In the race to succeed outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the field of candidates has narrowed to four names. In a vote by the conservative Tory faction, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, who was considered moderate, was eliminated as the last place, as the responsible committee announced on Monday evening.
On Wednesday evening, after further votes, only two applicants should be left. After that, the party members have the floor. It should be clear on September 5 who will succeed Johnson as party leader and head of government.
Ex-Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, who again received the most votes in Monday’s vote, has been the favourite. Sunak and competitor Liz Truss – currently Secretary of State – had heavily criticized each other during a TV debate on Sunday evening. The acrimony of the altercation reportedly sparked concern within the party. The two clashed, among other things, because of different plans for tax cuts. But there were also personal attacks.
Sunak and Truss, who came third in the most recent vote, withdrew their commitment to a planned further TV debate on Monday, after which the broadcaster canceled the event completely. Also in the running are Secretary of State for Trade Penny Mordaunt, who received the second most votes on Monday, and MP Kemi Badenoch.
Regardless of the procedure, the government announced a vote of confidence for Monday evening. She was responding to criticism that she had blocked a motion of no confidence in Johnson by the opposition Labor Party last week. Labor wanted to force Johnson to resign immediately. If the government were to lose the vote of confidence, an early election would be inevitable – but even Johnson’s opponents in the Tory party want to avoid that at all costs at the moment due to poor poll numbers. It was therefore considered certain that the government would win the vote.
Opposition leader and Labor leader Keir Starmer called it “absurd” that Johnson was likely to win the vote when it was clear he had lost his group’s support. Johnson himself defended his political legacy with a flaming speech that afternoon. The outgoing prime minister said in the London House of Commons that he had completed Brexit and made the right decisions on the big issues.