UNITED KINGDOM: Boris Johnson made it clear and refused to back any of the candidates striving to replace him as British Prime Minister. He said so during his first public appearance since stepping down as PM.
“There’s a contest underway and that has already started and everyone knows, I wouldn’t want to damage any chances by offering my support.
So far, 11 contenders have declared their intention to stand in the internal leadership contest, with the party expected to outline a timetable later on Monday.
Among the front runners for the leadership, are Sunak and Sajid Javid, whose departures as finance minister and health minister sparked the flurry of more than 60 government resignations.
The 58-year-old Johnson announced his departure as Conservative party leader last Thursday but is staying on in Downing Street until his replacement is found.
On a visit to a science research institute in London, Johnson was asked directly if he would endorse a successor. “The job of the prime minister at this stage is to let the party decide, let them get on with it, and to continue delivering on the projects that we were elected to deliver,” he answered.
“I just have to get on and in the last few days or weeks… the constitutional function of the prime minister in this situation is to continue to discharge the mandate. And that’s what I’m doing,” he added.
In December 2019 Johnson won a landslide 80-seat victory on a promise to take Britain out of the European Union. His parliamentary majority allowed him to do just that but his chancellorship was always in soup hit amid scandals. His lockdown defying parties in Downing Street that saw him getting fined by police has caused a lot of stir.
Another debacle blew up last week about his appointment of a senior colleague with a history of sexual assault allegations against him, sparking a frenzy of resignations and forcing Johnson to quit.
In his resignation speech, he blamed the “herd” for moving against him, and his allies have been briefing angrily against former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak. “I don’t want to say any more about all that,” he said.