Rishi Sunak’s lead narrows as race for UK leader heats up | Elections News

Former UK finance minister Rishi Sunak has maintained its lead among Conservative lawmakers in the race to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, but his remaining two opponents are closing the gap.

However, the race remained wide open on Tuesday after members of the party’s parliament removed former equality minister Kemi Badenoch from the competition, leaving Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt, a commerce minister. low-level, are the remaining candidates.

Badenoch exited the race with 59 votes, while Rishi Sunak added three votes to his Monday tally, securing a fourth vote with 118. Mordaunt reached 92, while Truss gained 15 votes for a total. 86 votes.

Lawmakers will eliminate one more candidate before 200,000 members of the ruling party choose their new leader, who will become prime minister.

Unlike 2019, when the clear favorite Johnson entered the contest, the results were more difficult to predict, with opinion polls by party members suggesting Sunak would lose to whoever is chosen. to confront him.

Are from Johnson says he will resign Earlier this month after his scandalous administration lost the support of many Conservatives, the race to replace him has worsened with sloppy trading rivals and fraught records. challenge.

Conservative leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch in 'Britain's Next Prime Minister: ITV Debate' at Riverside Studios in London
Kemi Badenoch has won a following for what some have described as her criticism of ‘waking up’ ideas [Jonathan Hordle/ITV/EPA-EFE]

Mordaunt only took second place and thanked colleagues for their support.

“We were almost over the finish line. I am eager to go and excited to take my case to members nationwide and win,” she said in a statement.

A Truss spokesman said it was time for “the party to unite to support a candidate who will govern in a Conservative way and who has shown she can deliver time and time again”.

Sunak, Truss and Mordaunt have offered policy proposals to fuel their campaigns, trying to shift focus away from pledges to cut taxes, at a time when Britain’s stellar economy makes people have to tighten their finances the most in decades.

Sunak, whose resignation as finance minister contributed to Johnson’s downfall, said he would enforce harsher sentences for criminals who did not show up for court and would crack down on gangs that specialize in arrests. girls and young women to have sex.

“It will be my top priority in government to keep the British public safe – and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen,” he said in a statement.

All three will want to attract supporters of Badenoch, an anonymous relative who has gained a following for what some have described as her criticism of so-called “awakening” ideas. .

They will also be interested in their right-wing credentials to call to join the party, which, according to 2020 research by the Queen Mary University and University of Sussex’s Party Membership Project, tends to be older, male , British male and Brexit supporters.

Members will vote in a postal ballot with the result on September 5. A YouGov poll showed Sunak would lose one vote to all others and Truss jumped. to the preferred position in the betting market.

Truss, who spoke out in support of Ukraine after the Russian invasion, repeated his pledge to increase defense spending to 3% of gross domestic product by 2030.

“We live in an increasingly dangerous world where threat levels are higher than a decade ago and we need a stronger deterrent to face those threats and ensuring the UK is at the forefront of the global arena.

“My number one priority is to keep this country safe and people can count on me to do that.”

Mordaunt is also committed to delivering on Johnson’s so-called upgrading – or addressing regional inequality – agenda in the UK.

“My economic plan will boost the country’s competition and growth, create future jobs and help the country live well,” she said in a statement.

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