Emily Maitlis reveals Rishi Sunak’s ‘first hints’
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Rishi Sunak has taken aim at former Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his first speech outside Number Ten. Having previously served as Chancellor in Johnson’s Cabinet, the new Tory leader seized the opportunity to refute the concept that the electoral mandate for leadership can be held by any sole individual. His statement comes after some supporters of Boris Johnson claimed he was the only member of the Conservative Party that commanded the mandate awarded by the 2019 election victory.
In her analysis of Rishi Sunak’s Downing Street address, journalist Emily Maitlis said: “Make no mistake, he was talking about Boris Johnson when he said the mandate is not the sole property of any one individual.”
Speaking to members of the press gathered outside Number Ten, the new Prime Minister said: “I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his incredible achievements as Prime Minister, and I treasure his warmth and generosity of spirit.
“I know he would agree that the mandate my party earned in 2019 is not the sole property of any one individual, it is a mandate that belongs to and unites all of us.
“The heart of that mandate is our manifesto. I will deliver on its promise.”
Ms Maitlis continued her assessment of the speech: “What he is saying there is: Guess what? We don’t have a Presidential system, you didn’t elect Boris Johnson.
“You elected your MPs and your MPs came together and we formed the majority party and the next government as Conservatives
“I think what was interesting was Rishi Sunak was giving out those first hints that it was not going to be a ‘me, me me’ government – Boris Johnson’s letter on Sunday contained the word ‘I’ nearly two dozen times.
“I think the point that Rishi Sunak was subtly making, maybe not so subtly making, was this is about all of us and it doesn’t have to be about one big beast taking all the oxygen out of political life. It can be about a team of people who are trying to get the manifesto done and the mandate is our party.”
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During the Conservative leadership contest, Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries proclaimed: “One person was elected by the British public with a manifesto and a mandate until January 2025.
“If Liz Truss is no longer Prime Minister there can be no coronation of previously failed candidates. MPs must demand the return of Boris Johnson – if not it has to be a leadership election or a general election.”
Writing for the Daily Express, Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “The United Kingdom is facing many challenges. Challenges that need someone with boundless energy and a dogged determination to fix the problems. A person with a plan that already has the backing of the country.
“The person best suited to do that is Boris Johnson and that’s why I’m backing him to be leader of the Conservative Party and our Prime Minister. Not only because of his record of delivery but also because he has a mandate from the British people.”
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In his announcement confirming he would not run to become the next Tory leader, Boris Johnson acknowledged that he was “uniquely placed to avert a general election now” due to his leadership during the “massive election victory less than three years ago”.
Despite this, the former Prime Minister said the present was “simply not the right time” for his return to the forefront of politics, although he added that he would offer his support to whoever emerged triumphant in the contest.
In response to the announcement, Rishi Sunak said he hoped Johnson “continues to contribute to public life” despite his decision not to return to the top office.
In his first Cabinet reshuffle as Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has moved to build the promised “unity” within the party by appointing several loyal backers of Boris Johnson to his team, including James Cleverly and Nadhim Zahawi.
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