Rishi Sunak has failed to promise he will stand again for Parliament at the next election, as he faces a stint on the backbenches if he does not win the Tory leadership race on Monday.
The former chancellor said it would be “presumptuous” to assume he would be selected by his constituency association to be the candidate at the next election, but pledged to remain in Parliament in the meantime.
It had previously been suggested that Mr Sunak would prefer to leave politics and the country – returning to California, where he met his wife Akshata Murty while studying at Stanford University.
But on Sunday, he told the BBC’s Laura Kuenessberg that he would remain as an MP and would “support the Conservative government”.
Liz Truss is widely expected to win the Conservative leadership contest when results are announced at lunchtime on Monday.
Mr Sunak has experienced a meteoric rise in Parliament since becoming an MP in 2015 and being appointed to the Treasury as chancellor in February 2020.
He said he spent time with activists in his constituency after polls closed on Friday, adding: “It’s been a great privilege to represent them as their Member of Parliament for Richmond in North Yorkshire, I’d love to keep doing that as long as they’ll have me.”
Asked if he planned to run again as an MP at the next election, he said: “It’s presumptuous for me to say because I have to get selected by my own members.
“But I was with them on Friday night and it’s been a great privilege to represent them. And I know I can do good work for them.”
One ally told The Sunday Times he was unlikely to return to the world of business or start a career in technology because he is already rich.
“He is absolutely minted, and while he never really talks about it… going to work for Facebook means nothing to him because he probably earns more from his investments,” the source said.
“The only reason you give politics up is for money, family or health, and I don’t know if there’s a job big enough on this planet to tempt him out of politics.”
Asked on Sunday if he would consider another tilt at the Tory leadership, Mr Sunak said: “Oh gosh. We’ve just finished this campaign.
“So, I’d say… I need to recover from this one. But I look forward to supporting the Conservative government in whatever capacity.”
Mr Sunak could follow the career path of Jeremy Hunt, who ran against Boris Johnson in the 2019 Tory leadership race but has since taken charge of Parliament’s Health and Social Care Committee.
He is expected to contribute to debates in Parliament on the economy, following his stints as chancellor and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
The father-of-two has described himself as an “appalling father and husband” during the leadership race and has also pledged to spend more time with them when it is over.
His wife and mother, who has featured prominently in his campaign as a childhood inspiration, was present at the final leadership hustings in London last week.