As Rishi Sunak left his home in west London on Friday, a woman reporter called out to him: “Will you be Prime Minister next week, Mr Sunak?” He didn’t reply.
Under the rules of the latest Tory party leadership contest, candidates will be required to hit a century before they are even allowed on to the pitch.
To put it another way, candidates will only be eligible if they can demonstrate that at least 100 Tory MPs (out of 357 in the Commons) support their bid by 2pm on Monday, after which there will be two ballots, at 6pm and 9pm respectively.
Then Tory party members will choose between two candidates, if this is required, in online voting. These are the stipulations set out by the “1922 committee”, representing backbench Tory MPs, which is chaired by Graham Brady.
Rishi, who remains the bookies’ favourite, ahead of Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt, has received the backing of the former deputy Prime Minister and foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, who said: “He has the plan and credibility to restore financial stability.” Rishi has received the backing of his Pakistani“friend”, former chancellor and health secretary, Sajid Javid, who backed Truss last time but who now tweeted thatit was “abundantly clear” that“Sunak should be the next Prime Minister”.
Mordaunt was the first to confirm she was running: “I’ve been encouraged by support from colleagues who want a fresh start, a united party and leadership in the national interest. I’m running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your PrimeMinister.”
One caller to the LBC talk radio commented on Friday: “If Rishi had been white, he would have been elected last time. Tory party members didn’t want a brown man.” “Are you saying they are racist?” asked the presenter James O’Brien.
“I’m sorry to say yes,” responded the caller.