Race For PM LIVE: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak hold three-hour talks

Race For PM LIVE: Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak hold three-hour talks over leadership bids – as ex-Chancellor wins key support from the Tory right

This is MailOnline’s live blog following all the twists and turns in the race for the next Prime Minister:

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While much of the focus has been on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak over the last two days, Penny Mordaunt has vowed to fight on despite her chances of success rapidly fading.

With Mr Sunak on more than 100 declared backers, and Mr Johnson’s allies briefing he had privately reached the threshold, Ms Mordaunt’s prospects look bleak.

Last night, just 23 MPs had publicly given her their support – far fewer than the 67 who initially backed her in July’s leadership race.

Candidates must get the support of at least 100 of the 357 Tory MPs to enter the next round, meaning no more than three can battle it out. 

A source close to Ms Mordaunt insisted that she was a fresh face who was not tainted by association with the ‘psychodrama’ between Mr Johnson and his former Chancellor. 

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Boris Johnson will walk away from £5 million a year if he becomes PM again, says his biographer Tom Bower.

He has lined up a series of US speeches for up to £250,000 a time and signed a £1.5 million deal to write his memoirs, which will be put on hold should he return to No 10.

‘He was on track to earn £5 million this year but if he wins this vote, eventually the sky’s the limit,’ said Mr Bower.

A Netflix producer added: ‘If he returns to power, his value will only go up. Everyone loves a comeback story, especially American corporations.’

Mr Bower said Mr Johnson could easily match the estimated £100 million Tony Blair has made since quitting No 10 in 2007.

Today’s Mail on Sunday poll shows that Boris Johnson retains a level of electoral magnetism far outstripping that of any of his party colleagues – despite the months of scandal, intrigue and infighting that brought down his premiership in the summer.

Although the poll shows that Labour would still be ten points ahead if Mr Johnson were Prime Minister, the projected Labour majority of 26 that that would signal could be soon overturned in the course of a General Election campaign.

The same cannot be said of the 124-seat majority Labour are predicted to win if Rishi Sunak were leader, or the record-breaking 320-seat majority if Liz Truss were still at the helm.

Critically for Mr Johnson’s renewed leadership hopes, private polling date circulating in the Tory Party indicates that Mr Johnson is the only candidate with a chance of winning the Red Wall seats that are key to Tory Election hopes.

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Last night Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak held three hours of crunch talks over a power-sharing pact that could unite the Conservative Party.

The pair, who were Prime Minister and Chancellor during the height of the Covid pandemic, met last night after a bombshell Mail on Sunday poll found Mr Johnson would offer the Tories the best chance at a General Election.

At the meeting yesterday Mr Johnson argued that if he re-entered No 10 with Mr Sunak in a senior role it would avoid a divisive battle. 

Allies claimed Mr Johnson’s hand in the negotiations is strengthened as he would most likely win any ballot of Tory members. 

In return for giving his former Chancellor a top job, Mr Johnson would expect ‘strict loyalty’ – and if he couldn’t secure that, he would ‘leave Rishi to it’. 

Another supporter said the former Prime Minister, who flew back to the UK from his Caribbean holiday yesterday, aims to forge ‘an alliance in the national interest’.

The crunch summit is believed to have ended shortly before 11.20pm. No details about the talks were immediately forthcoming. 

Plans for a face-to-face meeting yesterday afternoon were delayed, with both sides blaming the other for the hold-up. 

You can read the full developments on MailOnline below:

Good morning and welcome to MailOnline’s Tory leadership live blog.

We will be keeping you up to date with all developments in the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party, as candidates look to replace Liz Truss as the country’s Prime Minister.

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