• Thursday, July 18, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Sunak expected to remain Tory leader if party loses election: Report

Cabinet ministers have requested Sunak remain party leader until September to avoid chaos following a potential Labour victory.

Earlier, in his resignation speech, Sunak took responsibility for the party’s election loss. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Rishi Sunak is expected to stay on as Tory leader if he loses the election to prevent party infighting and to ensure an orderly transition.

Cabinet ministers have requested Sunak remain party leader until September to avoid chaos following a potential Labour victory, The Times reported.

A veteran Tory MP told the newspaper, “It’s an excruciating and humiliating thing for a defeated party leader to have to go through. If he called this election because he’d had enough, he won’t take kindly to being asked to stay on.”

Sunak’s allies indicated he would do “whatever is needed of him by the party” to ensure “consistency and stability” during the leadership race. There are worries about another civil war within the party over its future direction.

Suella Braverman, former home secretary, said the Conservative Party must “read the writing on the wall” and “prepare for the reality and frustration of opposition.”

Polls suggest several potential successors to Sunak, including Penny Mordaunt, Grant Shapps, and Robert Jenrick, may lose their seats. Likely contenders if they lose are Kemi Badenoch, James Cleverly, Priti Patel, Tom Tugendhat, and Victoria Atkins.

The 1922 Committee, which oversees Tory election contests, will need a new chairman and other senior roles. Richard Holden, the party chairman, might lose his seat if polls are correct.

A cabinet minister told The Times, “We are seeking to persuade Rishi and his team to stay on and provide some continuity. We want him to, at the very least, do what Michael Howard did in 2005, and remain in place until the leadership election is complete. Once we get through election day, that will be communicated to him very clearly. We don’t want him to do a David Cameron.”

Cameron resigned abruptly as prime minister in 2016 after losing the EU referendum. He remained prime minister until the Tory leadership contest ended two days later.

Another senior minister told the newspaper, “He needs to stay on for a while for the good of the party. Not doing so would be an unfortunate end to a difficult time and would have an impact on his legacy. The reality is that in a few years, he may be seen as someone who went through a very difficult period and provided stability and there’s honour in that. But that would be a more difficult thing to argue in the event it was an immediate goodbye.”

Britons began voting on Thursday in the general election that is expected to bring Keir Starmer’s Labour Party to power after 14 years of Tories.

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