Britain’s former chancellor Rishi Sunak looked set to become the next prime minister after Boris Johnson pulled out of the contest on Sunday, saying that the country and the Conservative Party needed unity, reported The Guardian.

Johnson had not formally announced he was contesting to replace Liz Truss, the woman who succeeded him as the prime minister, but had drummed up support of seven Cabinet ministers. Earlier on Sunday, Johnson met Sunak and other contender Penny Mordaunt to persuade them to back him.

The former prime minister had lined up the public support of 60 legislators – well short of the threshold of 100 required to be on the ballot.

Johnson, however, in a statement claimed he has the support of 102 MPs but decided not to run as it was not the right thing to do as one cannot “govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament”.

The 58-year-old said that he failed to get the support of Sunak and Mordaunt, adding that the best thing from him was to not go ahead with his nomination papers and instead support someone else.

“I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time,” Johnson said.

Sunak, who announced his decision to contest earlier on Sunday, will be named leader of the Conservative Party and become prime minister on Monday unless Mordaunt wins 100 nominations from the MPs.

The 42-year-old son of Indian immigrants has secured the backing of over 100 Conservative MPs. On Sunday, he hoped that Johnson would continue to contribute to public life after he withdrew from the running to return to 10 Downing Street.

In September, Sunak had contested to replace Johnson as the prime minister but lost the race to Truss.

If he wins now, Sunak would be the first prime minister of Indian origin in the United Kingdom.

“I served as your chancellor, helping to steer our economy through the toughest of times,” Sunak had said in a statement on Sunday. “The challenges we face now are even greater. But the opportunities if we make the right choice are phenomenal.”

The UK’s ruling party is forced to conduct a second leadership contest following Truss’ resignation on October 20 amid criticism of her handling of the country’s economy and a rebellion within her own outfit about her authority.