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Boris Johnson did have enough backing to challenge Rishi Sunak – but decided to step aside, Sir Graham Brady says

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BORIS Johnson DID have 100 MPs backing him to be Prime Minister again, according to a senior Tory in the know.
Sir Graham Brady told the BBC today that BoJo met the threshold to enter the first round of October’s Tory leadership race.
Boris Johnson did meet the threshold to enter stage one of last month's Conservative leadership race, according to a top Tory2Boris Johnson did meet the threshold to enter stage one of last month’s Conservative leadership race, according to a top ToryCredit: GettySir Graham Brady is chair of the 1922 Committee2Sir Graham Brady is chair of the 1922 CommitteeCredit: GettyThe competition was kickstarted by the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss following her disastrous mini budget.
Sir Graham is Chair of the influential 1922 Committee of backbench MPs.
When Conservative politicians want to get rid of their leader, he is the man they send private letters of no confidence to.
Sir Graham is also in charge of running and monitoring Tory leadership races.
And he keeps party leaders informed about how much support they have on the back benches.
During the most recent race to be PM, some people cast doubt on Team Boris when a campaign spokesperson said the MP had met the first-round threshold of having 100 backers.
Only 59 politicians publicly declared their support for Boris, while ultimate victor Rishi Sunak had well over 100.
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MPs don’t have to announce who they want to win to the country – it’s within the rules to keep your preference secret.
Some doubters said they didn’t believe the ex-PM’s team due to his track record with the truth.
But this morning Sir Graham told the BBC that “two candidates” DID reach the threshold, and “one of them decided not to then submit his nomination”.
Because third contender Penny Mordaunt didn’t make 100, that only leaves Mr Johnson.
In the end, Boris dropped out because he thought it was “not the right time” for a comeback.
He said in a statement he had been attracted to the leadership contest because he led his party to a massive election victory and was “uniquely placed to avert a general election now”.
However, he conceded: “You can’t govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament.”
He said he had reached out to Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt  in the hope of coming together “in the national interest”  but added “we have sadly not been able to work out a way of doing this”.

He concluded: “I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”
Since Mr Sunak moved into No10 last month, Boris has slowly increased his public appearances.
Earlier this week he did his first broadcast interview since the race.
Mr Johnson told Sky News he will attend the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt after being “invited by the Egyptians”.
He also warned Mad Vlad Putin not to escalate the war in Ukraine by using nukes.

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