Boris Johnson knifed in the front by Rishi Sunak before partygate resignation

Chris Mason takes swipe at Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak

Boris Johnson was said to be seething at the resignation of Rishi Sunak with one ally calling it a “knife in the front”.

On that fateful day back in July 2022, Sajid Javid had already departed as Health Secretary, without any notice and with no meetings requested, it was left to the political secretary at Number 10 to break the news that Rishi Sunak was out.

Johnson was apparently raging, saying “who the f*** does he think he is?”, according to an extract from a new book by Telegraph political editor Ben Riley-Smith.

Three years after Boris brought the then 39-year-old Rishi into the cabinet, he announced his departure swiping at Johnson’s ethics and economics as he left.

An ally of Boris at the time said: “It was basically a knife in the front.”

During the pandemic, the pair had seemingly worked well together but by 2022, things were deteriorating.

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The then Prime Minister was facing scrutiny from backbenchers over party gate and Sunak was becoming increasingly likely as a potential successor.

Ben carried out interviews with Downing Street advisers, senior civil servants, government officials and personal friends of both men for his new book, The Right To Rule.

One Boris aide claims that Johnson and Sunak weren’t always rivals and Johnson once saw Sunak as somewhat of a ‘mentee’.

He was said to gush over the Chancellor’s brilliance.

When Javid first quit in February 2020, Sunak was handed the keys to the Treasury, likely due to his financial expertise and was thrown into a tumultuous period of UK politics including the onset of Covid-19.

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Their differences came more into light as the pandemic ended and the focus turned to the economy. Johnson was vowing to end austerity with big spending, while Sunak was committed to low spending and lowering debt.

The book claims one person by Sunak’s side at the time said: “He was quite alarmed by how much the state had grown during the pandemic.

“He always wanted to get back to a form of state where you don’t need to tax as much and the private sector does more of the heavy lifting.’

An early disagreement over social care policy saw Boris demand the extra spending, with Sunak saying a National Insurance rise would have to pay for it. A move that not only split the pair but saw the Tory party turn sour as well.

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