Sunak Reportedly Finalises PR-Led Leadership Bid as He Thinks BoJo Won't Survive 'Partygate' Row

© REUTERS / Tolga Akmen/Pool via REUTERS/FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attends a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London, Britain March 3, 2021
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak attends a virtual press conference inside 10 Downing Street in central London, Britain March 3, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.01.2022
Earlier this week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear that he would not resign in the wake of the so-called "partygate" scandal - a series of alleged lockdown-breaking parties at his Downing Street office and residence held between 2020 and 2021.
British Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing a potential Tory leadership bid as he believes the "partygate" scandal could be "unsurvivable" for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, The Independent has reported.
The newspaper cited unnamed sources as saying that Sunak is putting the finishing touches on a PR-led leadership campaign, including a draft version of a campaign website inspired by his weekly No 11 newsletter and marketing strategy.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson listens during the weekly question time debate at Parliament in London, Britain, January 19, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.01.2022
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The sources claimed that the chancellor, who is seen as a possible successor to Johnson alongside Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, also spoke informally with former No 10 staffers and MPs to assess his chances of winning a contest if the PM is ousted by a no-confidence vote.

One of the sources pointed to a Twitter account called "Ready for Rishi" (@ForRishi), which calls itself "grassroots", with its latest tweet reading: "Time for a leader who doesn't break the rules #readyforrishi".

A source argued that a Met Police report on the alleged No 10 parties may put the brakes on Sunak's leadership plans, but added that "there's no question that Rishi and his team have got everything in place".

Insiders close to the chancellor, however, rejected claims they have prepared a campaign, telling The Independent that the allegations are "totally false".
The claims come after London's Metropolitan Police asked senior civil servant Sue Gray in charge of the eagerly-awaited report on a string of parties held at Johnson's official residence during the COVID-19 lockdowns to make "minimal reference" to any events that the Met is also probing, arguing that they want to avoid "any prejudice" to their own investigation.
When the police investigation into the "partygate" row began on Tuesday, the law enforcement agency said it did not believe there was a risk of prejudice.
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Earlier this week, Labour leader Keir Starmer referred to Sue Gray's report during PMQs in the House of Commons, asking Johnson whether No 10 would do as promised and publish the findings in full. The prime minister responded by saying he would do "exactly what he said", also making it clear that he would not step down amid the "partygate" scandal.
This was preceded by Johnson extending an apology in the Commons for attending one of the No 10 events being probed – a garden gathering on 20 May 2020, claiming he thought it was a "work event" at the time. He also urged people to wait for Gray to publish her findings, pledging he would then make a statement and answer MPs' questions.
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