Liz Truss moves step closer to replacing Boris Johnson
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has enlisted the support of 20 members of Parliament, thereby gaining the right to participate in the Conservative leadership race, British media outlets reported on Tuesday ahead of the 18.00 GMT deadline set for the candidates.
Truss became the fourth hopeful to pass the threshold, after former chancellor Rishi Sunak, Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee Tom Tugendhat.
The top UK diplomat’s campaign was endorsed by two of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s closest allies, Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities Jacob Rees-Mogg and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries. Announcing his support, Rees-Mogg hailed Truss for being a “strong Eurosceptic” and claimed that she “was always opposed to Rishi’s higher taxes” which is, in his opinion, a manifestation of “proper Conservatism.”
Two other government heavyweights – Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – have announced their support for Sunak.
A major potential candidate – Home Secretary Priti Patel – ruled herself out of the race on Tuesday. She has not backed any candidate so far.
The MPs will cast the first ballot on Wednesday, with candidates needing to get 30 votes to enter the second round, which will take place the next day. The ballots will continue until all candidates except two are eliminated. The winner of the leadership race will be announced on September 5, following the nationwide vote of party members.
The updated procedure rules were approved on July 11 by the backbenchers’ 1922 Committee, several days after Boris Johnson’s announcement of his intention to step down. The decision was preceded by a flurry of scandals and a wave of resignations of senior cabinet members. Johnson pledged to continue with the job until a new leader was selected.