Suella Braverman

London: Britain’s recently-resigned Home Secretary Indian-origin Suella Braverman on Sunday came out in support of Rishi Sunak to replace outgoing Prime Minister Liz Truss as the candidate who can provide unity, stability and efficiency to the governing Conservatives.

In a boost to frontrunner Sunak and a blow to former prime minister Boris Johnson’s expected bid for Tory leadership, the former minister with significant support on the extreme right of Tory party said Johnson was no longer the best choice for the party or the country.

Her intervention comes just days after her dramatic exit from Cabinet over a breach of the ministerial code and a scathing attack on Truss’ leadership.

“We need unity, stability and efficiency. Rishi is the only candidate that fits the bill and I am proud to support him,” she writes in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“I have backed Boris from the start. From running alongside him in London in 2012, to supporting him to be our leader in 2019 and willing him to succeed throughout the travails of this year. His resignation in July was a loss for our country. But we are in dire straits now,” she said.

Braverman, the London-born daughter of a Goan-origin father and Tamil-origin mother, herself made a leadership bid in the last leadership election before throwing her weight behind Truss. Having served as Attorney General in the Johnson Cabinet, she described him as the right leader at the right time

“However, it would be naive to look back on those days with sentimentality. Today, the country is gripped by another crisis. People are worried about their livelihoods, how they will afford their bills and mortgages. Whether they will keep their jobs. Our economy has been bruised. Trust in politics is at a low. Our Conservative Party is divided and heading towards a wipeout,” she said.

“Things need to change. We, as a party, need to change. We need to provide leadership, stability and confidence to the British people I need a leader who will put our house in order and apply a steady, careful hand on the tiller. That person, for me, is Rishi Sunak,” she said.

The latest high-profile endorsement for Sunak further bolsters his chances in the leadership race, having notched up the backing of close to an estimated 136 MPs well above the 100-threshold required in time for the 1400 hours local time on Monday deadline.

Johnson, meanwhile, has also attracted significant Cabinet backing and his camp claims he will meet the 100-mark too. Third placed Penny Mordaunt is lagging behind with the least number of publicly backing MPs.

If there is a three-way clash, MPs will hold an indicative ballot on Monday to put forward the final two shortlisted candidates for an expedited online vote by around 170,000 Tory members, with the new leader elected by next Friday.

In case the party can ultimately unite behind one candidate, then the new leader and Prime Minister could be in place by Monday evening.

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