Boris Johnson ‘up for it’ as Penny Mordaunt vies to become UK’s fourth female Prime Minister

London: Former British prime minister Boris Johnson has expressed confidence that he can win back his old job, despite being ousted by his colleagues just three months ago.

Johnson, who was absent from the House of Commons during the shambolic scenes that caused Liz Truss’ 44-day premiership to finally collapse, has returned home from his Carribean holiday to rally support.

Former British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson.Credit:Getty

Conservative MP James Duddridge who had publicly led calls for Johnson to return to his post, said he had spoken to the former prime minister via WhatsApp.

According to local media, Duddrige said that Johnson told him that he was ‘coming back and is up for it’ and ‘I’m going to do it’.”

Some MPs were threatening to quit if Johnson, who was ousted just three months ago after losing the confidence of the partyroom, was reinstated.

Running as an unaligned “unity candidate,” the Leader of the Commons Penny Mordaunt declared she was running.

Mordaunt came third in the MPs vote and will need to beat Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak if she is to become Britain’s fourth female prime minister.

“I’ve been encouraged by support from colleagues who want a fresh start, a united party and leadership in the national interest,” she said on Twitter.

“I’m running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your prime minister – to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next general election,” she said.

Conservative leadership hopeful Penny Mordaunt.Credit:Bloomberg

Mordaunt will need the endorsement of 100 MPs and had less than 20 when she declared.

Both Sunak and Johnson’s teams were gathering numbers with Sunak gaining momentum. Based on public declarations made by MPs, Sunak is in the lead.

But neither man had declared themselves a candidate, with three days left until the first round of voting begins.

A maximum of three candidates can stand based on the number of Conservative MPs and the 100-vote threshold required to nominate.

If three candidates nominate, a first round of voting will knock out any third candidate leaving the final two. A further indicative vote will be held to signal to members the MPs’ preferred candidates, to try and avoid a rerun of the Truss scenario where members voted for the candidate who had the least support of MPs.

It’s possible that just one candidate could emerge by the end of nomination and voting on Monday, and if so, would see the installation of the UK’s next prime minister earlier than next Friday.

But if the poll goes to an online vote of members, the result won’t be known until Friday.

Truss remains prime minister until she visits the King.

Sunak supporters were heartened by a poll which found that the former Chancellor of the Exchequer would pose the strongest challenge to Labour leader Keir Starmer.

Former chancellor Rishi SunakCredit:AP

However, a separate poll found that if an election were held today, Starmer would defeat all candidates and return Labour to power after 12 years in the political wilderness.

Labour wants a general election but one is not due for another two years.

Opinium’s survey of 1350 British adults asked participants who they thought the Conservative Party should choose as it’s next prime minister.

Sunak beat Mordaunt 45 per cent to 23 per cent and also outranked Johnson 44 per cent to 31 per cent.

You Gov found that Starmer was preferred to all three candidates and had Labour polling at 56 per cent compared to 19 per cent for the Conservatives and 10 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

George Brandis with Liz Truss in London after she became Conservative Party leader. Just 45 days later, she announced her resignation.

Starmer called on Truss to decline the £115,000 annual allowance allocated to former prime ministers.

“She has not earned the right to that entitlement. In my view, she should turn it down,” he said.

If Truss lives to 85 years of age, she would benefit roughly £60,000 ($106,205) for each of the 44 days that she spent in office, based on a lifetime pension totalling £2.7 million ($4.7 million) at net present value.

Truss’ spokesman did not address the question when asked if Truss would forgo the sum.

She is expected to vanish from public life following her disastrous attempt at governing.

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