‘I didn’t do that!’ Sunak denies prepping leader bid while in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet

Rishi Sunak says he did not register Ready for Rishi in December

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The former Chancellor has rejected suggestions he began making plans for his Conservative party leadership campaign while serving in the Cabinet team of Boris Johnson. Mr Sunak has secured a position among the final two candidates in the Tory leadership race after emerging victorious from the initial rounds of voting among Parliamentary members. However, critics have suggested the registration of a domain name dating back to December 2021 indicates Mr Sunak had been planning to oust the Prime Minister for some time.

Speaking on LBC, host Andrew Marr asked: “Why did you register ‘Ready for Rishi’ back in December?”

The former Chancellor replied: “Oh gosh, I didn’t do that! 

“People register and trade domain names all the time.”

Mr Marr criticised his response: “That sounds a little bit like Boris Johnson saying he didn’t know what was going on in Downing street.”

The domain name readyforrishi.com was first registered on the 23rd of December last year.

Mr Sunak’s current campaign domain, ready4rishi.com, was registered on the 6th July 2022, just two days after his resignation.

The original domain, registered months before the Prime Minister’s formal resignation, now automatically directs to Mr Sunak’s active campaign site. 

The former Chancellor has asserted he did not begin his official leadership campaign while acting as a member of the Cabinet, insisting he waited on Mr Johnson to step down before taking action.

Read more: Marr trips up Sunak over tax rises discouraging business in Britain

Mr Sunak continued: “I didn’t do that – I’ll tell you what I was doing in December because I actually remember it quite vividly. 

“In December I flew back from a Government trip I was on overseas to stop us sleepwalking into a national lockdown.

“We are hours away from a press conference that was going to lock this country down again because of Omicron and I came back and fought very hard against the system.

“I believed it would have been the wrong thing for this country, with all the damage it would have done to businesses, to children’s education, to peoples lives.”

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In the leadership battle so far, Mr Sunak has consistently emerged above his competitors, achieving 137 votes of support in a fifth round of balloting among Tory MPs.

His opposition candidate, Liz Truss, emerged from the final round of voting among Conservative peers with 113 votes.

Both Ms Truss and Mr Sunak have worked within the outgoing Prime Minister’s Cabinet, however Ms Truss did not resign from her position as Foreign Secretary when the Chris Pincher scandal unfolded.

Mr Sunak, along with his Cabinet colleague Sajid Javid, announced his shock resignation and lack of confidence in Mr Johnson, which opened the floodgates to nearly 60 further departures and secured Mr Sunak’s chance at party leadership.

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