When asked during a hustings event in Cheltenham whether he had spoken to the outgoing Prime Minister since resigning from Government, Mr Sunak replied he had messaged him and tried calling, but “perhaps not surprisingly” Mr Johnson had not replied.
The Conservative contender was second, right after ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid, to quit over Mr Johnson’s mishandling of allegations surrounding former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher, who was accused of groping two men while intoxicated at a London nightclub.
In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak told Mr Johnson “the public rightly expect Government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously”.
He said he recognised “this may be my last ministerial job, but I believe these standards are worth fighting for and that is why I am resigning”.
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer launched his leadership campaign a week later.
One social media user drew a parallel between what they suggested was a disloyal move by Mr Sunak and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s relationship with the Royal Family.
@holliethecard wrote on Twitter: “If Rishi Sunak is contacting Boris Johnson to say ‘hi there, still besties?’, like Harry and Meghan wanted a photo shoot with Queen Elizabeth during her Platinum Jubilee, then both parties are totally oblivious to the great wrongs they have committed.”
Prince Harry, 37, and wife Meghan, 41, stepped back from their royal duties in 2020 before moving to the United States for a life away from the spotlight.
In a controversial interview with chatshow host Oprah Winfrey, they accused members of the Firm of making racist comments about their son Archie, with whom Meghan was pregnant at the time.
The Sussexes’ ties to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Queen have been under scrutiny ever since.
Harry and Meghan travelled to the United Kingdom for the Monarch’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June and, according to royal biographer Angela Levin, the couple were after a photo of their one-year-old daughter Lilibet with her great-grandmother.
As she joined Colin Brazier on GB News to discuss the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s low profile during the Jubilee events, Ms Levin claimed the pair wanted the picture for their upcoming Netflix docuseries, which will reportedly provide a glimpse into their and their children’s lives in California.
The biographer said: “Harry and Meghan wanted to see the Queen as soon as possible, so she saw them on the first day.
“She went in and then they asked if they brought their own photographer and they asked if he could take a picture of the two Lilibets and she said, ‘no, absolutely not possible’.
“Because they would have sold it, they would have used it for Netflix, it would give them a kudos that they had her with her great-grandmother, you know, it would be very valuable, very valuable to them.
“But actually, the Palace was so clever and cunning that they never had a chance to be photographed with any of the senior royals.”
@holliethecard argued Mr Sunak’s intentions in reaching out to Mr Johnson are somewhat similar to Harry and Meghan’s when seeking to be pictured with the Queen, suggesting it might be in the candidate’s best interest to stay close to the outgoing Tory leader.
The remark came after Nadine Dorries, one of Mr Johnson’s closest allies, last month suggested Mr Sunak was part of a “coup” that brought down the Prime Minister.
When asked about her view of Mr Sunak, the Culture Secretary told Sky News: “It’s not a secret that things happened that shouldn’t have happened and that Boris Johnson was removed via a coup.”