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The former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has on Saturday returned to Britain from a holiday which he had taken to launch an audacious political comeback, as Conservative leadership rival Rishi Sunak had managed to reach the minimum threshold to contest the UK’s top job.
Johnson had reportedly cut short a Caribbean trip to finally join the seemingly three-person race which had opened up to replace outgoing leader Liz Truss, with allies telling British media that he was “up for it”.
The divisive 58-year-old Brexit architect had only relinquished power in early September, two months after he had announced his resignation which had been following a Tory revolt over a slew of scandals.
His apparent bid to return to office just weeks later has already been decried by opposition politicians and even some in his own fractured ruling party who had argued that both it and the country need stability and unity.
“We’ve got to go forward, not go back,” Dominic Raab — Johnson’s deputy prime minister — told Sky News, adding an imminent parliamentary inquiry into the “Partygate” scandal that dogged his former boss could prove too distracting.
Raab said former finance minister Sunak’s economic experience meant he was the “standout candidate”.
The Tories had been forced into a second, this time expedited, leadership contest since the summer after Truss dramatically announced Thursday she would stand down — just 44 tempestuous days into her tenure.
It followed a disastrous tax-slashing mini-budget that had sparked economic and political turmoil which had been predicted by Sunak.
In a sign of the toll from the tumult, ratings agency Moody’s said Friday it had downgraded Britain’s outlook, blaming in part “heightened unpredictability in policy making”.
Meanwhile, the pound — which hit a record low against the dollar in the mini-budget’s immediate aftermath, but had since rallied — slumped.