LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly told defeated conservative candidates for leadership to support “everyone except Rishi” because he feels betrayed by the former finance minister.
Johnson is convinced that Sunak has been planning his leadership bid for months and has blamed him for his demise, according to a story in “The Times” in the UK.
Citing a series of anonymous sources, the story said Johnson told MPs who had been knocked out of the race for leadership that Sunak, Narayana Murthy’s son-in-law, should not be British Prime Minister.
Although Johnson has publicly declined to back any of the candidates, a source said Johnson “seemed the most excited” about Secretary of State Liz Truss and was also open to the Deputy Minister of Commerce Penny Mordaunt for the top job.
The Times quoted sources as saying: “The whole number 10 team hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vicious. They don’t blame Saj [Sajid Javid] to take him down. They blame Rishi. They think he had been planning this for months.”
One source told the Times that Johnson feared Sunak would become “soft” on Putin, and another said Johnson had been unhappy for months with Sunak’s lack of a compelling growth strategy as chancellor. But a Sunak ally dismissed these allegations, saying, “Rishi has been at the forefront of enforcing the toughest sanctions against Russia.”
Sunak came under fierce criticism in March over his multimillionaire wife Akshata Murthy’s ties to Infosys. His family was accused at the time of taking advantage of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime since Infosys was present in Moscow.
In an online hush on Friday, Sunak said he would only make “responsible” tax cuts after the UK was in the throes of inflation – which Thatcher did in the 1980s.
When asked what his biggest weakness was, he said: “I have a reputation for working hard and getting the details across. I think in these jobs you have to take care of it, especially the higher you go, that your perfection is not the Enemy of the good. It’s striking the right balance between understanding every aspect of something and then realizing that I’ve done as much as I needed to and that my time could be better spent elsewhere.”
He outlined his vision of the UK as a country leading the world in education, innovation and technology, becoming the epicenter for the changes happening in the global economy, and showing business the benefits of Brexit.
He said he was the right person to become prime minister, as he could win in the next general election in seats with red and blue walls and in Liberal-leading seats such as Amersham.
He said the best way to help people with the cost of living crisis “is to make sure they have well-paying jobs. We need to move people from welfare to work and make sure they get the skills they need.” for better paying jobs,” he told viewers.
Sunak’s main rival, Penny Mordaunt, joked that her biggest weakness was her four Burmese cats, and introducing them to No. 10 could pose some challenges for Larry, the Downing Street cat.