Compete for No10 LIVE: Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt in new Tory race for leadership after Liz Truss resigns after 44 days in Downing Street
Welcome to MailOnline’s live blog where you can follow all the twists and turns in the race for the next prime minister.
The battle for Downing Street is back in full swing today with Boris Johnson pushing for a ‘dream ticket’ comeback, with Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt frantically courting MPs.
The trio seem best placed to meet the high threshold of 100 politicians’ nominations to appear on the Tory leadership ballot – although it’s possible only one or two will make it to the numbers by Monday afternoon’s deadline.
Supporters of the ex-prime minister are calling for a shock return just six weeks after he was ousted from power amid a flurry of ministerial resignations over Partygate and sleaze. Some have speculated that as many as 140 of the 357 Conservative MPs could be behind him, making him almost unstoppable.
However, critics believe his fans are loud rather than numerous, predicting that he will not make it to 100. According to the ConservativeHome count, Mr. Sunak has been openly declared the current frontrunner with 35, while Mr. Johnson has 19 and Ms. Mordaunt, 11.
Mr Johnson is believed to be flying back early from his vacation in the Dominican Republic as he “takes polls” on whether he will run to take the helm after the humiliating resignation of Liz Truss.
But in one fell swoop, Tory MP and former ally Crispin Blunt warned that in addition to an “astonishing array of skills,” Mr Johnson also has “personal weaknesses.” “I don’t think we can go back there in the next two years,” the former minister told Sky News.
There are also concerns that some centrist MPs could lay down the Tory whip or even defect in protest because they find it unacceptable to lead. That could open the door for Keir Starmer to force snap elections and cause conservative extermination.
A staggering poll today shows the Tories 39 points behind Labour, on their lowest rating ever.