Boris Johnson sends short message of congratulations to Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak paid tribute to Boris Johnson in his first public statement as Prime Minister - Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Rishi Sunak paid tribute to Boris Johnson in his first public statement as Prime Minister – Andrew Parsons/No10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson has urged the Tories to give Rishi Sunak “their full and wholehearted support” as he congratulated him on winning the Tory leadership race.

The former prime minister’s words came after he dropped out of the Tory leadership race – saying he had the nominations needed to be on the ballot, but admitting he couldn’t unite the party.

His withdrawal meant the end of the leadership race on Monday – with Mr Sunak’s other rival, Penny Mordaunt, unable to meet the nomination threshold to force a ballot among Tory members.

Shortly after Mr Sunak’s first speech as Prime Minister on Tuesday, Mr Johnson wrote on Twitter:

The former prime minister offered his congratulations a day after messages from Ms Truss and Ms Mordaunt.

It was also shorter and less expansive than the message he posted when Ms Truss won the competition to succeed him as Prime Minister.

On September 5, he wrote: “Congratulations to [Ms Truss] on his decisive victory. I know she has the right plan to tackle the cost of living crisis, unite our party, and continue the great work of unifying and leveling our country.

“Now is the time for all Tories to support her 100 per cent.”

Johnson supporters angry at demands to drop out

It comes after Mr Johnson’s supporters privately expressed anger that he claimed to have dropped out of the contest despite having enough nominations to continue.

In a statement on Sunday evening, Mr Johnson said there was a ‘very good chance’ he could have been back at No 10 by the end of the week had he stood up.

However, his efforts to ‘reach out’ to his rivals – Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt – to work together in the national interest had not been successful, so he was giving up.

Mr Sunak also paid tribute to his former boss in his first public statement as Prime Minister, telling the nation he will “always be grateful” to Mr Johnson for his “incredible achievements” in Number 10.

He pledged to abide by the Tories’ 2019 manifesto, insisting Mr Johnson would agree he is not “the sole property of any individual”.

He said: “I will always be grateful to Boris Johnson for his incredible achievements as Prime Minister and cherish his warmth and generosity of spirit.

“I know he would agree that the mandate my party won in 2019 is not the exclusive property of one individual, it is a mandate that belongs to and unites us all.”

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