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Boris Johnson withdraws from race to replace Truss

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he leaves 10 Downing Street in London on July 6, 2022, a day before announcing his resignation.

Boris Johnson on Sunday withdrew his bid to return as prime minister of the United Kingdom as the Conservative party scrambles to replace Liz Truss, who stepped down from the top job last week.

Johnson pulled out of the race after rivals said he would not have the necessary 100 members of parliament needed to qualify for the leadership contest, according to the Financial Times.

In his statement shared by the Financial Times, Johnson said he would have had enough votes and that he was “overwhelmed by the number of people who suggested that I should once again contest the Conservative party leadership.”

But he chose to withdraw because “you can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in parliament.”

“Therefore I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds,” Johnson said. “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”

The U.K. was thrown into chaos last week after Truss resigned as prime minister, just 44 days after she first took office.

Truss roiled economic markets after proposing to slash taxes dramatically, causing her to reverse course and then rapidly lose the support of her party.

Johnson, who faced a series of self-inflicted scandals and apparent lies while responding to them, quit in July after about three years as prime minister, making way for Truss.

When she resigned on Thursday, Johnson immediately threw his hat in the ring along with former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons.

Sunak is now the frontrunner in the race for next prime minister, according to UK outlets.

In a statement Sunday, Sunak said he has the “track record of delivery” as former chancellor and a “clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face.”

“I am asking you for the opportunity to help fix our problems,” he wrote. “To lead our Party and country forward towards the next General Election, confident in our record, firm in our convictions and ready to lead again.”

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