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Boris Johnson tries to gain support for his comeback bid as Altar races to become Britain's next prime minister

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CNN

Top Conservative politicians expressed their support for former finance minister Rishi Sunak, while Boris Johnson was struggling to gain enough support to make a stunning comeback as UK prime minister on Sunday.

The two men became early favorites to replace Liz Truss, who announced her resignation on Thursday in just six weeks at a time that plunged Britain into political and economic turmoil.

Sunak announced that he would take part in the competition on Sunday morning. In a tweet, he wrote, “The UK is a great country but we are facing a deep economic crisis. That is why I remain the Leader of the Conservative Party and your next Prime Minister. I want to fix our economy, unite our Party and surrender for our country.”

According to PA news, the former finance secretary has already reached the threshold of 100 nominations to make it to the voting stage, while Johnson’s allies said the former Prime Minister had returned from a Caribbean vacation with the intention of participating in the race, but has yet to announce that he is standing.

A runoff between the two men could be divisive for the ruling Conservative party, as many of Johnson’s supporters blame Sunak’s July resignation as triggering the collapse of his government. Some outlets claimed that the two men could come to some sort of agreement.

The BBC reported that there was a meeting between Johnson and Sunak, but “what they discussed was not disclosed”, while the UK’s PA Media news agency reported that the two were “spoken locked in talks until late in the evening” on Saturday.

Sky News, meanwhile, described the meeting as a “secret summit”.

If Sunak and Johnson decide to run, they will go up against House of Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt, who on Sunday said she regretted the so-called “mini-budget” that led to economic turmoil in the UK and Truss’ resignation.

“I regret the mini-budget…

The Conservatives held a leadership race for the last time – after the death of the Johnson government – with Truss first, Altar second and Mordaunt third.

Graham Brady, the Conservative official in charge of the process, said any candidate must nominate at least 100 of the party’s MPs by 2pm local time on Monday.

With the party having 357 deputies, the threshold effectively narrows the field of potential candidates to a maximum of three.

Only if a candidate meets this threshold will they automatically become leaders. Otherwise, the remaining candidates will be voted online by Conservative Party members, which will close on Friday, October 28.

Truss resigned on Thursday, just six weeks into his disastrous mandate that plunged Britain into deep political and economic turmoil. His successor will become the fifth Prime Minister to rule the country since he voted for Brexit in 2016.

Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labor Party, renewed his call for general elections on Sunday after claiming that people are “tired” of the Conservative leadership and the consequences of their government’s decisions.

“There is an election to be held. We need a general election! Let the people decide… Do they want to continue this absolute chaos, or do they want stability under the Labor government?” Starmer asked during a BBC interview.

Former Home Secretary Priti Patel on Saturday became one of Johnson’s most high-profile supporters in her quest to become Prime Minister. “Boris has the mandate to deliver our chosen manifesto and a proven track record of getting big decisions right,” he said.

But his possible return to top post divided opinion within the Conservative Party, and many lawmakers were horrified at the prospect of a second Johnson prime ministership.

Dominic Raab, Johnson’s former deputy prime minister and foreign secretary, told the BBC “we can’t go back”, noting that Johnson still faces an investigation into the so-called party gate scandal involving illegal gatherings in Downing Street.

The former Prime Minister is expected to appear in the next few weeks before the Commons Privileges Committee, which is investigating whether he has misled Parliament on the parties and could potentially see him suspended or expelled as a member of parliament.

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