Rishi Sunak admitted he still speaks to Boris Johnson ‘on occasion’ but refused to talk about ‘personnel things’ when asked if he’d have him back as a Cabinet Minister
Rishi Sunak has not ruled out Boris Johnson returning to the Cabinet as he revealed that they still speak.
The former pals ran against each other in the Tory leadership contest following the resignation of Liz Truss. In an interview with ITV ’s Tonight programme, Mr Sunak was asked if he misses the ex-PM and would have him back as a Cabinet minister.
“I’m proud of the work that we did together. And we worked well together for a long time. In the end there are, you know, well-documented differences,” he replied. When pushed on whether he’d have Mr Johnson back, he said: “Well, I never talk about these personnel things, but look, I, you know, I speak to him on occasion.” Asked when he last spoke to him, he said: “I can’t remember, probably late last year.”
Mr Johnson last year quit as an MP in disgrace ahead of the publication of a damning report that found he lied and lied and lied about Partygate. Mr Sunak served as Chancellor when he was PM, but resigned a couple of months before he was kicked out of No10 following a disagreement over economic policy. Former Tory leader David Cameron last year made an unexpected Cabinet comeback when Mr Sunak appointed him as Foreign Secretary.
The PM used the interview to insist Tory plots against him are “miniscule” as he admitted “voters don’t vote for divided parties”. “Actually I think that the vast majority of our party is united,” he said. “Obviously recently we’ve been having some debates on illegal migration but actually the debates within our party are minuscule compared to the chasm on this issue between us and Keir Starmer.”
No10 has released a new picture of Mr Sunak as a young child to coincide with the ITV interview. In the show, he opens up about the racism he experienced as a child, and talks about his mother being keen for her children not to speak with an accent.
“You are conscious of being different…. And obviously I experienced racism as a kid,” he said. “I was with my younger brother and sister when I was with them in town at a restaurant, a fast-food restaurant, and people were saying some awful things. And the thing about racism, I mean, it stings you in a way that few other things do.”
He went on: “My parents felt it acutely because they were so keen for us to be able to fit in. “One of the things my mum was obsessed with was that we didn’t speak with accents and we, you know, we would speak properly.”
The documentary marks the first time cameras have captured Mr Sunak and his family at home in No10. At the Downing Street flat, his wife Akshata Murty said the PM struggles to fit in time with his family. Asked if they get much time together, she said: “Not much at all. We try and do a big family breakfast on the weekend where Rishi does most of the cooking. Full English breakfast.” She added that he’s a “very good cook”.