Boris Johnson pulls out of leadership race

 Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not take part in the contest to replace outgoing leader Liz Truss.

Despite being ousted from office just three months ago, some Conservative MPs had backed Johnson for the top job, and he reportedly told allies over the last couple of days that he would formally join the contest.

But in a statement late Sunday, Johnson said it was “simply not the right time.” He added he had “cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations” to take part in the latter stages of the contest. Around 60 lawmakers had publicly backed the ex-PM but there had been question marks over exactly how many nominations he had received.

Johnson mentioned his two rivals in his statement, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt, who have both officially entered the contest.

“And though I have reached out to both Rishi and Penny — because I hoped that we could come together in the national interest — we have sadly not been able to work out a way of doing this,” Johnson said.On Saturday, Johnson flew back from a vacation in the Caribbean amid a media frenzy he would throw his hat into into the ring. Johnson is believed to still be popular in the grassroots of the wider Conservative Party despite many Tory MPs being firmly against a return.

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