‘It's Personal & Vitriolic’: BoJo Reportedly Urges Fallen Tory Candidates to Back ‘Anyone But Rishi’

© AFP 2023 / TOBY MELVILLEBritain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (R) sits beside Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) at a Cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on September 1, 2020.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (R) sits beside Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) at a Cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London on September 1, 2020.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.07.2022
Five Tory leadership hopefuls have progressed to the third round of voting, set for 18 July. Attorney General Suella Braverman was knocked out in Thursday's vote, and Rishi Sunak continues to lead with 101 votes. Penny Mordaunt is second with 83 votes, Liz Truss came third with 64. Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat are also in the race.
Boris Johnson, who is at present caretaker Prime Minister after announcing his resignation on 7 July after the latest scandal to rock Downing Street, is pushing for those candidates who have dropped out of the Tory leadership contest to back “anyone but Rishi” Sunak, reported The Times.
Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt have maintained their places at the front of the Tory leadership race after Thursday’s second-round vote, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss came third, with Attorney General Suella Braverman eliminated. Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat have also made it through.
Although stopping short of publicly endorsing any of the hopefuls jostling to take his place in No 10, Johnson is believed to have conferred on the issue with the candidates defeated in the two previous rounds of voting.

“The whole No 10 team hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vitriolic. They don’t blame Saj [Sajid Javid] for bringing him down. They blame Rishi. They think he was planning this for months,” a source was cited as telling the publication.

The shell-shock resignations of Johnson’s then-Chancellor Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid on 5 July set in motion a domino effect, with a succession of ministers following in their wake and dealing a crushing blow to Johnson’s premiership.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is believed to be secretly favored by Johnson as his successor. Truss has already been publicly backed by some of his cabinet allies, such as Nadine Dorries, Jacob Rees-Mogg and the defeated Braverman.
Mordaunt’s candidacy is also one that Johnson is reportedly prepared to accept as long as it means Sunak will be denied a win in the leadership election.
According to another source cited by The Times, Johnson voiced concerns that the former Chancellor might go “soft” on Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and ease sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.
However, this was denied by a Sunak ally, who was quoted as insisting that, “Rishi led the way in enforcing the toughest sanctions on Russia and ensured that our allies followed suit.”
In response to the report, an ally of Johnson told the publication that although it was untrue the caretaker PM wanted “anyone but Rishi,” he did harbor resentment over his resignation, which had precipitated his downfall.
“Of course he’s disappointed, of course he’s frustrated. He’s been pushing Rishi for a compelling growth strategy for many months without success. So alongside the sense of betrayal is a sense of regret about what could have already been well under way. But he’s very clear his commitment is overwhelmingly to the British people and that electing a leader who will deliver for them is paramount, even if personally painful for him,” said the insider.
It was added that Johnson intended to remain an active backbencher in the Commons after he leaves Downing Street when a Conservative Party leadership election winner is confirmed on 5 September.
Regular interventions can be anticipated from Johnson on the three issues that he regards as his legacy: Brexit, Ukraine and the ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.

Debate Showdown

The heat is on in the Tory race for No 10, with five contenders left after the second round of voting on 14 July.
Sunak picked up 101 votes, Minister of State for Trade Policy Mordaunt, gained 83, Foreign Secretary Truss, 64, former Equalities Minister Badenoch, 49, and Tugendhat, 32.
Braverman got 27 votes - five fewer than she had in the first round of the contest on Wednesday 13 July - and was eliminated from the race.
Larry the Downing Street cat lays in the road outside of 10 Downing Street, the official residence of Britain's Prime Minister, in central London on July 8, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2022
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The five hopefuls are now facing their first televised debate. The Friday showdown is hosted by Channel 4 at 7.30pm BST. ITV will host a debate on Sunday and Sky News will host one on Tuesday.
The tone for the event was set by Braverman, who launched an attack on Mordaunt. She insisted she would not back Mordaunt because of previous remarks on trans rights, and opted to throw her support behind Truss.

“My perception of Penny is she takes a different view to me when it comes to gender ideology and the position of trans people. For example, I think she said a trans woman is a woman - I disagree with that,” Braverman said on BBC Radio 4.

She claimed that Truss, was a candidate that could “unleash the opportunities of Brexit” and cut taxes.
Truss will need to secure almost all of Braverman’s 27 votes if she hoped to close the gap with Mordaunt, whose support grew the most in this stage of the voting.
A YouGov poll of Tory party members carried out ahead of the Thursday vote put Mordaunt in first place.
As 879 Conservative Party members were asked who they would vote for if given a choice between just two names, Mordaunt was shown winning against every competitor.
With 101 votes after the second round, Sunak is steadily homing in on the 120 votes required to guarantee a place in the final two.
Tory MPs need to whittle down the field to a final two candidates by the 21 July deadline, when the House of Commons breaks for its summer recess.
Then it will be up to a postal ballot of Tory members to choose the winner, with the result announced on 5 September.
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