British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s successor will be ex-Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. The two politicians received the most votes in the vote in the conservative parliamentary group on Wednesday, as the head of the responsible committee, Graham Brady, announced.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Mordaunt received the fewest votes, dropping out by just eight votes less to Truss. Now the members of the Tory party decide in a runoff. On September 5, a decision will be made as to who will succeed Johnson in Downing Street.
The vote had become necessary because incumbent Johnson had resigned as party leader two weeks ago under massive pressure from a parliamentary group.
In all voting rounds in the parliamentary group, the largest number of MPs voted for Sunak. However, the 42-year-old, who also appeals to the center of the party, is controversial internally. Above all, the right-wing conservative wing around Truss accuses Sunak of being responsible for the largest tax increases in recent decades.
The incumbent Prime Minister Johnson is also considered an opponent: those around him have accused the former Chancellor of the Exchequer of having betrayed the head of government by instigating Johnson’s downfall with his resignation. Sunak rejects this. The result of a survey by the polling institute Yougov among Tory party members on Tuesday also brought him bad news. Accordingly, he should lose in the runoff.
Secretary of State Truss was considered one of the favorites from the start. However, she always ended up third in the first round of elections, behind former foreign aid and defense secretary Mordaunt, who had long been considered the darling of the party base. She had made a name for herself as a vehement advocate of Brexit and received a lot of approval from the party base. Nonetheless, Mordaunt was a thorn in the side of the Tories on the far right, who accused her of overly liberal views on gender issues and a lack of cabinet experience.
As the only remaining representative of the right wing, the 46-year-old Truss was apparently able to convince many MPs who had previously voted for ex-State Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who was also right-wing conservative.
Now the party members have the floor. How many there are at the moment is unclear. In the previous party leader election in 2019, when Boris Johnson prevailed, there were around 160,000 members. At the beginning of next week, the BBC wants to broadcast a TV duel between the last two candidates, to which the applicants have already agreed.