Digital Desk, London. Former British chancellor Rishi Sunak, who resigned over differences with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Wednesday won the first stage of a contest among Conservative MPs to succeed Johnson as head of government. He got 137 votes.
Sunak will face in the second phase – a ballot of full membership of the Conservative Party – from Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has received 113 votes.
Third place in the final round of voting by MPs was Minister of State for International Trade Penny Modrant, who won 105 votes but was eliminated from further competition, which would now include the Conservative rank and file.
A lawmaker bitter about Mordant’s defeat told the media, bitten by bad personal attacks in the (Daily) Mail and (Daily) Telegraph (both influential pro-conservative newspapers).
It is commendable for Sunak, who is of East African Indian descent and has spent only seven years in parliament, emerging as the first choice among Conservative MPs. His, in fact, has been the meteoric rise from the backbench to the second most powerful cabinet post in the British government – chancellor.
However, while he is generally expected to top the votes of MPs, opinion polls have been less optimistic about his prospects when it comes to the 200,000-odd grassroots Conservative members.
A poll published by YouGov on Tuesday indicated that in a face-off between Sunak and Truss, the latter is likely to get 54 percent of the vote against the former’s 35 percent. The remaining 11 percent are undecided.
So the coming weeks are crucial in terms of campaigning for Sunak and trying to convince most conservatives that he is their best candidate to be prime minister.
Sir Nicholas Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of the Conservative Parliamentary Party (which conducts leadership elections), revealed that voting by Conservative members would close on 2 September. The result will be declared on September 5 at 12.30 pm.
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