Boris Johnson ends bid to return as UK’s next prime minister | News

Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dropped a bid to steer the Conservative Get together, ending a short-lived, high-profile try to return to a job he was faraway from little greater than three months in the past.

His withdrawal on Sunday leaves former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak the sturdy favorite to turn out to be the UK’s subsequent prime minister — the third this 12 months — at a time of political turmoil and extreme financial challenges.

Johnson had raced dwelling from a vacation within the Caribbean to attempt to safe the backing of 100 legislators to enter the competition to switch Liz Truss, the lady who succeeded him in September after he was compelled to stop over a string of scandals.

He mentioned late on Sunday that he had secured the backing of 102 legislators and will have been “again in Downing Avenue”, however that he had failed to steer both Sunak or the opposite contender Penny Mordaunt, to come back collectively “within the nationwide curiosity”.

“I imagine I’ve a lot to supply however I’m afraid that that is merely not the correct time,” Johnson mentioned.

The previous prime minister had secured the general public backing of simply lower than 60 Conservative legislators by Sunday, effectively beneath half of the practically 150 endorsements Sunak had acquired.

Johnson’s assertion probably paves the way in which for his archrival, the 42-year-old Sunak, to turn out to be prime minister, probably as quickly as Monday.

If confirmed, he would exchange Truss, who was compelled to resign after she launched an financial programme that triggered turmoil in monetary markets. In response to the foundations, if just one candidate secures the backing of 100 Conservative legislators, they are going to be named prime minister on Monday.

If two candidates cross the brink, they are going to go ahead to a vote of the get together membership, with the winner introduced on Friday, simply days earlier than new Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt lays naked the state of the nation’s funds in a price range plan on account of be launched on October 31.

That had raised considerations that Johnson would return to Downing Avenue with the backing of the get together members and never a majority of legislators in parliament, leaving the get together badly divided. Hunt declared his backing for Sunak late on Sunday.

“I’ve by no means identified this form of rancour and division and it is vitally destabilising,” mentioned Daniel Kawczynski, a Conservative legislator. “It’s destabilising for the get together, and destabilising for the nation.”

‘Torn itself aside’

Some Johnson supporters might swap to Mordaunt, who has introduced herself because the unity candidate, however many instantly switched to Sunak. A supply near the Mordaunt marketing campaign mentioned the previous defence minister would proceed within the contest.

“She is the unifying candidate who’s more than likely to maintain the wings of the Conservative Get together collectively,” the supply mentioned.

Johnson has loomed giant over UK politics ever since he grew to become mayor of London in 2008 and went on to turn out to be the face of the Brexit vote in 2016. Whereas he led the Conservative Get together to a landslide election in 2019, he was compelled out simply three years later by a rise up of his ministers.

Sunak mentioned he hoped Johnson would proceed to contribute to public life “at dwelling and overseas”.

One Sunak supporter, who requested to not be named, informed the Reuters information company that his foremost response was aid as a result of if Johnson had gained, the “get together would have torn itself aside”.

One other Conservative legislator, Lucy Allan, mentioned on Twitter: “I backed Boris for PM, however I believe he has executed the correct factor for the nation.”

Different Johnson backers instantly jumped ship.

Cupboard workplace minister Nadhim Zahawi, who minutes earlier had revealed an article on the Each day Telegraph web site praising Johnson, mentioned “a day is a very long time in politics”.

“Rishi is immensely gifted, will command a powerful majority within the parliamentary Conservative Get together, and could have my full assist and loyalty,” he mentioned.

Earlier, most of the Conservative legislators who usually again Johnson switched their assist to Sunak, saying the nation wanted a interval of stability after months of turmoil that has sparked headlines – and raised alarm – all over the world.

Johnson can be nonetheless dealing with a privileges committee investigation into whether or not he misled parliament over Downing Avenue events throughout COVID-19 lockdowns. He may very well be compelled to resign or be suspended from workplace if discovered responsible.

Alex Deane, a Conservative commentator, mentioned regardless of Johnson dropping his comeback bid, many individuals within the UK imagine he might nonetheless run once more sooner or later.

“Every week in the past we might have been shocked if we have been considering of Boris Johnson changing into our prime minister once more very quickly. So it’s been a whirlwind of occasions right here in London,” Deane informed Al Jazeera.

“By no means write off Boris Johnson utterly. The political graveyard is plagued by the careers of people that say Boris Johnson is completed. Certainly, he’s left the door open for a return down the highway in his message to his supporters saying he’s not going to run this time.”

‘Questions over legitimacy’

Deane mentioned Sunak, whereas all however sure to be confirmed because the UK’s subsequent prime minister, faces many challenges.

“The Conservative Get together has now introduced down three prime ministers in a row. In the event you have been to ask Theresa Might, or Boris Johnson, or Liz Truss, I believe all of them will inform you, it was individuals inside their very own get together that they feared essentially the most and we are actually going to have our third prime minister in a single 12 months. He’s going to face some questions over legitimacy. You already know, individuals voted in 2019 for Boris Johnson, as prime minister, and never Rishi Sunak. And he’s bought a lot of individuals within the get together that weren’t eager on him changing into prime minister. So there’s actual challenges, however the greatest challenge isn’t truly with Sunak’s behaviour. The most important challenge goes to be the get together rallying collectively and coming behind him.”

Sunak first got here to nationwide consideration when, aged 39, he grew to become finance minister beneath Johnson simply because the COVID-19 pandemic arrived within the UK, creating a furlough scheme to assist thousands and thousands of individuals by a number of lockdowns.

“I served as your chancellor, serving to to steer our financial system by the hardest of occasions,” Sunak mentioned in a press release on Sunday. “The challenges we face now are even higher. However the alternatives — if we make the correct selection — are phenomenal.”

If chosen, Sunak can be the primary prime minister of Indian origin within the UK.

His household migrated to the UK within the Nineteen Sixties, a interval when many individuals from former British colonies arrived to assist rebuild the nation after the Second World Battle.

After graduating from Oxford College, he later went to Stanford College the place he met his spouse Akshata Murthy, whose father is Indian billionaire N R Narayana Murthy, founding father of outsourcing large Infosys Ltd.

Afghanistan blames border clash on Pakistan’s bid to build post | Border Disputes News

Taliban says Pakistani troopers tried to erect a navy construction on the Afghan-Pakistani border, inflicting Tuesday’s lethal skirmish.

The Taliban authorities in Afghanistan has blamed the Pakistan military’s try and construct a safety put up at their border as the rationale behind Tuesday’s cross-border skirmish, inflicting a number of deaths on either side, together with at the very least three Pakistani troopers.

“Pakistan forces tried to erect a navy put up close to the road,” Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi stated in an announcement on Wednesday.

The trade of fireside between the 2 sides occurred in Paktia province on the Afghan aspect and Pakistan’s Kurram area.

Karimi stated some Afghan authorities went to speak to the Pakistani officers allegedly constructing the border put up, however they had been fired upon.

“Either side exchanged fires, which can have resulted within the lack of lives,” he stated within the assertion, with out revealing the main points of Afghan casualties.

Afghan Border Police personnel keep watch during an ongoing battle between Pakistani and Afghan Border forces near the Durand line
Afghan Border Police personnel maintain watch throughout a seamless dispute between Pakistani and Afghan border forces close to the Durand line at Spin Boldak, in southern Kandahar province [File: Javed Tanveer/AFP]

The assertion added that the Afghan authorities is investigating the matter and that the management of each nations had been in contact to make sure no repeat of such an incident takes place.

The Taliban’s response got here a day after the Pakistani navy claimed the “terrorists from inside Afghanistan” opened fireplace on Pakistani troops stationed in Kurram, leading to “heavy casualties” for the insurgent fighters.

“Pakistan strongly condemns the usage of Afghan soil by terrorists for actions in opposition to Pakistan and expects that Afghan authorities is not going to permit conduct of such actions in future,” the assertion stated.

Persevering with tensions

The incident got here amid simmering tensions between the South Asian neighbours because the Taliban seized energy in Kabul a 12 months in the past.

On Wednesday, the Taliban rejected experiences claiming Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar had sought refuge in Afghanistan.

JeM goals to overthrow India’s management over Indian-administered Kashmir and was designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations in 2001. Azhar was added to the listing in 2019.

Pakistani media experiences quoting overseas ministry sources on Tuesday stated Islamabad had written to Kabul, asking to find and arrest Azhar.

Whereas the Pakistani authorities didn’t reply to the experiences, the Taliban issued an announcement, rejecting Azhar’s presence in Afghanistan.

“We reiterate that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan doesn’t permit any armed oppositions in its territory to function in opposition to every other nation,” the assertion stated.

“We additionally name on all events to chorus from such allegations missing any proof and documentations. Such media allegations can adversely have an effect on bilateral relations.”

Pakistan’s overseas ministry didn’t reply to Al Jazeera’s request for a touch upon the matter.

Erdogan speaks to Stoltenberg over Finland, Sweden NATO bid | NATO News

Turkey’s President tells NATO chief Sweden and Finland should tackle Ankara’s issues earlier than it might assist their membership bid.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday stated Ankara wouldn’t look “positively” on Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids except its issues have been addressed, regardless of broad assist from different allies, together with america.

Turkey has lengthy accused Nordic international locations, specifically Sweden which has a robust Turkish immigrant neighborhood, of harbouring outlawed Kurdish rebels in addition to supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based preacher needed over the failed 2016 coup.

Erdogan’s opposition has thrown a serious potential impediment in the best way of the possible membership bids from the hitherto militarily non-aligned Nordic nations since a consensus is required in NATO choices.

“Until Sweden and Finland clearly present that they may stand in solidarity with Turkey on basic points, particularly within the battle towards terrorism, we won’t method these international locations’ NATO membership positively,” Erdogan informed NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in a telephone name, in line with the presidency.

On Twitter, Stoltenberg stated he spoke with Erdogan “of our valued ally” on the significance of “NATO’s Open Door”.

“We agree that the safety issues of all Allies should be taken under consideration and talks have to proceed to discover a resolution,” he stated.

On Thursday, Stoltenberg stated Turkey’s “issues” have been being addressed to seek out “an settlement on easy methods to transfer ahead”.

Erdogan speaks to leaders of Sweden and Finland

Erdogan, who refused to host delegations from Sweden and Finland in Turkey, held separate telephone calls with the 2 international locations’ leaders – Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson – on Saturday, urging them to desert monetary and political assist for “terrorist” teams threatening his nation’s nationwide safety.

Erdogan known as upon Sweden to carry defensive weapons export restrictions it imposed on Turkey over Turkey’s 2019 incursion into northern Syria, a Turkish presidential assertion stated.

The Turkish chief additionally stated he anticipated Stockholm to take “concrete and severe steps” towards the Kurdish Employees’ Celebration, or PKK, and different teams which Ankara views as “terrorists”.

Andersson tweeted that Sweden appeared “ahead to strengthening our bilateral relations, together with on peace, safety, and the battle towards terrorism”.

The PKK has waged a rise up towards the Turkish state since 1984 and is blacklisted as a “terrorist organisation” by Turkey and Western allies just like the European Union – which incorporates Finland and Sweden.

Erdogan informed End President Sauli Niinisto “that an understanding that ignores terrorist organisations that pose a risk to an ally inside NATO is incompatible with the spirit of friendship and alliance”, the assertion added.

In return, Niinisto praised “an open and direct telephone name” with Erdogan.

“I said that as NATO allies Finland and Turkey will commit to one another’s safety and our relationship will thus develop stronger,” he tweeted.

“Finland condemns terrorism in all its varieties and manifestations. Shut dialogue continues.”

Sweden and Finland, whereas solidly Western, have traditionally stored a distance from NATO as a part of longstanding insurance policies geared toward avoiding angering Russia.

However the two nations moved forward with their membership bid in shock over their large neighbour’s invasion of Ukraine, which had unsuccessfully sought to hitch NATO.

On Thursday, Niinisto and Andersson visited Washington, the place they spoke with US President Joe Biden about their bids to hitch NATO in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Biden stated “Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger”, and provided the “full, whole, full backing of america of America”.

Finland announces ‘historic’ NATO bid, Sweden expected to follow | News

Sweden can also be anticipated to observe Finland’s software to affix the NATO navy alliance.

The Finnish authorities has formally introduced its intention to affix NATO, as Sweden’s ruling get together held a decisive assembly that might pave the best way for a joint software to the navy alliance.

Lower than three months after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Finland’s announcement on Sunday is a shocking reversal of Finland’s coverage on navy non-alignment courting again greater than 75 years.

Sweden, which has been militarily non-aligned for greater than two centuries, is predicted to observe go well with with an identical announcement, probably on Monday.

“It is a historic day. A brand new period is opening,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto instructed reporters at a joint press convention with Prime Minister Sanna Marin.

NATO membership must be authorised and ratified by all 30 members of the alliance.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed last-minute objections, however NATO Secretary Basic Jens Stoltenberg mentioned on Sunday that Ankara was not against the 2 nations’ bids.


“Turkey made it clear that its intention is to not block membership,” Stoltenberg instructed reporters just about after a NATO alliance overseas ministers assembly in Berlin.

“I’m assured we’ll have the ability to discover frequent floor, consensus on the right way to transfer on membership points,” Stoltenberg mentioned, including that he was in contact with Turkish overseas minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Cavusoglu in the meantime lauded Finland’s conciliatory strategy of their talks, however criticised Sweden’s overseas minister for “provocative” statements.

Turkey’s objections, directed specifically at Stockholm, concentrate on what it considers to be each nations’ leniency in the direction of the Kurdistan Employees’ Social gathering (PKK), which is on the EU’s listing of terrorist organisations.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken nonetheless insisted he was “very assured that we’ll attain consensus” on the 2 nations’ NATO bids.

Niinisto mentioned he was “ready to have a brand new dialogue with President Erdogan concerning the issues he has raised”.

Finland’s parliament will convene to debate the membership proposal on Monday.

Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto speaking
Finnish overseas minister Pekka Haavisto attends a NATO overseas ministers’ assembly in Berlin, Germany, Could 14, 2022 [Michael Sohn/AP]

“We hope the parliament will affirm the choice to use for NATO membership throughout the coming days. It is going to be primarily based on a robust mandate,” premier Marin mentioned.

A overwhelming majority of Finnish members of parliament backed the choice after Marin’s Social Democratic Social gathering on Saturday mentioned it was in favour of becoming a member of.

“Hopefully, we will ship our purposes subsequent week along with Sweden,” Marin had mentioned on Saturday.

The 2 Nordic nations broke their strict neutralities after the tip of the Chilly Battle by becoming a member of the EU and changing into companions to NATO within the Nineties, solidifying their affiliation with the West.

However the idea of full NATO membership was a non-starter within the nations till the struggle in Ukraine noticed public and political help for becoming a member of the alliance soar.