On Sunday night, Mr Johnson stated he had the support of 102 Tory MPs but said running in the leadership election would not be “the right thing to do”. It appears former chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to become party leader of the Conservative Party as he has over 165 supporters ahead of the Monday nomination deadline while his fellow candidate Penny Mordaunt trails behind with 25 MPs.
Ms Rayner has come forward with criticism of Mr Sunak following the announcement and said: “The Tories are about to hand Rishi Sunak the keys to the country without him saying a single word about how he would govern. No one voted for this.
“Perhaps it’s not surprising he’s avoiding scrutiny: after all, he was so bad that just a few weeks ago he was trounced by Liz Truss.”
She added: “All anyone knows about him is that he broke the law, he was rejected by his own party because he created a vicious cycle of low growth, he did nothing to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, that his family avoided paying tax in this country; and that he betrayed Boris Johnson to get his job.
“It’s why we need an election now – people deserve a vote on the future of the country.”
The criticism comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for an immediate general election and described the current political climate as a “revolving door of chaos” after outgoing prime minister Liz Truss resigned last Thursday.
The next general election is not due until at least 2024, as Boris Johnson won the Conservative Party a majority in 2019.
Sir Keir said: “The Tories cannot respond to their latest shambles by yet again simply clicking their fingers and shuffling the people at the top without the consent of the British people,
“They do not have a mandate to put the country through yet another experiment; Britain is not their personal fiefdom to run how they wish.
He continued: “The British public deserves a proper say on the country’s future. They must have the chance to compare the Tories’ chaos with Labour’s plans to sort out their mess, grow the economy for working people and rebuild the country for a fairer, greener future.
“We must have a chance at a fresh start. We need a general election – now.”
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The Labour leader’s call was mirrored by other party leaders such as SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who said a general election now was a “democratic imperative”.
She said: “There are no words to describe this utter shambles adequately. It’s beyond hyperbole and parody. Reality though is that ordinary people are paying the price.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Ed Davey said that Britain needed “real change” following the resignation of Ms Truss as Prime Minister.
He said: “We do not need another Conservative prime minister lurching from crisis to crisis, we need a general election.
“It is time for Conservative MPs to do their patriotic duty, put the country first and give the people a say.”
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Since Ms Truss’s resignation, Labour has gained 2,000 new members and one fundraising email on the same day earned the party almost £100,000 in donations.
The party has also gained 20,000 new members since Labour’s party conference in late September, making the total Labout membership close to 450,000.
The latest Opinium survey published in the Observer shows the largest Labour lead recorded by Opinium, with a 27-point lead over the Conservative Party.
The poll also reveals that around 30% of voters who voted for the Conservatives in 2019 have switched to supporting Labour.
Polling expert and political scientist Sir John Curtice has said the next Conservative Party leader should “enjoy the next 18 months to two years because that will probably be their tenure”.
He added: “Parties and governments who preside over a fiscal crisis have nearly always struggled at the ballot box at the next election.”