UK: Rishi Sunak launches bid to become new Conservative Party leader | News

The former British finance minister announces a bid to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has said he will step down.

Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak has announced he is running to replace Boris Johnson, three days after helping him launch the series of resignations that brought down the prime minister.

Johnson announced on Thursday that he would step down as prime minister after a mass rebellion in his Conservative Party, sparked by the latest in a string of scandals that has fatally undermined public confidence.

Johnson’s impending departure has added political uncertainty to an already difficult mix of high inflation, slowing growth and industrial turmoil, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the UK’s ongoing struggle to adjust to life after Brexit.

“Someone has to take control of this moment and make the right decisions. This is why I stand to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your prime minister,” Sunak said in a video posted on Twitter.

β€œAre we facing this moment with honesty, seriousness and determination, or are we telling ourselves reassuring fairy tales that may make us feel better now but will leave our children worse off tomorrow,” he said.

Sunak and Health Minister Sajid Javid resigned from the government on Tuesday within minutes of each other, setting off a chain of events that led to Johnson’s decision to step down.

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The party committee is due to set the rules and timetable for the race to replace Johnson next week.

Sunak’s budget last year set the UK on course to shoulder its heaviest tax burden since the 1950s, which his critics said undermined his claim to support lower taxes.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunak has overseen around 400 billion pounds ($481 billion) in economic support, avoiding a huge jump in unemployment, but letting public borrowing rise to a peacetime record in the face of a historic decline in GDP.

Sunak’s popularity with conservative lawmakers later waned after he raised income taxes in April to fund increased spending on health and social care, and announced plans to sharply increase corporate taxes in 2023.

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat and Attorney General Suella Braverman have also formally announced their nominations.

A source close to Hunt told British media that former Health and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who lost to Johnson in 2019, was “almost certain” from running again.

Johnson resists

Meanwhile, Johnson continued to resist demands to immediately step down and hand power to his deputy, Dominic Raab.

Johnson’s spokesman said there was no doubt that Raab would take over as caretaker.

The Prime Minister is acting in line with mores. He remains prime minister until a new party leader is appointed and the government’s work will continue until that is done.”

Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said the main opposition party was aiming for a vote of no-confidence in Parliament if the Conservatives did not get rid of Johnson immediately.

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“He’s a proven liar and he’s drenched in corruption and we can’t get another two months out of this,” she said in an interview with the BBC.

If they don’t, we will call a vote of no confidence because he clearly does not have the confidence of the House of Representatives [of Commons] or the British public.

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