Boris Johnson. DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images
Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the contest to be the next prime minister of the UK on Sunday.
The declaration, issued around 21:00 local time, ended the extraordinary prospect of Johnson returning to power only two months after leaving Downing Street in disgrace.
His departure left two Conservative Party MPs in the running to succeed Liz Truss, who resigned on Thursday after a disastrous six weeks in power as Johnson’s successor.
The two remaining candidates are Rishi Sunak, who was Johnson’s finance minister, and Penny Mordaunt, a former cabinet minister with a much smaller profile.
Mordaunt reached third place in the last leadership election, which Truss won, while Sunak was second.
In his message, Johnson claimed that he had secured the support of enough Conservative MPs to reach the next round in the selection process, which would see a ordinary party members choose between the two candidates with support from the most MPs.
“There is a very good chance that I would be successful in the election with Conservative Party members – and that I could indeed be back in Downing Street on Friday,” he wrote.
However, he said that he was aware that many MPs objected to the idea of him returning to power, and that he doubted he would be able to govern effectively. Therefore, he said, he was dropping out.
This is a developing story, check back later for updates.