FOR A FREE DAILY BRIEFING ON THE BIGGEST STORIES IN UK POLITICS, SIGN UP FOR THE INSIDE POLITICS EMAIL A FREE POLITICS EMAIL FROM US After a piece he penned supporting “Boris 2.0” was published shortly after Boris Johnson said he would not be running for prime minister, former chancellor Nadhim Zahawi came under fire.
In a Telegraph piece titled “Get ready for Boris 2.0, the guy who will make the Tories and Britain great again,” the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster endorsed Boris Johnson and praised the former leader for “getting the major calls right.”
The now-deleted comment piece was posted at 9.00 p.m., two minutes before Mr. Johnson declared he would not be seeking the position of party leader.
A day is a long time in politics, Mr. Zahawi later acknowledged, before endorsing Rishi Sunak as the man who might bring the party together and go on to win the leadership contest.
As Mr. Johnson’s term as prime minister was drawing to a close, Mr. Zahawi, the new chancellor, joined the long list of Conservative MPs urging him to resign, publicly stating: “You must do the right thing and quit immediately.”
For his string of U-turns backing and withdrawing support for Conservative Party leaders and contenders, Mr. Zahawi was made fun of on social media.
Find someone who sees you the way Nadhim Zahawi sees whoever is most likely to be in command of the Conservative Party next, wrote journalist Andrew Hunter Murray, who started the pile-on.
Mike Galsworthy, a researcher, added: “Does Nadhim Zahawi have zero respect for himself? It’s humiliating.
Ian Black, the leader of the SNP’s Westminster group, said: “This is plain embarrassing. In other words, if you don’t like these principles, I can give you some more.
Thousands of people criticized the senior Tory while Labour MP Sarah Owen remarked, “You have to wonder how he doesn’t get whiplash shifting directions that quickly?!” The MP was compared to a drunken nightclub patron before closing time.
After originally endorsing Boris Johnson, former home secretary Priti Patel declared her support for Rishi Sunak, who won the Conservative leadership race.
“In these challenging times for our country, we must unite by putting public service first and working together,” she wrote in a tweet.
Given the huge problems we face, we must set aside our political differences in order to offer RishiSunak the best chance of success.
“Well that was surprising,” said Tory MP James Duddridge, who supported Mr. Johnson and was convinced he would run. After declaring his withdrawal from the campaign, the former prime minister said, “Off to bed!”