Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have reportedly been in talks late into the night – fueling speculation they could do a deal.

Neither the former prime minister nor the ex-chancellor officially announced their participation in the race to succeed Liz Truss as prime minister.

The race for Prime Minister is heating up – stay tuned for the latest updates

The expected schedule of events for the election of the new prime minister

To be included in the ballot, the leadership candidates need the support of at least 100 conservative MPs.

The public support means Mr Sunak has passed that threshold – with 121 supporters – and Mr Johnson’s allies say he also has the numbers needed to contest the election.

However, the latest Sky News count shows that only 56 MPs have confirmed they will back Mr Johnson’s campaign for a second term as Prime Minister.

One of Mr Sunak’s supporters – Richard Holden – rejected claims that Mr Johnson had 100 MPs behind him and said that number of public endorsements had not been made “because they don’t exist”.

The only person to throw her hat in the ring, community leader Penny Mordaunt, won the endorsement from 23 of her peers.

The current contest has been accelerated following the resignation of Liz Truss as Prime Minister, with ballot nominations due to close at 2pm tomorrow.

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“I can’t have a liar in parliament”

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Sunac’s talks have reportedly focused on a possible joint ticket.

This is after the former Prime Minister returned to the UK from his holiday in the Dominican Republic in economy class – some companions booed him when he boarded.

If all three candidates received 100 supporters, a vote of deputies would be held – two winners would be nominated by party members.

Then there will be a vote, which means that the new leader will be elected by Friday.

At an important moment for the Sunak team, Kemi Badenach backed the former chancellor after a number of big names flocked to Mr Johnson.

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What does it take to force a general election?

While she admitted she was a member of “Boris Johnson’s fan club”, she warned the Tories were not “running a popularity contest” – and the party “is not a vehicle for a person’s personal ambitions”.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Ms Badenoch said of her decision to back Mr Sunak: “Like any colleague at work, we had our differences, which I detailed when we were competitors in the same competition.

“Now it’s very important that I let people know about the decisions that he made that I knew were absolutely right.”

She also talked about his focus on inflation and curbing “unnecessary, wasteful spending.”

Meanwhile, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab said it was “difficult to see” how Mr Johnson could become prime minister again if he was “absorbed and distracted” by the issues surrounding partygate.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Raab said he was “confident” Mr Sunak would be in the Tory leadership race and was an “excellent candidate” among voters.

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