Chancellor Rishi Sunak failed three times to rule out that he could launch a leadership bid in the future.
Speaking to Beth Rigby Interviews on Sky News, the Chancellor was asked whether he would go for the top job if the opportunity arises.
He was read a quote from Boris Johnson, who said in 2013 that being prime minister “would be a great, great thing to have a crack at”, if “the ball came loose from the back of the scrum”.
Sunak said: “I’m much more a cricket and football fan, so I don’t know what the appropriate analogy is.”
“But as we’ve talked about at the moment, there’s a lot going on, there’s a big job to do and I’m fully focused on doing that job and trying to do it as well as I can.”
Asked again, with a cricket analogy, if he would be interested, he said: “At this point, I’m just trying to stay at the crease and keep in place and not get out.”
Asked a third time, this time with a football comparison, he said: “We’re stretching these analogies too far.”
The Chancellor defended his spring statement which he delivered on Wednesday, which has been criticised for doing little to help struggling families, but said: “I can’t protect them from absolutely everything that we face.”
Sunak said said he was “anxious” on the country’s behalf about the rising cost of living.
“Yeah, I’m anxious on their behalf and I know that it’s the number one concern that people have right now.”Rishi Sunak
“Families are struggling with the rising cost of lots of things. And that’s why in the spring statement I wanted to make sure that we demonstrated we were on people’s side, and we announced the tax plan that will deliver the biggest net cut taxes, net cut to personal taxes in two years, in quarter of a century taken together.”
He said: “Where we can make a difference, we will, and I’m confident that the plan yesterday will do that.”
The Chancellor added: “I think what we’ve done is substantial. If you take together £9 billion to help people with energy bills announced last month, the significant tax cuts that we announced yesterday, they will all help. But of course they can’t mitigate all the difficulties that high inflation is causing. No chancellor could do that.”