British PM candidatesBoris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt are believed to be contesting the British prime minister race. Photo: AFP


Boris Johnson will enter the race to replace Liz Truss as British prime minister, Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton Harris told Sky News, saying the former leader had enough support from lawmakers to pass the 100-vote threshold.

Asked if Johnson would run, Heaton Harris said: “Yes, I think so.”

“We do have the numbers… that’s not an issue.”

Johnson and top competitor Rishi Sunak have reportedly held talks as they edge closer to the deadline for nominations in the contest to replace Liz Truss.

Two separate sources told the BBC the meeting took place, but the Times newspaper reported this morning that the men did not strike a deal.

“Boris would be a guaranteed disaster” because of the ongoing inquiry into Partygate, Baker told the BBC.

Senior Conservative MP and former party leader Iain Duncan-Smith said he does not yet know who he is going to support to be the next prime minister.

He told the BBC “I desperately want my party to settle down”.

He added the party should choose someone that everyone is “going to get behind”. He also said the party must decide if it truly wants to “make a go of these last two years” until the next election.

The deadline to enter the contest closes at 2pm on Monday (2am Tuesday NZ time) and so far Commons leader Penny Mordaunt is the only person to officially declare they are in the race. Candidates require the support of 100 MPs.

The BBC’s tally indicates that Sunak has already received the backing of at least 128 MPs and Johnson has 53 supporters, compared with Mordaunt’s 23.

Mordaunt denied reports she’s been in touch with Johnson’s camp potentially offering her support in return for a job.

“No, no, it’s completely false,” she said.