Rishi Sunak branded Boris return disaster in talks with ex-PM

Boris Johnson 'isn't somebody who can unite' Tory party says Marr

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Rishi Sunak reportedly did not hold back in his peace summit with Boris Johnson over the weekend before the ex-PM pulled out of the Tory leadership race. The pair met face-to-face at around 8pm on Saturday at the Millbank Tower in Westminster after hours of delays.

The ex-Chancellor and former Prime Minister are said to have barely communicated since Mr Sunak was instrumental in bringing down Mr Johnson in July.

But the two political heavyweights came together in a bid to thrash out an agreement over their Tory leadership bids.

They are said to have agreed the Conservatives face being wiped out if the party, which is set to have its third leader in just two months, is unable to get a grip.

But Mr Sunak and Mr Johnson reportedly agreed on little else.

And the former Chancellor did not hold back during the meeting, according to The Sun.

A Tory source told the newspaper: “It was friendly and cordial but the reality is Boris returning would be a disaster for the party and Rishi made that clear.”

A supporter of Mr Sunak added: “None of the problems that led to Boris Johnson’s downfall have been resolved.

“At best, they would’ve come back with a vengeance in coming weeks.”

The ex-PM is said to have made clear that if he and Mr Sunak put aside their differences they could unite the divided party and turn their attention to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

But Mr Johnson, who led the Tories to their biggest landslide in decades in 2019, reportedly insisted only he had a mandate to avoid a general election and demanded the top job in a joint ticket.

The offer did not persuade Mr Sunak, who is racing ahead in the ballot of Tory MPs and coud be crowned leader later today following Mr Johnson’s dramatic exit from the contest last night.

A minister said the pair “just don’t like each other very much” and that it was a “massive deal” for them to even be in the same room after Mr Sunak triggered Mr Johnson’s downfall over the summer with his resignation which had a domino effect.

The minister added: “And it did not get much further than that.”

It comes as Mr Johnson pulling out of the Tory race on Sunday, having never officially entered, has paved the way for Mr Sunak, who lost to Liz Truss over the summer, to become PM.

Mr Johnson, who touched down in Britain from the Caribbean on Saturday morning as speculation of a dramatic comeback went into overdrive, claimed he had the 100 nominations by Tory MPs needed to make it onto the ballot paper but admitted he could not unite his warring party.

Commons Leader Penny Mordaunt remains in the contest alongside Mr Sunak, but is trailing behind with the number of endorsements by fellow MPs.

With nominations due to close at 2pm today, Ms Mordaunt has limited time to secure the necessary backing.

If she does not get the numbers, Mr Sunak will be declared the new leader. If she does, there will then be a final online poll of Tory members to decide the outcome with the result due on Friday – unless one of the candidates pulls out.

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