Next UK prime minister - latest: 'Difficult to see' how Boris Johnson could be PM amid partygate controversy, Raab says; Sunak campaign claims to have hit 100 backers (2023)

Key points
  • 'Difficult to see' how Boris Johnson could be PM amid partygate controversy, Dominic Raab says
  • Priti Patel backs Boris Johnson in leadership race
  • Penny Mordaunt announces leadership bid
  • Boris Johnson arrives back in the UK
  • Rishi Sunak has hit 100 backers, campaign source says
  • Which candidates are Tory MPs backing? Follow our spreadsheet here
  • Beth Rigby:There are obstacles in his way, but Johnson could be back in Number 10 by Friday
  • Jon Craig: Can Rishi Sunak stop the Boris Johnson bandwagon?
  • Live reporting by Bhvishya Patel


Priti Patel backs Boris Johnson in leadership race

Former home secretary Priti Patel has said she is backing Boris Johnson in the leadership race because he has a "proven track record".

In her tweet, Ms Patel said that the former Tory leader had a "mandate to deliver our elected manifesto" and got the "big decisions right".


'The real me': Mordaunt releases campaign video

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, who became the first to confirm her candidacy to replace Liz Truss as prime minister, has released her campaign video this morning.

In her video, Ms Mordaunt recalls the moments in her life that have shaped her, adding: "I know about the cost of living and how frightening it can be"

She says she joined the Conservative Party because she "believed in its principles and its values" and fought as a candidate for seven years before overturning a Labour majority.

"I've done some amazing things in my life. I've had a seat at the table at the World Bank and NATO," she says.

"I've been to warzones and humanitarian hotspots. I owe it all to the people of Portsmouth and to this country as a whole. I draw my strength from the people I meet and the stories they tell.

"There are many people that think they know me, just like they think they know you. But ask yourself this, do they understand the life you live. Have they experienced it? Will they make that experience count? I have and I will."

(Video) Live: ITV Debate for Britain's next prime minister hosted by Julie Etchingham


Boris Johnson arrives back in the UK

Former prime minister Boris Johnson has arrived back in the UK.

Mr Johnson, whose plane touched down at Gatwick Airport, has been on holiday in the Dominican Republic but has returned after telling an ally that he will run to lead the country again.

He flew back in economy on a British Airways flight alongside his wife and children.

His return comes amid speculation that he will enter the Tory leadership race.


The race to 100 - who are Tory MPs backing to be the next prime minister?

The race is on to become the next prime minister of the UK following Liz Truss's resignation on Thursday after just 44 days in office.

So far, only one candidate has announced their intention to run for the keys to Number 10 and to take over the Tory Party - leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt.

But former chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is now being backed by 93 MPs, and ex-PM Boris Johnson are rumoured to be considering joining the contest.

The candidates will need to secure the backing of at least 100 Tory MPs to get onto the ballot, so we are keeping a list of those publicly endorsing their choice for Downing Street.

You can keep up to date with the nominations in the link below...


(Video) Meltdown for Johnson’s government - will the PM survive resignations?

Rishi Sunak pictured leaving London home

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak, who is believed to have become the first Conservative leadership candidate to secure the backing of 100 MPs, was pictured leaving his London home this morning.

Wearing a blue jumper over a white shirt the apparent frontrunner in the race to replace Liz Truss acknowledged photographers as he got into a car.

Last night, the former chancellor's supporters said he had amassed the necessary numbers of MP supporters to reach the threshold, way ahead of the deadline.

Boris Johnson was lagging behind, as was Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt who became the first to confirm her candidacy to replace Liz Truss as prime minister.


Johnson is 'still the right man for the job', Tory MP says

Boris Johnson is "still the right man for the job" and the party "now need him back", Tory MP Andrew Stephenson has said.

Mr Stephenson said that during his three years as prime minister, Mr Johnson had been able to "get Brexit done", saw the fastest COVID vaccine rollout in Europe and ensured the country led the international coalition of support amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: "I'm hoping he does run. I think Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt could equally make good leaders of the Conservative Party but I think for the most experience and most tried and tested candidate in this race it must be Boris Johnson."

The Tory MP went on to say that Mr Johnson still had a "great deal of support" among people in the country and party members.

"Whoever we chose as the next leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister, we have to unite behind without a doubt," he continued.

"I think many of my colleagues are thinking that Boris Johnson who delivered us that historic 2019 election victory is still the right man for the job."

Asked about whether Mr Johnson was the right person for the role amid an ongoing partygate investigation, the MP added: "Boris Johnson has apologised for mistakes that he made during his premiership.

"There are a number of legal opinions that agreed with him that he didn't at any time deliberately mislead the House of Commons and what I'm hearing in my constituency and parliamentarians, including parliamentarians who urged him to go at the start of the summer, is we now need him back."


Sir Malcolm Rifkind: Sunak is 'by far the best'

Rishi Sunak is "by far the best" of the contenders available, Conservative former foreign secretarySir Malcolm Rifkind has said.

In an interview with Times Radio, Sir Malcolm said while he had not met the former chancellor personally he had shown that he was "100% right".

He said: "What I do know is that during the Truss/Sunak campaign, one of the reasons Sunak lost probably was because he was brave enough to put the public interest (first) and say 'I cannot support tax cuts unless they're properly funded, and not while the economy's in a mess'.

"He said that and it probably cost him more votes than it gained him. But he's been proven 100% right.

"So as a citizen affected by the way the economy may develop over the next few months, then on the people available, he is by far the best."

(Video) In full: Boris Johnson resigns as prime minister


Boris Johnson sits in economy for flight back to UK - after telling an ally he will run to be PM again

Boris Johnson has been pictured by Sky News making his way back to the UK.

The former prime minister has been on holiday in the Dominican Republic but is set to return to London after telling an ally that he will run to lead the country again.

He is flying back in economy alongside his wife and children, and the picture was taken by Sky's Michael Herd.

Mr Johnson and his family boarded the plane before everyone else - and according to our US correspondent Mark Stone, there was a "mixed reaction".

Read more here...


(Video) Bloomberg Surveillance 7/07/2022 Boris Johnson Resigns

'Difficult to see' how Boris Johnson could be PM amid partygate controversy, Raab says

It is "difficult to see" how Boris Johnson could become prime minister again when he is "absorbed and distracted" by the issues surrounding partygate, former deputy PM Dominic Raab has said.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Mr Raab said he was "confident" Mr Sunak would run in the Tory leadership race and was the "standout candidate" among the field.

"If you look at the economic challenge we've got, he has been the one who was consistently right about what we need to get financial stability restored, to get inflation down, mortgage interest rates down, get investment up for millions of workers and businesses across the country," he said.

"That's the fundamental economic challenge we face. But we also face a political challenge and a crisis of confidence and trust in the government.

"I think again he is the best placed candidate to restore that trust, get a government of all the talents across the Conservative Party and get the government focused relentlessly on going forward on the priorities of the British people."

Mr Raab went on to say that while he was "fond" of Boris Johnson and "respected him hugely", the issues surrounding partygate could leave him "distracted".

He said: "The big challenge for Boris is within days of a new prime minister being announced next Friday, the committee on standards and privileges is going to start taking testimony on partygate. That's going to involve witnesses.

"It will I assume have to involve him giving oral evidence and we need a prime minister that is focused relentlessly and consistently with a laser-like focus on the issues facing the country and I think it's very difficult to see how Boris could be prime minister if he is absorbed and distracted by all of that.

"And I say that as someone who thinks he could make a return to frontline politics and who has backed him and is personally very found him."

Mr Raab added that in the current climate it was important the party went forward and "not back to the groundhog day of partygate again."


Leadership campaign round two. Who is Rishi Sunak?

Could the second time be the charm for former-Chancellor Rishi Sunak?

Only time will tell, and it looks like he will face a strong challenge from his ex-boss Boris Johnson.

But just who is Oxford-educated Mr Sunak?

Read more:

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