ishi Sunak has said he still speaks to Boris Johnson “on occasion” despite the fallout that followed his resignation as chancellor under his predecessor-but-one’s premiership.
The Prime Minister said he was “proud of the work we did together” before he became one of the first in a series of ministerial departures which ended in the former Tory leader’s downfall.
Mr Sunak has also not ruled out bringing the former PM back into the fold as he did with David Cameron, saying only that he would “never talk about these personnel things”.
Asked in an interview with ITV whether he misses Mr Johnson, he said: “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”.
On whether he would consider offering a Cabinet position to the ex-MP, who quit the Commons last year after a parliamentary committee found he had lied to the House over partygate, Mr Sunak said: “Well, I never talk about these personnel things, but look, I, you know, I speak to him on an occasion.”
The last time the pair spoke was “late last year”, he suggested.
However, Mr Sunak insisted he has a “completely new team” in which “people are held accountable.”
“I make sure that everyone is honest about what’s going on. It’s very transparent,” he said.
The Prime Minister served as chancellor in Mr Johnson’s government for two years before resigning along with then-health secretary Sajid Javid in July 2022, triggering a mass exodus of MPs from government and party roles.
A rivalry between Mr Sunak and his former boss then emerged as he embarked on a campaign for Mr Johnson’s job, with both vying to take back control of the Tory Party following Liz Truss’ short-lived tenure as PM.
Elsewhere, the Prime Minister insisted plots against him are “minuscule” following reports of Tory MPs seeking to replace him as leader.
“I don’t think the country votes for divided parties,” he said.
“And you know, actually I think that the vast majority of our party is united. And you, you know, 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.”
The Prime Minister also insisted his wealth is not an issue for voters and accused those who attack him over it of having a “lack of ambition for our country”.
Mr Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, have a combined wealth estimated at about £529 million, according to 2023’s Sunday Times Rich List.
Polling suggests the Prime Minister faces an uphill battle ahead of the general election expected later this year, with Labour currently enjoying a sustained lead.
“I think most people in our country are fair-minded,” Mr Sunak said.
“And you know what, if someone wants to attack that or make it a political smear, I actually think it says more about them and their ambition for our country, or lack of it, than it does about me and where I come from.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub