Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak said to be locked in talks

With Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the two main potential candidates in contest to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, said to be locked in talks, speculation has been mounting over whether the pair could strike a deal to lay the foundations for a unified Conservative government, local media reported.

Earlier reports began to emerge that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak held talks late into the night – fuelling speculation they could strike a deal, Sky News reported.

Now Sky News understands that the talks between the pair did take place.

Neither the former prime minister nor the ex-chancellor have officially declared themselves in the race to succeed Liz Truss as prime minister.

And it is still unclear what was discussed during the talks last night.

The country needs a “big player” like Boris Johnson who is a “great unifier and campaigner”, Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton Harris has said.

Speaking on whether the former prime minister had enough MPs backing him, he said that Johnson “definitely had enough numbers”, Sky News reported.

Heaton Harris went on to say that Johnson was a “great unifier” and a “great campaigner”, adding: “He is someone who has a solid sense of what the country wants to hear and what needs to happen.”

Boris Johnson would be a “guaranteed disaster”, Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker has said as he confirmed his support for Rishi Sunak, Sky News reported.

Baker said while there was a “lot of love out there” for the former prime minister, now was not the time for his “style”.

He said: “I’ve been a big fan of Boris Johnson so many times, but this isn’t the time for Boris’ style. I’m afraid the trouble is because of the privileges vote, Boris would be a guaranteed disaster.

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