London: Indian-origin Conservative Party MP Priti Patel, a vocal pro-Brexiteer who was among the candidates many expected to also contest, on Monday threw her support behind Boris Johnson instead. Patel’s decision came as the race for a new British PM to succeed Theresa May gathered pace on Monday, the deadline for all the candidates to file nominations.
Johnson, a former foreign secretary in the May Cabinet, is seen as a frontrunner to take over as Conservative Party leader and PM. Patel, a former UK international development minister, said she believes Johnson is also the right candidate to strengthen Britain’s bond with countries like India.
“Boris Johnson will bring a spirit of optimism and the ability to lift our standing in the world by strengthening the living bridge between our two great nations,” said the 47-year-old Patel. “It is about time we strengthen the political bonds between UK and India, following the recent decline. We must grow our bonds into a very special relationship built on centuries of diplomacy, trade and common values, and importantly, our people to people ties that continue to enrich our countries and links,” she said.