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Now, Boris says he doesn’t want to quit

Boris Johnson told former treasurer Peter Cruddas that he “does not want to resign” as UK prime minister and wishes he could “wipe away” his departure…reports Asian Lite News

Boris Johnson told former treasurer Peter Cruddas that he “does not want to resign” as UK prime minister and wishes he could “wipe away” his departure, The Telegraph reported on Monday.

Johnson also told Cruddas over lunch on Friday that he “wants to fight the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party,” the report said.

“There was no ambiguity in Boris’s views. He definitely does not want to resign. He wants to carry on and he believes that, with the membership behind him, he can,” the report quoting Cruddas as saying.

Lord Cruddas told the Telegraph: “There was no ambiguity in Boris’s views. He definitely does not want to resign. He wants to carry on and he believes that, with the membership behind him, he can.”

The peer added: “Boris thanked me for my ‘Boris on the ballot’ campaign. He said he was enjoying following it and he wished me well. He said he could understand the membership’s anger at what had happened.

“He said that he wished that he could carry on as Prime Minister. He said he does not want to resign.”

The paper said Johnson, when asked by the peer if he would “wipe away” his resignation immediately with “a magic wand”, reportedly replied: “I would wipe away everything that stops me being PM in a second.”

Lord Cruddas, who said 10,000 party members have backed the campaign, added: “He wants to carry on to finish the job. He wants to fight the next general election as leader of the Conservative Party.”

However, No. 10 said: “The Prime Minister has resigned as party leader and set out his intention to stand down as PM when the new leader is in place.”

In his final appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions, Johnson said “mission largely accomplished, for now” before signing-off by telling MPs: “Hasta la vista, baby.”

The Spanish term “hasta la vista” translates to “see you later”, but “hasta la vista, baby” is the catchphrase of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cyborg character in the 1991 movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Johnson’s comments left the door open for a possible comeback, with the Terminator also known for the catchphrase: “I’ll be back.”

Truss, Sunak spar over tax in TV debate

The two candidates vying to be Britain’s next prime minister sparred Monday over how to help families struggling with the soaring cost of living, meeting in a testy televised debate that highlighted the contrasting economic visions of the Conservative Party rivals.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss promised to cut taxes as soon as she took office, using borrowing to pay for it. Former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak said he would get inflation under control first, arguing that Truss’s plan would increase the public debt and leave people worse off in the long run.

Tempers flared as Sunak said that “it’s not moral to ask our children to pick up the tab for the bills that we’re not prepared to pay.” Truss called that “Project Fear” and said it was sensible to borrow to rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic, a “once in a 100-year event.”

The pair are battling to succeed Boris Johnson, who quit as leader of the governing Conservative Party on July 7 after months of ethics scandals triggered a mass exodus of ministers from his government. The contest has exposed deep divisions within the party as it tries to move on from the tarnished, but election-winning Johnson.

Oddsmakers say Truss is the favorite to win. She outperforms Sunak in polls of Conservative members — though Sunak has the edge among voters as a whole.

The winner will be chosen by about 180,000 Conservative Party members and will automatically become prime minister, governing a country of 67 million. Party members will vote over the summer, with the result announced Sept. 5. Johnson remains caretaker prime minister until his successor is chosen.

Truss, 46, and Sunak, 42, have wooed Conservatives by doubling down on policies thought to appeal to the right-wing Tory grassroots, including a controversial plan to deport some asylum-seekers to Rwanda.

The government says the policy will deter people-traffickers from sending migrants on hazardous journeys across the Channel. Political opponents, human rights organizations and even a few Conservative lawmakers say it is immoral, illegal and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The first scheduled deportation flight was grounded after legal rulings last month, and the whole policy is now being challenged in the British courts.

Hard-line policies like the Rwanda plan are less popular with voters as a whole than with Conservatives, but the British electorate won’t get a say on the government until the next national election, due by the end of 2024.

The leadership election is taking place during a cost-of-living crisis driven by soaring food and energy prices, partly due to the war in Ukraine. While many countries are experiencing economic turbulence, in Britain it’s compounded by the country’s departure from the European Union, which has complicated travel and business relations with the U.K.’s biggest trading partner.

Both Sunak and Truss are strong supporters of Brexit, which was the signature policy of the Johnson government. Both denied Brexit was responsible for huge queues of vehicles waiting to cross to France at the port of Dover in recent days.

Sunak is running as the candidate of fiscal probity, while Truss has positioned herself as a disruptor who will “challenge orthodoxy” and “get things done.”

The two sparred on topics such as policy toward China, with Truss accusing Sunak of changing his stance on relations with Beijing.

Sunak says that China represents the “biggest-long term threat to Britain” and that if elected he would close the 30 Confucius Institutes in Britain. Funded by the Chinese government, the institutes teach Chinese language and culture, but have been accused of spreading pro-Beijing propaganda.

ALSO READ-Channel 4 to tell the story of Boris from Eton to No. 10

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