Brexit: Starmer says there’s ‘no going back’
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Lord Michael Howard has urged Conservative MPs to rally behind Rishi Sunak’s bid to become Prime Minister, saying his premiership could match the ones of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. Like the two former Prime Ministers, Rishi Sunak would face an economy in dire straits, with galloping inflation fuelled by soaring energy and food prices, if he becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party. Given his credentials as the former Chancellor, the Conservative Lord believes Mr Sunak could tackle the economic crisis.
Looking back at history, Lord Howard said: “I think Rishi Sunak match those heights, those of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, and can deliver a really formidable leadership, which is what we so badly need.
However, LBC presenter Nick Ferrari said voters “are not forgiving of” leaders and their cabinet when they bankrupt the economy, citing Sir John Major or Gordon Brown.
Lord Howard said: “You’re right but there are other examples from history to look at.
“I remember the Suez campaign – probably you’re much too young to remember that, Nick”, the Lord told to a Nick Ferrari in stitches.
Laughing, Mr Ferrari replied: “I have read about it, Sir.”
Sir Howard continued: “That was an even greater national humiliation than the one we’ve had over the last few weeks.
“And there was a change of Prime Minister. And two years later, the new Prime Minister Harold MacMillan won the Conservative Party majority of 100.
“So, all is far from lost. We can do something like that again. And Conservative members of Parliament, if they want to keep their seats really must do note and unite with Rishi Sunak.”
Rishi Sunak appears to be edging closer to winning the Tory leadership race, as his only rival – Penny Mordaunt – is lagging far behind him, with fewer than 30 supporters who have publicly backed her.
The leader of the House of Commons is racing against the clock to secure the 100 votes required to qualify for the race. If she fails to reach the threshold, Mr Sunak will become the Prime Minister without going through a leadership contest.
Boris Johnson seemed to be about to throw his hat in the ring but he dropped out of the race at the last minute, saying his re-election would further split the Conservative Party.
Despite his best efforts to rally both Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt behind his bid, Mr Johnson failed to gain their support.
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In a statement, he said: “In the course of the last days, I have sadly come to the conclusion that this would simply not be the right thing to do. You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”
As support is flooding in for Rishi Sunak’s candidacy, the former Chancellor has reportedly gained the backing of more than half of Tory MPs, with the tally rising above 178 of the 357 Tory MPs.
The Penny Mordaunt camp is reportedly “deeply split” over whether they should keep supporting Ms Mordaunt, with Dame Andrea Leadsom urging her to fight on while other PM supporters are calling on her to end the contest.
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