Rishi Sunak warned that he risks damaging his future Tory leadership challenge if he does not stand by the Prime Minister

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Rishi Sunak warned that he risks damaging his future Tory leadership challenge if he does not stand by Boris Johnson

  • One cabinet minister accused him of “disappearing” when problems arise
  • But the Allies rejected claims that his support for the prime minister was only lukewarm










Rishi Sunak was warned last night that he risks damaging his hopes for a leadership challenge if he maintains support for Boris Johnson.

Older Conservatives he said the chancellor is in danger of skipping a contest that has not yet begun and may not take place at all.

One cabinet minister accused Mr Sunak of “disappearing” whenever problems arise.

A Downing Street the source said his absence in the prime minister’s hour of need “speaks for itself”.

Rishi Sunak was warned last night that he risks damaging his hopes for a leadership challenge if he maintains support for Boris Johnson.

But the finance ministry vehemently denied reports that Mr Sunak was considering resigning in protest of resolving the issue of closed parties at no. 10 – and insisted that Mr Johnson had his full support.

The chancellor’s allies rejected claims that his support for the prime minister was only lukewarm – with one saying he used the text proposed by number 10.

The chancellor raised his eyebrows on Wednesday as he decided to continue his engagement in Devon instead of supporting Boris Johnson in a tumultuous meeting of the prime minister’s questions.

The surprise turned to anger when it took Mr Sunak a few hours to offer even the most lukewarm public support to the Prime Minister, who was forced to apologize for attending a party due to the closure.

Mr Sunak’s message, sent eight hours after the PMQ, explained that he had been out all day, simply adding: “The Prime Minister was right to apologize and I support his request for patience, while Sue Gray [senior civil servant] make her inquiry. ‘ One former minister said Sunak showed “naivety” when he publicly distanced himself from the troubled prime minister.

The Ministry of Finance vehemently denied reports that Mr Sunak was considering resigning in protest of resolving the issue of closed parties at no.  10 - and insisted that Mr Johnson had his full support

The Ministry of Finance vehemently denied reports that Mr Sunak was considering resigning in protest of resolving the issue of closed parties at no. 10 – and insisted that Mr Johnson had his full support

“If you are in government and the prime minister is in trouble, you stand by his side and offer your support, you do not disappear to the end of the country,” the MP said.

“It shows not only a lack of loyalty, but also a lack of experience. Colleagues are not thrilled – it hurt him.”

Another senior judge wondered if Mr Sunak was serving his best interests when he so ‘obviously’ stayed away.

“You’re wondering if he wants the crown a little too quickly and a little too zealously,” a source told the Daily Mail. “It’s stupid of him to do that.”

A cabinet source said the chancellor was “in danger of playing his hand”, adding that he and Foreign Minister Liz Truss – who posted a supporting tweet about the prime minister, although she did so later as chancellor – skipped a gun when maneuvering for leadership.

“Rishi made a mistake yesterday when he stayed away,” the source added. ‘It’s not the first time he’s disappeared when there are problems. Liz is so bad – they are both masters of the vanishing act. People notice. ‘

Arriving Patel yesterday seemed to be distancing herself from Mr. Sunak when she spoke in support of Mr. Johnson. Asked whether, like the Chancellor, she had retained her assessment of the Prime Minister’s conduct pending the publication of Mrs Gray’s report, the Home Secretary replied: ‘No! Quite the opposite. ‘

A source in Whitehall said Mr Sunak’s message on the controversy simply reflected a text proposed to ministers by Assistant No. 10 Henry Newman.

The source said: “If I were Rishi, I would feel a little offended by these allegations of infidelity. His tweet almost word for word followed Henry Newman’s suggested phrase sent to ministers on Wednesday around 3pm. It was weak and many ministers made their version, but number 10 said they wanted to. ‘

The Chancellor’s ally also pointed out that the text of Mr Sunak’s message was almost identical to that of fellow cabinet ministers Steve Barclay and Alok Sharma, and similar to that of the loyal Nadine Dorries.

“The tweet of all the ministers in the cabinet was the same,” the source said. ‘Some may have been a little confused, but Rishi is not a fluffy guy.’

The ally said the message of support for Mr Sunak was late in part because the chancellor was imprisoned in an evening meeting with the prime minister.

Mr Sunak sent his deputy, Simon Clark, on the air yesterday to publicly defend his position. The chief finance minister said the chancellor was “completely clear about his support for the prime minister”.

Former Treasury Secretary David Gauke said potential candidates for leadership need to be cautious. He told Sky News: “If you serve in the cabinet, then seeing you as an outspoken conspiracy is detrimental to your chances.”

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