Only two candidates left for UK PM post
Former UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have made it through to the final two in the race to take over the helm of the Conservative Party and assume the prime minister’s seat.
In the fifth and final round of voting by Tory MPs on Wednesday, Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt came in third and was thus knocked out.
Sunak topped the ballot, receiving the support of 137 MPs. Truss garnered 113 votes, just eight more than Mordaunt, who had come in second in all previous rounds.
However, grassroots members of the ruling party are said to be less loyal to Sunak, who is estimated to be worth over £200 million, has a heiress billionaire wife, and is known for his rather lavish lifestyle.
According to a Tuesday poll by YouGov, the ex-chancellor would lose to Truss among conservative voters by a wide margin of 54% to 35%.
The former chancellor will now need to sway voters over the rest of the summer, which promises a full schedule of campaign events. Sunak and Truss have already given a taste of what the campaign trail may look like: during the early stages of the contest for party leadership, the former colleagues in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government clashed on economic policy several times. While Truss promises tens of millions in tax cuts, Sunak insists on the necessity of repairing the post-Covid financial gaps and bringing inflation under control.
Both candidates are set to continue the current policy of supporting Ukraine, with Truss being known for a particularly tough position on Russia. She also declared recently that she would like to raise the UK’s defense spending to 3% of GDP, far beyond the 2% demanded by NATO.
The winner will be announced on September 5, after a postal vote of approximately 150,000 Tory party members. The new party leader will be appointed prime minister soon thereafter.
Until the new head of the government is installed, Johnson will continue in the role of PM. The leadership contest was announced following Johnson’s decision to step down after a series of scandals triggered a wave of resignations of senior cabinet members.