Rishi Sunak appears set to be named as Britain’s new prime minister after Boris Johnson dropped out of the Conservative leadership race.
The former chancellor has won the backing of several senior figures within the party, including Jeremy Hunt, Grant Shapps, Priti Patel and Nadhim Zahawi.
Candidates require the support of at least 100 MPs by 2pm on Monday to enter the contest.
Penny Mordaunt, the current Commons Leader, is the only other contender to Sunak for the leadership.
However, it is not clear whether she will be able to meet the threshold of 100 backers before the deadline.
If named as Liz Truss’ successor, Sunak will become the UK’s first Hindu prime minister, while taking up the position on Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights.
Despite being the clear favourite in the race, home secretary Shapps told Sky News that Sunak does not believe that he has the leadership of the Conservatives is sealed.
“Rishi enjoys the support of a large number of Conservative MPs and there’s a very high nomination threshold of 100,” said Shapps.
“So, putting it the other way around, Rishi doesn’t think that it’s in the bag, he’s speaking to colleagues this morning.
“He’s working very hard to attract those supporters who were perhaps with Boris Johnson previously.”