Downing Street race: Rishi Sunak officially announces his candidacy

Britain’s former finance minister Rishi Sunak announced his candidacy for the post of Conservative Party leader and prime minister on Sunday after several days of speculation, during which he garnered the support of more than 100 MPs.

“I am running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister,” Sunak wrote on Twitter.

“The UK is a great country, but we are facing a deep economic crisis,” he added, assuring that he is able to “recover” the country’s economy and “unite” the conservative Party.

Although “the challenges we face now are even greater” than those posed by the pandemic, “the opportunities – if we get it right – are phenomenal,” he said. Promising to stick to the 2019 platform, which won the Tories 43.6% of the vote, Sunak stressed that under his leadership there will be “integrity, professionalism and accountability at all levels of government”.

“The choice our party makes now will decide whether the next generation of Britons will have more opportunities than the last,” he argued.

This announcement comes as Boris Johnson, who returned from his vacation in the Caribbean on Saturday, has still not started the race. The Minister for Relations with Parliament, Penny Mordaunt, is so far the only other candidate to have officially launched a campaign for the post.

Candidates have until 2:00 p.m. on Monday to muster 100 supporters. If a candidate reaches 158 nominations out of the 357 Tory MPs, the race will be reduced to two names, as there will not be enough MPs left to support a third.

The race will then be submitted to an online vote of some 200,000 members of the Conservative Party, the result of which will be announced on Friday. But if party MPs support only one candidate, the name of the next prime minister could be known as early as Monday afternoon.

According to the Daily Telegrah tally, Rishi Sunak now has 122 supporters, Boris Johnson 54 and Penny Mordaunt 24.

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