LONDON: UK prime minister Boris Johnson has reportedly told defeated Conservative leadership candidates to back “anyone but Rishi” as he feels betrayed by the former chancellor of the exchequer.
Johnson is certain Sunak has been plotting his leadership bid for months and blames him for his downfall, according to a story in “The Times” in the UK.
The story, which cites anonymous sources, said Johnson was telling MPs knocked off the leadership race Sunak Murthy’s son-in law that he shouldn’t be UK PM.
Although publicly Johnson has refused to endorse any of the candidates, a source said Johnson “appeared most keen” on foreign secretary Liz TrussIt was also open for junior trade ministers Penny MordauntFor the highest job.
The Times quoted sources as saying: “The whole No. 10 hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vitriolic. They don’t blame Saj [Sajid Javid]He was the one who brought him down. They blame Rishi. They think he was planning this for months.”
One source told the Times Johnson was worried Sunak would go “soft” on Putin and another said that Johnson had been unhappy with Sunak’s lack of a compelling growth strategy when chancellor for months. Yet a Sunak ally rejected these allegations, saying: “Rishi led the way in enforcing the toughest sanctions on Russia.”
Sunak came under intense criticism in March over his multi-millionaire wife Akshata Murthy’s links to Infosys. His family were at the time accused of profiting from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime since Infosys had a presence in Moscow.
In an online hustings on Friday, Sunak said he would only deliver tax cuts “responsibly” after the UK was in the grip of inflation — which is what Thatcher did in the ’80s.
Asked what his greatest weakness was, he said: “I have a reputation for working hard and getting across the details. I think you have to make sure in these jobs, especially the more senior you get, that you don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. It’s getting that balance right between understanding every aspect of something and then realising I have done as much as I need to on that and my time is better spent elsewhere.”
He presented his vision of Britain as a country that is world-leading in innovation and education and becomes the hub for global economic changes. Businesses can also see the benefits from Brexit.
He claimed he was the right man to be PM because he could win in red-and-blue wall seats as well liberal-leading seats such as Amersham during the next general election.
He suggested that the best way for people to cope with the rising cost of living was to make sure they get well-paid jobs. We need to move people off welfare into work and make sure they get the skills needed for better paid jobs,” he told viewers.
Sunak’s main leadership rival, Penny Mordaunt, joked her biggest weakness were her four Burmese cats and introducing them to No. Larry, the Downing Street cat might have some problems with 10, however.