Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the two final candidates: NPR


This composite image shows the two remaining candidates for Conservative leader Liz Truss (left) and Rishi Sunak. Tory MPs will vote in their party’s leadership race and the eventual winner is expected to be announced in September.

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Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the two final candidates: NPR

This composite image shows the two remaining candidates for Conservative leader Liz Truss (left) and Rishi Sunak. Tory MPs will vote in their party’s leadership race and the eventual winner is expected to be announced in September.

Getty Images/Getty Images

British Conservative Party lawmakers have selected the final two candidates in the race to become the UK’s next prime minister, in a voting process that now pits former finance minister Rishi Sunak against the current foreign minister Liz Truss to replace Boris Johnson.

Former Defense Minister Penny Mordaunt was eliminated with just 105 votes, while Sunak received 137 votes from Conservative MPs. Truss received 113 votes.

In a tweet shortly after Wednesday afternoon’s announcement, Truss thanked parliamentary supporters for trusting him and promised to “hit the ground running from day one”, while Mordaunt said the party would “move forward together “. Sunak tweeted that he was grateful to his colleagues and would “work night and day to carry our message across the country.”

Lawmakers will begin their summer recess tomorrow, and over the next few weeks Sunak and Truss will travel the country making their case for the party’s leadership to grassroots conservative members. They will give a series of stump speeches, followed by question and answer sessions, called “hustings”.

The process is expected to conclude in early September after a ballot of party members, in which case Johnson would formally step down as caretaker prime minister and leave Downing Street, and his chosen successor would step into the role.

It is estimated that there are up to 200,000 members of the Conservative Party in Britain, and due to the way the British parliamentary system is set up, Johnson’s resignation did not automatically trigger a new election national.

Sunak, the country’s former finance minister, resigned from the post earlier this month following Johnson’s changing narrative about a colleague accused of sexual impropriety. His departure helped precipitate Johnson’s own downfall. A former investment banker, he was first elected to parliament in 2015.

His popularity with the British public as a senior Cabinet member skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, when his Treasury Department announced a series of policies that provided many citizens with financial support.

Sunak quickly became a favorite to replace Johnson, but controversy over his wealthy wife’s tax affairs and a criminal fine for breaking lockdown rules have tarnished his reputation as a competent operator. He has also repeatedly said that the country’s currently high taxes are needed for Britain to balance its books without excessive borrowing.

Truss, the current UK foreign secretary, has remained far more loyal to Johnson and enjoyed the support of lawmakers on the party’s right wing, with a series of recent informal polls among grassroots activists also indicating that she is their preferred candidate for Prime Minister.

Prior to her career in Parliament, she worked as an accountant and was elected in her constituency about 90 miles northeast of London in 2010. She initially opposed Brexit but in recent years has taken an approach increasingly tough British relations with the European Union and has regularly threatened to breach the current trade agreement between the UK and EU countries. She has promised to cut taxes if chosen as the next prime minister.


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