Sunak warned he needs 150 votes to beat Boris otherwise he wins

Sunak will ‘need 150 votes’ says Lord Archer

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Boris Johnson will need the support of at least 100 Tory MPs if he is to make a spectacular comeback to replace Liz Truss who quit as Tory leader after just 44 days in No 10. Ms Truss’s resignation, signalling the end of the shortest term by any prime minister, followed a botched financial statement, the loss of two of her most senior Cabinet ministers and an open revolt by Tory MPs. Ex-Deputy Chairman of The Conservative party Lord Archer said Mr Johnson would win if the membership votes.

Speaking to LBC, Lord Archer said: “If Sunak got 150 in the first round, I think it’s all over. No one will bother.

“After the Truss problem with not having the people back her in the house, this isn’t going to work.

“But if you had two candidates say Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, and she got 110 and then it goes to the members, I think she would probably beat Sunak.

“Then there’s the third alternative. If somehow Boris could get 101 votes, he wins because if it goes to our membership in the country, he wins.

“Those are the three alternatives.

“The Sunak people must be sitting down tonight thinking, let’s get 150 because if we get that, it will end it.

“If he only gets 105 then it’s very open.”

Allies of former leader Mr Johnson pushed for him to make a return, less than two months after leaving office, while Rishi Sunak, who defeated Ms Truss among MPs in the last contest, is widely expected to stand.

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In an attempt to fast-track the process – and potentially eliminate the need for a vote among members – candidates will need the support of 100 of the 357 Tory MPs in Parliament to make it onto the ballot paper.

In the final ballot of the last contest, Mr Sunak had 137 votes, Ms Truss 113 and Penny Mordaunt – who would also be expected to stand again – 105.

Johnson loyalists were quick to say the former premier, who quit in a mire of sleaze, was the best choice to lead the party out of its current difficulties.

Trade minister Sir James Duddridge said he hoped Mr Johnson had enjoyed his Caribbean holiday but it was “time to come back” as there were a “few issues at the office that need addressing”.


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Cabinet Office minister Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “We need somebody who can turn the tide and avert the disaster of a Labour government. We need Boris Johnson.”

But in a sign of how divisive the former premier is, Tory veteran Sir Roger Gale pointed out Mr Johnson was still being investigated for potentially lying to MPs over the partygate scandal.

“Until that investigation is complete and he is found guilty or cleared, there should be no possibility of him returning to Government,” Sir Roger said.

Ms Truss’s announcement came a little over 24 hours after insisting she was “a fighter, not a quitter”.

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