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Priti Patel rules out leadership bid as more heavyweights back Rishi Sunak – Times of India

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British MP Priti Patel is no more a part of the PM race

LONDON: Conservative MP Rishi Sunak’s hopes of replacing UK prime minister Boris Johnson as Tory leader were given a major boost on Tuesday as deputy PM Dominic Raab, former health secretary Matt Hancock and transport secretary Grant Shapps all threw their support behind his campaign. Shapps dropped out of the leadership contest to back Sunak and said Sunak has “the competence and experience to lead the country”.
Hancock said Sunak has the “character, experience and plan to get the UK through” the current headwinds and to win the next general election.
Raab said Sunak is “a true Conservative imbued — by his parents and grandparents who first came here in the 1960s — with values of enterprise, hard work and family. Rishi’s values are our values. Only Rishi can beat Labour.”
The former chancellor of the exchequer launched his campaign at Westminster on Tuesday and, when asked about the toxic smear campaign against him, said he would run a “positive campaign” focused on what his leadership would offer and not smear other candidates for whom he had enormous respect.
“I will not engage in the negativity that you may have seen in the media. If others wish to do that then let them. That is not who we are. We can be better,” he said to huge applause. “I want to run an entirely positive campaign. When this is done we will get back together to serve the British people.”
He also heaped praise on Johnson, describing him as “one of the most remarkable people” he had ever met and said he would not rewrite history and “demonise him”. “I won’t pretend now the things I voted for and the choices I made were somehow not necessary. Whilst that may be politically inconvenient for me, it is also the truth,” he said, adding resigning as chancellor “was an incredibly difficult and sad decision”.
“Did I disagree with him? Frequently? Is he flawed? Yes. And so are the rest of us. Was it no longer working? Yes, and that is why I resigned,” Sunak said.
“We need a return to traditional conservative economic values and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairytales. It is not credible to promise lots more spending and lower taxes. Once we have gripped inflation, I will get the tax burden down,” the former treasury chief said.
He said his Partygate fine and his wife’s non-dom status were not “in his closet”.
“I referred myself to Lord Geidt who described my behaviour and conduct as meticulous and found no conflicts, and my wife made her own statement at the time and I respect that. I will continue to ensure we have very high standards in public office,” Sunak said.
The timetable for the Tory party leadership contest was announced on Monday. Candidates need the support of at least 20 MPs to make it onto the ballot and the first round of voting will take place on Wednesday. Sunak already has more than 40 backers.
Johnson’s allies — culture secretary Nadine Dorries and minister for Brexit opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg — announced on Tuesday they were supporting foreign secretary Liz Truss, who has been dubbed the “stop Rishi” candidate, whilst home secretary Priti Patel announced she would not be entering the leadership race. The new PM is expected to be announced on September 5.
[Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt and Tory backbencher Tom Tugendhat are the others in the running to hit the requisite 20-MPs mark, according to PTI. New chancellor Nadhim Zahawi claims he has the required numbers too and others expected to run include Indian-origin attorney general Suella Braverman, Nigerian-origin Kemi Badenoch, former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, foreign office minister Rehman Chishti and former health secretary Sajid Javid, the news agency reported.]

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