"Am I the only one never to have heard of him?"
As the search for the next Conservative Party leadership continues, one name on everyone’s lips is Rehman Chishti.
After Boris Johnson announced his resignation, Tory ministers announced their bid to become the next party leader.
There are currently 11 candidates.
But while Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid are well-known names, one obscure name is Rehman Chishti.
That is why it was such a surprise when he threw his hat into the ring.
Unsurprisingly, people were completely unaware of him and took to social media.
One person asked: “Rehman Chishti? Am I the only one never to have heard of him?”
Another commented: “I’ve never heard of you until a minute ago.”
A third said: “Not even the Tory parliamentary party know who Rehman Chishti is.”
But who is this surprising addition to the Tory leadership race?
Rehman Chishti has represented Gillingham and Rainham since 2010 and when he entered the Commons aged just 31, the former barrister was named in several profiles as a new MP to look out for, one even calling him a potential future prime minister.
However, Chishti remained on the backbenches, rising no further than a brief spell as a vice-chairman as of the Conservative Party.
He also spent a year as Boris Johnson’s special envoy for religious freedom.
Chishti announced his bid for Tory leadership just two days after achieving ministerial status, becoming a third-tier minister at the Foreign Office.
This came as a result of the mass resignations that eventually led to Boris Johnson resigning, forcing Downing Street to draft in several newcomers.
Rehman Chishti was born in Pakistan but grew up in Kent.
He studied law and went on to become a barrister. Afterwards, he spent some time as an advisor to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
When he returned to the UK, Chishti became a councillor and then an MP.
Chishti backed Johnson to become Prime Minister in 2019. But in 2020, he resigned as a special envoy over the internal markets bill, which gave ministers the power to unilaterally rewrite elements of the Brexit withdrawal agreement with the EU.
He announced his candidacy on Twitter, writing:
“I’m standing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister.”
“For me, it’s about aspirational conservatism, fresh ideas, fresh team for a fresh start taking our great country forward.”
Chishti also posted a launch video on Facebook where he talks about arriving in the UK as a child and being unable to speak English.
He then discusses his policies, including lower taxes and a focus on better mental wellbeing.
So far, Chishti has received the support of no other MP, meaning he is unlikely to reach whatever nomination threshold the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers decide upon later on July 11, 2022.
Rishi Sunak remains the favourite to become Tory leader.