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Pressure Continues To Mount On Rishi Sunak After Boris Johnson’s Last Week Episode

UK PM Rishi Sunak's team insist it's time to move on from the Westminster soap opera which saw Johnson resign from Parliament.

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The pressure has mounted on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after Boris Johnson for the role he played in his own downfall last year. 

According to the Bloomberg report, the Boris Johnson psychodrama and rising interest rates brought a palpable gloom to his Downing Street operation this week.

“The Conservative premier styles himself on Warren Buffett and tries to stays calm by tuning out from day-to-day market movements while looking for long-term upsides,” the report said.

It said : “That's because of a damning report that found former Tory premier Johnson deliberately and repeatedly misled Parliament over the ‘Partygate’ scandal, against a backdrop of turmoil in the UK mortgage market as providers scrap existing deals in anticipation of interest rates going up - spelling more pain for homeowners.”

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It mentioned some senior Conservatives fear the events of recent days have further closed their already narrow path to victory at the next general election, due by the end of January 2025. 

“Politically and economically, Sunak's fortunes are heading in the wrong direction and it is getting harder to see how he can escape worst-case scenarios on each,” it added.

Sunak's team insist it's time to move on from the Westminster soap opera which saw Johnson resign from Parliament ahead of the report into his conduct and lash out at the Tory-majority committee that wrote it, it said.

It added: “But with a House of Commons vote on his punishment due Monday, the first Covid inquiry hearings Tuesday and the Bank of England looking set to push ahead with a 13th consecutive interest rate hike on Thursday, that's easier said than done.”

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“Monday's vote over the Johnson report and his punishment has the potential to put on display Tory divisions yet again. Looking to avoid worsening the civil war with the former premier, the government has given Conservative MPs permission to abstain by staying away. A question remains over how Sunak himself will vote,” it said.

"Politically it's in his interests for it to be a firm verdict on Boris Johnson," said the report quoted Hannah White, director of the Institute for Government. 

The balance is between upsetting Johnson supporters and "exerting his authority," she said.

It mentioned: “Labour will use the vote to argue Sunak is weak, scared of Johnson and unwilling to protect standards in public life, a party official said. YouGov polling this week found just 20% of voters think Sunak is in control of his party, and 74% think the Tories are divided.”

Sunak has previously hoped that falling inflation and interest rates would mean he could cut personal and business taxes at the spring budget, ahead of an election later in 2024, it said.

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