Boris Johnson’s ‘anyone but Rishi Sunak’ posturing as UK PM race heats up

Vote for “anyone but Rishi Sunak” is Boris Johnson’s message to his allies as the race to choose Britain’s next prime minister heats up, local media reported. Boris Johnson, who found himself in a puddle of scandals in the middle of his tenure as the UK PM, was forced to resign his post and as the leader of the Conservative Party.

The UK’s caretaker PM has been urging Tory candidates, who are losing to Sunak in the initial rounds, not to back his former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Even as Johnson said that he would stay away from the contest and not endorse or publicly intervene in the election process, he reportedly spoke with failed contenders to get them to not back Sunak.

Johnson and his camp are allegedly running a hidden campaign – “anyone but Rishi” – over the outgoing PM’s feeling of betrayal after Sunak resigned. Although Johnson was flooded by resignations in his last few days at work, Sunak’s dealt the last and the most lethal blow to his premiership and led to his exit from 10 Downing Street.

“The whole No 10 (Downing Street) team hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vitriolic. They don’t blame Saj (Sajid Javid) for bringing him down. They blame Rishi. They think he was planning this for months,” The Times quoted a source as saying, reported PTI.

However, according to other reports, one of Johnson’s close allies denied the claims that the outgoing PM wants “anyone but Rishi” to win while also admitting that Johnson is hurt and angry with Sunak’s “betrayal”.

Rishi Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys founder NR Narayan Murthy, has been the clear winner of the first two rounds of voting by Tory Members of Parliament. He will now appear in a series of televised debates with his remaining opponents.

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Even as Sunak is on a winning streak, his campaign has been marred by a dirty dossier doing rounds to bring him down.

Days after Sunak dropped his campaign video on Twitter, an old video of him began making rounds on social media. The widely circulated video, where a 21-year-old Rishi Sunak is seen saying that he does not have any working-class friends, created quite a buzz.

Last Sunday, reports of damaging briefings against Sunak and a so-called “mucky memo” or “dirty dossier” began doing rounds on the Tory WhatsApp group.

The 424-word attack, accessed by ‘The Sunday Telegraph’, had personal attacks, branding the Indian-origin British MP a “schoolboy” and a “liar” who cannot be trusted on tax.


Rishi Sunak made history in 2020 when he was appointed to the most important UK Cabinet post – Chancellor of the Exchequer. The minister gained popularity for his economic package to aid businesses and employees as an unprecedented pandemic gripped the country and the world.

However, his massive popularity took a huge hit over his wealthy wife’s non-domiciled tax status and the ‘partygate’ scandal, among other issues. Boris Johnson, his ministers and aides were caught breaching Covid rules and organising lockdown parties at government offices, including 10 Downing Street. Sunak was even fined by the London Police.

The scandal proved to be the death knell for the political career of Boris Johnson, who soon found himself inundated with resignations.

(With input from PTI)

Also Read: | Who is Rishi Sunak, one of the favourites to replace Boris Johnson as British PM

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