in the Caribbean, was forced to cut short his trip and fly back to London to launch an audacious political comeback. He met ex-finance minister Sunak to discuss the UK PM race, the BBC and others reported.

ALSO READ | Rishi Sunak leads UK PM race even as Boris Johnson plans dramatic return to power | Top points

The hectic political developments are the result of the resignation of Liz Truss, who stepped down just 45 days into her tenure. This is the first in-person meeting of the Conservative party leaders in months after Boris Johnson was ousted out of power.

The leaders are set to discuss ‘agreeing to a joint ticket’ to avoid a Tory ‘civil war’, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Meanwhile, backbench Conservative MP Lee Anderson posted a photo of Johnson on Facebook and revealed he was backing him after “a long chat about everything past and present”.

The Tories have now been forced into a second, this time expedited, leadership contest since the summer after Truss resigned following her disastrous tax-slashing mini-budget sparked economic and political turmoil. Former interior minister Priti Patel has also backed Boris Johnson along with several other Tory heavyweights.

Penny Mordant is also a strong contender who does not carry any baggage, like Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson. She is a fresh face with a clean slate and a good recent track record.

ALSO READ | Ready for Rishi? Indian-origin MP now favourite to replace Liz Truss as UK PM

(With agency inputs)

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