UK: Rishi Sunak is ahead of the field in a close Tory leadership race

Richi Sunak delivers Spring Statement 2022

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Following his victory in the second round of voting to select Boris Johnson’s successor, Rishi Sunak is now the target of opponents for the Tory leadership position.

Suella Braverman, the attorney general, was eliminated in the vote on Thursday, leaving five candidates standing.

101 people voted for Mr. Sunak. With 83 votes, Penny Mordaunt overtook him, and Liz Truss received 64 votes to finish third.

Before the next vote on Monday, the contenders will now try to win over Ms. Braverman’s 27 supporters.

Both Tom Tugendhat, head of the foreign affairs committee, who finished fifth with 32 votes, and Kemi Badenoch, a former equalities minister received 49 votes, say they are committed to continuing the race.

The five contenders will participate in live discussions on Channel 4 on Friday, ITV on Sunday, and Sky on Tuesday.

By the end of the following week, Tory MPs hope to reduce the field to two, at which point the winner, who will become prime minister, will be decided by a postal vote among Tory members.

On September 5, when Boris Johnson leaves government, the result will be made public.

With Mr. Sunak currently leading the first two MP ballots, the race to see who will make it to the final run-off is starting to resemble a brawl.

One of the first in a wave of resignations of ministers that led Boris Johnson to resign from his position as the Conservatives leader.

Boris Johnson’s downfall was allegedly planned by Mr. Sunak, according to Mr. Johnson’s allies, who have also harshly criticised the tax increases he enacted while serving as chancellor.

A member of Mr. Sunak’s campaign claimed that other candidates had broken their promises and that the former chancellor would “keep on with solid messaging on the economic agenda.”

As the contenders’ allies attacked their competitors personally on Thursday, the leadership race grew more heated.

Former Brexit negotiator David Frost criticised Ms. Mordaunt and questioned her suitability for the competence of being a prime minister which she batted away

He stated that Ms. Mordaunt, a supporter of Brexit, wouldn’t always deliver severe signals to the European Union during negotiations last year when he worked with her.

Ms. Mordaunt’s supporters claimed that she had “nothing but respect” for Lord Frost and that she would “always fight for Brexit.”

Mr. Tugendhat declared in a tweet that he would continue the race and participate in the future TV debates to present the people with his “vision for Britain.”

The backbencher said his fight for “a clean start” would continue, adding that they needed faith back in their politics. He received five less votes in the second round.

According to Ms. Truss’s campaign team, who noted that Thursday’s outcome, the foreign secretary was “attracting a wide range of supporters from across the Conservative Party,” 

Now was the moment for MPs to unify behind the candidate who would cut taxes and bring about real economic change they needed, continue to deliver the benefits of Brexit and ensure Putin lost in Ukraine, a spokesperson for Ms. Truss stated.

Although she was “disappointed” with the outcome, Ms. Braverman told the BBC that she was “blown away by the work of her team” and the support she received.

She had positioned herself as the sole genuine Brexiteer contender, citing the fact that she had quit her position as a minister for Brexit under the previous prime leader Theresa May due to her deal.

Since 2015, the former attorney has represented Fareham in Hampshire as an MP, taking over Geoffery Cox as the attorney general in the year 2020. 

When questioned about which candidate she would support in the upcoming election, Ms. Braverman responded, she would be looking for a candidate who could come close to her Brexit credentials.

Following is the data presented by BBC on the performance of each contender in the Tory leadership race.