Sunak announces UK PM bid
Ex-chancellor vows to fix economy, deliver for country
Published: Oct 23, 2022 09:45 PM
British Conservative Rishi Sunak on Sunday announced he is standing to be prime minister, just weeks after failing in a first attempt and setting up a potentially bruising battle with his former boss Boris Johnson.

Ex-finance minister Sunak said he had a "track record of delivery" as he vowed to lead Britain out of a period of "profound economic crisis," which experts say has been worsened by the aborted policies of outgoing leader Liz Truss.

"I want to fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country," he said in a short statement posted on Twitter confirming his candidacy.

The no-frills announcement contrasted with his last failed bid to be Tory leader, when he faced criticism for a slickly produced video launched just days after he had helped depose ex-prime minister Johnson by resigning in July. 

Sunak is the second Conservative MP to declare a run at the top job after cabinet member Penny Mordaunt launched her campaign on Friday.

Johnson, 58, is also anticipated to enter the potentially weeklong contest, after he cut short a Caribbean holiday to return to Britain on Saturday and attempt an audacious political comeback less than two months after leaving office.

He is said to be intensely lobbying Conservative colleagues ahead of a Monday deadline to secure the 100 nominations required to face a vote of Tory MPs.

Sunak has raced ahead in that count, with the 42-year-old crossing the minimum threshold Friday and currently boasting the public backing of 129 Tory lawmakers, according to a BBC tally. That compares to Johnson's 53 and 23 for Mordaunt, though the ex-leader's allies insist he has already amassed the 100 nominations.

"We've got the numbers," Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris reiterated on Sunday, telling Sky News the ex-premier was "keen to see what the parliamentary party thinks."

The Tories have been forced into this second, now expedited, leadership contest since the summer following Truss' resignation after only 44 disastrous days into her tenure over her calamitous tax-slashing mini-budget.

If two candidates remain ­after Tory MPs vote Monday, the Conservatives' approximately 170,000 members will get to make their choice this week, with Johnson still seen as the favorite of the grass roots. 

The divisive Brexit architect only relinquished power in early September, two months after announcing his resignation following a government revolt over a slew of scandals.