New Book ‘The Right To Rule’ Reveals Intrigue and Tensions Within UK Conservative Party Leadership
A new book titled ‘The Right To Rule,’ authored by Ben Riley-Smith, the political editor of The Telegraph newspaper, offers an insider’s perspective on the dynamics within the UK Conservative Party, shedding light on the evolving relationship between two prominent party members, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.
The book delves into the complex rivalry and shifting allegiances between Boris Johnson, the former Prime Minister, and Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who eventually assumed the role of Prime Minister after Liz Truss’s brief tenure at 10 Downing Street. It also explores the political intrigue and tensions that characterized their interactions.
Intriguingly, Johnson and Sunak did not always occupy adversarial positions. As Boris Johnson’s political fortunes waned in the wake of the Partygate scandal, which sent shockwaves through the political corridors of London in 2021, Rishi Sunak emerged as a significant figure in the party. His eventual ascent to the premiership came after Liz Truss resigned, leaving Sunak as the leading contender, as his sole competitor, Penny Mordaunt, dropped out of the race.
During a significant portion of his premiership, Boris Johnson viewed his relationship with Rishi Sunak as that of a mentor and mentee. However, when Sunak abruptly resigned from his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a role equivalent to that of a finance minister, without even notifying Johnson, it triggered a strong reaction from the former Prime Minister.
Reports suggest that Boris Johnson expressed his astonishment with colorful language, asking, “Who the f–k does he think he is?” These revelations are detailed in ‘The Right To Rule.’
The book, drawing on insider accounts, indicates that Sunak had been laying the groundwork for a premiership bid well before February 2023. This was the period when the initial findings of Sue Gray’s investigation into the Partygate scandal implicated Boris Johnson in violating Covid restrictions by hosting parties at his official prime ministerial residences.
According to the book, one key indicator of Sunak’s intentions came in late autumn 2021 when a special adviser to then-Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis overheard discussions among Sunak’s inner team in a Westminster pub. These discussions revolved around the potential shape of a Sunak premiership, including the selection of individuals for various Cabinet positions.
Notably, this timeline precedes December 23, 2023, when the ‘ReadyforRishi’ domain name was first registered online. This domain registration had previously been reported as one of the earliest indications of Sunak’s intent to garner support for a potential premiership bid.
Throughout this period of political maneuvering, Boris Johnson, who was still serving as Prime Minister, reportedly felt increasing unease about Sunak’s potential succession plans. The book suggests that Johnson was susceptible to believing in political conspiracies, with one such unfounded rumor being that Rishi Sunak’s father-in-law, Indian billionaire Narayana Murthy, had British political strategist Dominic Cummings on retainer.
‘The Right To Rule’ provides a compelling look into the internal dynamics of the UK Conservative Party and the intricate relationships that shape the country’s political landscape. As revelations from the book continue to emerge, it offers a glimpse into the often-hidden world of political maneuvering and ambition.