Rishi Sunak has warned he risks doing damage by challenging future Tory leadership by not taking sides with Boris Johnson
- One of the ministers accused him of being “missing” whenever there was a problem
- But the Allies rejected allegations that his support for the prime minister was only lukewarm
feathery Sunak warned last night that he risks hurting his hopes of challenging the leadership by withholding support from Boris Johnson.
Senior Conservatives said the chancellor was in danger of jumping the gun in a contest that has yet to start and may not even happen.
One cabinet minister accused Sunak of being “missing” whenever a problem occurred.
A Downing Street source said his absence at the prime minister’s hour of need “speaks for itself”.
Rishi Sunak was warned last night that he risks damaging his hopes of challenging the leadership by withholding support from Boris Johnson
But the Treasury has flatly denied reports that Mr. Sunak had considered resigning in protest of the handling of the party shutdown issue in 10th place – and insisted Johnson had his full support.
The chancellor’s allies dismissed claims that his support for the prime minister was only lukewarm – one saying he used the wording suggested by Number 10.
The chancellor raised eyebrows on Wednesday when he chose to go ahead with the Devon engagement rather than support Boris Johnson in an agonizing prime minister’s question-and-answer session.
Surprise turned to anger when Mr Sunak took hours to offer even tepid public support to the prime minister, who had to apologize for attending a closing ceremony.
Mr. Sunak’s letter, sent eight hours after the Prime Minister’s questions, made it clear that he had been out all day, adding simply: “The Prime Minister was right to apologise and I support his request for patience while Sue Gray [senior civil servant] Being inquired. A former minister said Mr. Sunak showed “naivety” by publicly distancing himself from the troubled prime minister.
The Treasury has emphatically denied reports that Mr Sunak had considered resigning in protest of the handling of the party shutdown issue at number 10 – and insisted Mr Johnson had his full support.
“If you are in the government and the prime minister is having difficulty, you stand by him and give your support, it will not disappear until 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 impressed – it hurt him.
Another senior lawmaker questioned whether Sunak had served his interests by walking away “blatantly”.
“It makes you wonder if he wished for the crown so early and so passionately,” the source told the Daily Mail. “It’s ridiculous for him to do that.”
A Cabinet source said the chancellor was “in danger of overusing his hand,” adding that he and Secretary of State Liz Truss – who posted a supportive tweet about the prime minister, though she did so later than the chancellor – jumped the gun at the maneuver for leadership.
“Rishi made the mistake of walking away yesterday,” the source added. This isn’t the first time it’s gone when there’s a problem. Too bad Liz – they are both masters of the act of invisibility. people notice.
Yesterday, Priti Patel seemed to distance herself from Mr. Sunak when she spoke out in support of Johnson. When asked whether she, like the chancellor, retains judgment on the Prime Minister’s conduct until after the publication of Miss Gray’s report, the Home Secretary replied: ‘No! Quite the contrary.’
A British government source said Sunak’s message about the controversy simply reflected the wording proposed by Henry Newman, the 10th assistant minister.
The source said, “If I had been in Rishi’s place, I would have been a bit distressed by these allegations of disloyalty. His tweet followed almost word for word the proposed phrase from Henry Newman which was sent to ministers around 3pm on Wednesday. It was weak, and a lot of ministers made their own version, but that’s what the number 10 said they wanted.
An ally of the chancellor also stressed that the wording of Mr Sunak’s letter was almost identical to that of fellow cabinet ministers Steve Barclay and Alok Sharma, and similar to that of pro Nadine Dorries.
“Almost every government minister’s tweet was the same,” the source said. “Some may have put a little fluff around it, but Rishi is not a fluffy man.”
The ally said Mr Sunak’s message of support was delayed in part because the chancellor was closed for an evening meeting with the prime minister.
Mr. Sunak yesterday sent his deputy, Simon Clark, to the airwaves to publicly defend his position. The Treasury secretary said the chancellor had been “very clear about his support for the prime minister”.
Former Treasury Secretary David Gauke said potential leadership candidates should tread with caution, telling Sky News: “If you serve in Cabinet, being seen as an open conspirator hurts your prospects.”