Former finance minister Rishi Sunak cemented his lead over rivals to become Britain’s next prime minister on Thursday in an increasingly stiff race to replace Boris Johnson.
Sunak, who pulled out of the Treasury last week as one of the first in a string of resignations that forced Johnson to step down, has become a leader among Conservative lawmakers despite being thwarted by some. who blamed his role in Johnson’s downfall.
He faced competition from Penny Mordaunt, a junior commerce minister, and foreign minister Liz Truss, who had launched her official campaign earlier arguing that she was the only candidate. most experienced to make the necessary “hard decisions”.
There is now five hope, after pro-Brexit Justice Secretary Suella Braverman was dropped from the race on Thursday for failing to meet the 30-vote threshold in the second round.
Whoever gets the job will suffer from soaring inflation and low economic growth, as well as the public’s lack of trust in politics following Johnson’s scandalous tenure in power.
After maintaining his lead, Sunak thanked his supporters and said on Twitter: “I’m ready to give everything I have to serve our nation. Together, We can restore trust, rebuild our economy and unify the country.”
Earlier, he went on the air to say that his first economic priority would be to tackle high inflation, not the tax cuts that his opponents have pledged.
Truss, who is hoped to eventually launch his official campaign, is the latest to also promise to restore trust in politics, trying to steer clear of increasingly personal and bitter briefings and responses from the opposition.
“I will campaign as a Conservative and I will run as a Conservative. I can lead, I can make tough decisions, and I can get things done. I was ready to be prime minister from day one,” Truss said.
When asked why she didn’t step down when support for Johnson vanished leading to her resignation last week, she said: “I’m a loyalist. I’m loyal to Boris Johnson.”
There’s still a way to go
The Remainers – including former equality minister Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, chair of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee – will face a third round of Conservative votes on Monday.
If all candidates reach the 30-vote barrier, the person with the lowest number of votes will be disqualified from the contest. Subsequent votes will remove the candidate with the fewest votes each, to move the field down to the final two votes by July 21.
The new leader will then be chosen from those two by the country’s 200,000 Conservative Party members and will be announced on September 5.
Sunak may be the most popular candidate among his peers, but a YouGov poll of nearly 900 team members found Mordaunt to be the most popular, beating any other in the competition. run away. She has a huge lead over Sunak, who has beaten most of his opponents, and she is currently the house’s favorite.
The UK economy is besieged by rising inflation, high debt and low growth leaving people struggling with the most constrained financial situation in decades. Fuel prices have skyrocketed during the energy crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
The leadership campaign offers a glimpse into the difficulties the new prime minister may face and the rifts within the party. Mordaunt has resisted criticism from former Brexit negotiator David Frost that she is not tough enough on the EU.
Tugendhat, who finished fifth in the second round of voting, said, “It’s only fair that we (the candidates) get criticism… I’m asking the British people for the credit for the job.” highest job in the country,” he told reporters. .
“When you ask a big question, you should scrutinize the experts and expect to answer the questions yourself.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)