Former chancellor Rishi Sunak’s allies are believed to be trying to prevail upon his former cabinet colleague Sajid Javid to back his candidacy for the Conservative Party leadership.
They have reportedly reached out to Javid’s friends to convince the former health secretary that it would not help either of them if both join the contest because they vie for the same support base.
Sunak’s backers feel that Javid does not have the support or the basic “infrastructure” to make significant inroads, The Times said.
The report also adds, however, that Javid has rejected the overtures.
Sunak, 42, who announced his candidacy for Tory leadership on Friday, is the frontrunner for the party leadership position.
An opinion poll among Conservatives put Sunak in front on 25 per cent, ahead of foreign secretary Liz Truss on 21 per cent. The Opinium poll for Channel 4 News consulted 493 party members.
Bookies gave Sunak a 23.3 per cent chance of winning the race – the highest among possible contenders – while Javid, according to them, stands a 5.9 chance of success.
However, Javid, a former chancellor himself, is likely to focus his campaign on tax cuts, something he has previously advocated amid the cost-of-living burden eroding the British households’ savings.
Sunak and Javid quit the Boris Johnson cabinet within a minute of each other, triggering an exodus from the prime minister’s camp and forcing him to announce his resignation as the Tory leader.
A timetable to find a successor for Johnson is expected to be unveiled on Monday and the process may conclude in early October.
Sunak has declared the support of several MPs including Commons leader Mark Spencer, Jacob Young and Angela Richardson, The Times reported.
He launched a social media campaign with a slick video posted on Twitter promising to restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country.
The video shows how his family arrived in Britain from Africa and how they gave him “opportunities that they dreamed of.”
The country is facing challenges “the most serious for a generation,” he said. “Someone has to grip this moment and make the right decisions.”
Here’s what Rishi Sunak said – in full – in his slick leadership campaign video:
‘Let me tell you a story about a young woman almost a lifetime ago who boarded a plane armed with hope for a better life and the love of her family.
‘This young woman came to Britain where she managed to find a job, but it took her nearly a year to save enough money for her husband and children to follow her.
‘One of those children was my mother, aged 15. My mum studied hard and got the qualifications to become a pharmacist.
‘She met my dad, an NHS GP, and they settled in Southampton. Their story didn’t end there, but that is where my story began.
‘Family is everything to me and my family gave me opportunities they could only dream of.
‘But it was Britain, our country, that gave them and millions like them the chance of a better future.
‘I got into politics because I want everyone in this country to have those same opportunities to be able to give their children a better future.
‘Our country faces huge challenges, the most serious for a generation.
‘And the decisions we make today will decide whether the next generation of British people will also have the chance of a better future.
‘Do we confront this moment with honesty, seriousness, and determination, or do we tell ourselves comforting fairy tales that might make us feel better in the moment but will leave our children worse off tomorrow?
‘Someone has to grip this moment and make the right decisions.
‘That’s why I’m standing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister.
‘I want to lead this country in the right direction.
‘I ran the toughest department in government during the toughest times when we faced the nightmare of COVID.
‘My values are non-negotiable. Patriotism, fairness, hard work.
‘We’ve had enough of division. Politics at its best is a unifying endeavour, and I have spent my career bringing people together because that is the only way to succeed.
‘In the coming days and weeks, I will set out my vision for how we can build a better future for our country.
‘I’ve told you a bit about my story, but I’m running to be our next Prime Minister because it’s your stories that matter most.