Rishi Sunak set to be next Prime Minister after winning Conservative Party leadership race 3 months ago

Rishi Sunak set to be next Prime Minister after winning Conservative Party leadership race

A Prime Minister by default.

Rishi Sunak will be the next Prime Minister of the UK after rival Penny Mordaunt failed to secure enough backing from Tory MPs.

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Nominations from MPs in the leadership contest closed at 2 pm on Monday, and Mordaunt failed to reach the 100 nominations she needed to get onto the ballot.

And in the final moments before the deadline, Penny Mordaunt announced she was dropping out of the race.

After Boris Johnson dropped out of the race on Sunday night, this means that Sunak is the only person left in the contest and will therefore become the third Prime Minister in the last two months.

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The former Chancellor, who lost out to Liz Truss in the leadership contest just a couple of months ago, has managed to secure the backing of more than half the party's MPs. As the 2 pm deadline approached for Mordaunt though, she had the public backing of just 26.

There had been rumours that Johnson's supporters would choose to back Mordaunt in order to stop Sunak becoming the next Prime Minister, but it seems like this never came to fruition.

Mordaunt's team claimed to have 90 Tory MPs on her side and said that they were close to achieving the required backing. But fewer than 30 MPs had publicly backed her by the 2 pm deadline.

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Johnson dropped out of the race on Sunday night despite apparently securing the backing of the required 100 MPs for him to get on the ballot.

In a statement, he said that despite having the backing of the MPs required to run, he had come to the conclusion that "this would simply not be the right thing to do" as "you can't govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament".

He added: "In the last few days I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who suggested that I should once again contest the Conservative Party leadership, both among the public and among friends and colleagues in Parliament.

"I have been attracted because I led our party into a massive election victory less than three years ago - and I believe I am therefore uniquely placed to avert a general election now."

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Despite claiming to be "well placed to deliver a Conservative victory in 2024" and insisting he would have a "very good chance" at being successful in a vote of party members, the former PM said he had come to the conclusion that "this would simply not be the right thing to do", adding: "You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament."

It now remains to be seen whether Sunak can last longer in Number 10 than his predecessor Liz Truss did.