Categories: World News

Rishi Sunak Heads Race To Become UK PM After Latest Vote

(COMBO) Six candidates remain in the running to replace UK Prime Minister after July 13, 2022 first round of voting, the Conservative Party announced, with finance minister Nadhim Zahawi and former foreign minister Jeremy Hunt eliminated. Rishi Sunak, who quit as finance minister last week to trigger Johnson’s downfall, leads the pack with the support of 88 Tory MPs, followed by Penny Mordaunt, who polling shows is most popular with the party membership that will ultimately decide the race, on 67. (Photos by various sources / AFP) 



Former finance minister Rishi Sunak came out on top in the latest round of voting Thursday by Conservative MPs to decide Britain’s next prime minister, followed by bookmaker favourite Penny Mordaunt.

Mordaunt earlier came under blistering attack after she surged in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, as another long-shot candidate for leader was eliminated.

The little-known Mordaunt, a committed Brexiteer who was briefly Britain’s first woman defence secretary before she was demoted to less senior roles, has emerged as the darling of Tory grassroots members.

In the second round of voting by Conservative MPs, the Royal Navy reservist again came a strong second with 83 votes, behind former finance minister Sunak with 101.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss — the favoured candidate of Johnson loyalists — was third with 64, after formally launching her campaign with vows of tax cuts and a smaller state.

Promising “an aspiration nation”, Truss said she would be ready “from day one” to fix the enfeebled UK economy and take on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine.

Attorney General Suella Braverman was eliminated from the race after coming last, with the five remaining candidates proceeding to the next round of voting by Tory MPs on Monday.

Polls point to Mordaunt beating Sunak, Truss and the others comfortably, once the party members decide between the final two candidates in the coming weeks.

But Mordaunt was savaged by her former boss in the Brexit ministry, David Frost, who called her unfit for office. And she is barely known nationally.

A poll of more than 2,200 adults by Savanta ComRes said only 11 percent could identify Mordaunt from her photograph, and only 16 percent of Conservative voters. Two respondents thought she was the singer Adele.

Former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, after his elimination on Wednesday, threw his support behind Sunak, whose resignation from the cabinet last week helped spark a ministerial revolt against Johnson after months of scandal.

Drawing a pointed contrast to Johnson, Hunt said the former chancellor of the exchequer was “one of the most decent, straight people with the highest standards of integrity” in politics.


Rishi Sunak, Britain’s former chancellor of the exchequer and candidate to become the next prime minister, delivers a speech at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London on July 12, 2022.  (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)


– Character not wealth –
But the wealthy Sunak faces questions about his family’s tax affairs and his prior decision to retain US residency.

And he is opposed to immediate tax cuts to confront a post-pandemic cost-of-living crisis, stressing the need instead for fiscal responsibility.

“I don’t judge people by their bank accounts, I judge them by their character,” Sunak told BBC radio.

“And I think people can judge me by my actions over the past couple of years,” he said, pointing to the economic support he designed as chancellor during the pandemic.

Mordaunt, a junior trade minister who is relatively untainted by the scandals of Johnson’s premiership, has come up the middle between Truss and Sunak with a campaign strong on patriotic themes.

But the Daily Mail took aim at her stance on transgender people, one of Britain’s “culture war” debates that has energised the party’s right-wing.

Mordaunt was “telling lies” after previously supporting transgender women in the role of equalities minister, only to take a harder line at her campaign launch this week, the newspaper quoted a Truss ally as saying.

– ‘Grave reservations’ –
Mordaunt’s political enemies have also jibed at “Part-time Penny”, alleging she has not taken her government roles seriously.

That line of attack was given new impetus from a dramatic intervention by Frost, who resigned as Brexit minister last year.

Based on their time working together, “I’m afraid I would have grave reservations” about her entering 10 Downing Street, Frost told TalkTV, revealing that at his request, Johnson had removed her from their department.

“I’m sorry to say this that I felt she did not master the detail that was necessary in the negotiations (with Brussels, over Northern Ireland) last year,” he said.

“She wouldn’t always deliver tough messages to the European Union when that was necessary, and I’m afraid she wasn’t sort of fully accountable, she wasn’t always visible. Sometimes I didn’t even know where she was.”

Mordaunt supporters rejected the portrayal, while Downing Street refused to comment.

Several television debates between the remaining candidates loom, with the first Friday night, ahead of weeks of nationwide hustings in front of Tory members. The eventual winner is set to be announced on September 5.

Nebianet Usaini

Disqus Comments Loading...
Published by
Nebianet Usaini
Tags: Rishi Sunak UK Prime Minister

Recent Posts

  • Local

Immigration Apprehends 33 Illegal Migrants From Chad, Togo In Ogun

  The Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Immigration Service has intercepted 33 illegal migrants from two locations in the…

2 hours ago
  • Qatar 2022
  • Sports

Messi Inspires Argentina To Crucial Victory Over Mexico

  Lionel Messi helped keep Argentina's World Cup bid alive with the first goal in a 2-0 victory over Mexico…

2 hours ago
  • World News

‘We Cannot Be Broken’: Zelensky Vows On Anniversary Of Stalin Famine

  President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Saturday that Ukraine would continue to resist Russian attacks, as the country marked the…

3 hours ago
  • World News

Equatorial Guinea Ruler Obiang Re-Elected For Sixth Term

  Brand new homes intended for Equatorial Guinea's lower-income families have cropped up across the capital Malabo, but shanty town…

3 hours ago
  • Crime Watch

Suspected Homosexual Arrested For Raping Five-Year-Old Boy To Death In Ogun

  A 36-year-old suspected homosexual, Sikiru Ajibola has been arrested by men of the Ogun State Police Command for allegedly…

4 hours ago
  • Politics

I Will Name, Shame Oil Thieves, Atiku Tells Business Leaders

  The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has threatened to name and shame oil…

4 hours ago