Laura Kuenssberg, the political editor of BBC News, confirmed on Twitter that Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak held a meeting, but added she was not sure “if any conclusions, or any news likely to come out of it tonight”. It comes at a time 128 Tory MPs have come out in public support of Mr Sunak, and Mr Johnson’s campaign has claimed the former Prime Minister has over one hundred supporters within the party.
Those wishing to become the next Prime Minister and leader of the Conservatives need at least a hundred nominations from Conservative party MPs.
They have until 14:00 on Monday to confirm they have received the support they need to qualify to appear on the ballot for the Conservative leadership election.
However, Mr Sunak’s supporters have expressed doubt Mr Johnson has secured the backing of 100 MPs as only 53 MPs have publicly expressed their allegiance to Mr Johnson.
Penny Mordaunt, the only candidate who has officially declared to be running in the leadership election, has 23 MPs supporting her, making the vote of 204 out of 357 Tory MPs publicly declared.
The meeting between Mr Sunak and Mr Johnson comes at a time a new poll has revealed that Mr Johnson would be the strongest candidate for the Conservative Party if a General Election was called.
Researched by Deltapoll and published in the Mail on Sunday showed that in a General Election the Labour party would currently win by a majority of 320 seats and have a lead of 25 percent.
If Mr Johnson was Prime Minister, however, Labour’s lead would be cut to ten points, and the party would have a majority of 26 seats, the research found.
In the same poll, it was found that if Mr Sunak was leader, Labour would have a lead of 17 percent and a majority of 124 seats.
A YouGov poll published last week before Liz Truss resigned also showed Mr Johnson’s popularity, with 32 percent of voters wishing for the former Prime Minister to return to leadership compared to 23 percent who supported Mr Sunak.
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Former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorrie earlier tweeted that “the boss is back” in reference to Mr Johnson, and has also confirmed her support in the Mail on Sunday.
She wrote: “Only Boris is a proven winner. If Sunak is chosen, I fear we would enter uncharted and potentially dangerous waters.”
Other supporters of Mr Johnson include former Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said she supported Mr Johnson due to his “proven track record”.
International Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch confirmed earlier on Saturday that she would not be running as a leadership candidate, but instead has publicly supported Mr Sunak and called him “the serious, honest leader we need”.
Lord Michael Ashcroft, the former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, has urged Mr Johnson to support Mr Sunak, as he wrote on Twitter: [Boris Johnson] has many talents but this is not his time…Boris please support Rishi.”
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However, former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has expressed his support for Mr Sunak and said Mr Johnson would be “distracted” due to the current parliamentary probe investigating the former Prime Minister.
The Commons Privileges Committee is investigating if Mr Johnson allegedly lied to parliament about parties at Downing Street during the pandemic when the country was in lockdown.
In an interview with Times Radio, Mr Raab said: “The issue right now is that within days of us having a new Prime Minister, which is, at the latest, next Friday, the Committee on Privileges and Conduct is going to start taking oral testimony, including from Boris.”
In another interview with BBC Breakfast Mr Raab said he was supporting Mr Sunak as the former Chancellor had “the broadest appeal” and “can restore trust”.
Dame Maria Miller, the former Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, has said she believes Mr Johnson must be thinking about if it is “appropriate” for the former Prime Minister to join the leadership election and said she was supporting Ms Mordaunt as the leadership candidate brought “stability”.
Dame Miller said to BBC Breakfast: “I certainly think that Boris Johnson would be thinking very long and hard as to whether it would be appropriate to put himself forward to lead our country at a time where… he is still subject to a very serious Privileges Committee investigation which could ultimately lead to him having to resign as minister.”