RISHI Sunak has reportedly urged Sajid Javid to step aside and support his own leadership bid – as 15 more Tories are expected to enter the race.
It’s understood the ex-Chancellor’s allies have contacted Mr Javid’s friends to warn he doesn’t have the support to become PM.
Rishi Sunak has reportedly warned Sajid Javid off running for Tory leader – as the men would be ‘competing for the same votes’
Mr Sunak is currently the favourite to become the new PM
They said the men are competing for the same voters – and Mr Javid must instead step down his bid and back Mr Sunak, according to The Times.
Mr Sunak was the first big beast to go public with his bid to become leader as 19 Tories — including a host of no-marks — weigh up tilts at the top job.
Of that number, more than 15 are expected to take a punt.
However, the race for No10 is expected to be scaled back to just four candidates by next week.
The party’s ruling backbench 1922 Committee will meet on Monday to determine the length of the contest and raise the bar to avoid no-hopers slowing it down.
It is expected that candidates will have to secure the names of 20 colleagues to get on the ballot.
Boris Johnson has vowed to stay on until his successor is appointed.
The new prime minister will be in place by September 5, The Telegraph reports.
A senior party source told the paper: “We want to reduce the field to serious candidates and if you can’t get a reasonable proportion of the party to support you, we don’t want grandstanders.”
Mr Sunak is currently the clear favourite with bookies.
The 42-year-old has unveiled a website as part of a polished campaign launch, with the slogan ‘Ready For Rishi’.
And it’s claimed Mr Javid’s colleagues have already turned against him, with sources saying he “completely lost the room” while delivering his resignation statement in the Commons.
However, the battle for the job is set to be a bloody one, with runners and riders queuing up to launch their bids.
Moderate Tom Tugendhat, another declared candidate, told HOAR he would slash VAT and business tax, plus tariffs on imported food and clothes.
Liz Truss, who also plans to run, told colleagues she is the only contender who can keep the Boris legacy going.
It comes as:
- Rishi Sunak launches his leadership bid – but offers no quick fixes for cost-of-living crisis
- A major crunch meeting on Monday will decide how long Boris stays on
- Nadhim Zahawi says he’ll slash taxes as he prepares to run
- Top Tories have demanded that the PM is replaced as quickly as possible
- And Mr Johnson’s new team was thrown together so quickly it’s been dubbed the ‘Ikea cabinet’
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was discussing a leadership bid with his family, with allies confident he has the support to get on the ballot.
Boris assassin Mr Javid has not yet announced his candidacy, although it’s expected both he and current Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi are poised to do so in the coming days.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is considering an outsider bid, with Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt an activists’ fave.
Allies say former Health Secretary and 2019 runner up Jeremy Hunt was “certain to run” and friends of ultra-Boris loyalist Nadine Dorries said she was considering running to “keep the BoJo flame alive”.
Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has announced her candidacy, and appears to be backing lower taxes and a “limited Government focused on the essentials”.
Suella Braverman was the first to announce she’d run. She received a major boost after leading Brexiteer Steve Baker decided not to compete and threw his weight behind her instead.
Ladbrokes says Braverman is the “one to watch”, with her odds slashed from 100/1 at the start of the week to just 20/1 this morning.
Allies of Priti Patel said she was seriously considering running and compared her to Margaret Thatcher.
Backbencher John Baron and fellow anonymous Tory Rehman Chishti are weighing up their chances, while even veteran David Davis was said to be ringing round to see if he can get any support.
A poll of Tory members by Opinium for Channel 4 News put Mr Sunak on 25 per cent, just ahead of Liz Truss on 21 per cent.
Mr Wallace, while the bookies’ favourite, was only on 12 per cent, while Mr Zahawi was on six per cent.
Johnson fired the starting gun on the race on Thursday when he reluctantly quit.
In a defiant speech, he described his colleagues’ decision to oust him as “eccentric” and the result of “herd instinct”.
He is currently running the country with a ‘zombie cabinet’, and yesterday appointed loyalist Peter Bone as deputy leader of the House of Commons.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has made clear he will push for a general election.
At a press conference, he said: “If there’s a general election, this Government will fall and we’ve got a plan for the country.”
Boris Johnson fired the starting pistol on the race when he reluctantly resigned this week
Priti Patel is reportedly considering a run, with friends comparing her to Margaret Thatcher
Mr Javid, who set dominoes falling when he and Mr Sunak resigned, is planning to compete