Indian-origin Conservative Party MP Rishi Sunak on Sunday, 23 October, announced the bid to contest the leadership election, setting the fight against Boris Johnson, after British Prime Minister Liz Truss' resignation earlier this week.
"The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis. That’s why I am standing to be the Leader of the Conservative Party and your next prime minister. I want to fix our economy, unite our party, and deliver for our country," Sunak said in a tweet accompanying his statement announcing the leadership bid.
This comes after over 100 Tory MPs pledged public support to the former chancellor of the exchequer whose resignation in July triggered a rebellion against the then prime minister, Boris Johnson, ending with his resignation.
Sunak was one of the favourites to replace Johnson in the leadership contest, but ultimately lost to Truss.
'Want To Fix Our Economy'
"The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis. The choice our party makes now will decide whether the next generation of British people will have more opportunities than the last," Sunak said in a statement.
"That's why I am standing to be your next prime minister and Leader of the Conservative Party. I want to fix our economy, unite our party, and deliver for our country. "Rishi Sunak
"I served as your chancellor, helping to steer our economy through the toughest of times. The challenges we face now are even greater. But the opportunities – if we make the right choice – are phenomenal," he said.
"I have the track record of delivery, a clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face, and I will deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto," Sunak asserted.
"There will be integrity, professionalism, and accountability at every level of the government I lead and I will work day in and day out to get the job done," his statement further read.
"I am asking you for the opportunity to help fix our problems. To lead our party and country forward towards the next general election, confident in our record, firm in our convictions and ready to lead again."Rishi Sunak
Support for Sunak
Over 100 MPs have so far backed Sunak for the Conservative Party leadership contest where he is likely to face former prime minister Boris Johnson.
The support of at least 100 MPs is needed to get on the ballot. So far, only Sunak has exceeded that number.
He further got a boost on Sunday with the support of minister Steve Baker, who supported Truss in the previous leadership contest.
Earlier on Friday, Sunak scored the support of Sajid Javid, another former Truss supporter, who said the country desperately needs economic stability, and "Rishi Sunak has what it takes to match the challenges we face."
"He [Sunak] is the right person to lead our party and take the country forward."Sajid Javid on 21 October
As per the latest count according to Sky News Political Editor Beth Rigby, Sunak has the support of 123 MPs.
Sunak vs Johnson
Sunak's announcement means that he is most likely to face Boris Johnson in the leadership contest, although the former prime minister is yet to publicly declare his intention to run.
The Guardian reported that Sunak and Johnson on Saturday night held talks over their potential future roles in the party but their meeting appeared to have ended without a deal.
While Johnson is yet to officially announce bid to become the next PM, dozens of MPs have openly pledged support for him.
The number, however, has not exceeded the required 100 mark. Public endorsements collated by the UK media said that Johnson has support from 56 MPs.
Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, a close ally of the former prime minister, said Johnson was “clearly going to stand” and the “people doing the numbers tell me they have the numbers," The Guardian reported.
Nadhim Zahawi, who briefly served as Johnson's chancellor of the exchequer after Sunak's resignation, on Sunday became the seventh cabinet minister to join Johnson's side.
Penny Mordaunt, who was the first to launch an official bid for the prime minister, has been endorsed by 23 MPs so far.
(With inputs from Sky News and The Guardian.)