Jul 14, 2022 - World

Race to replace Boris Johnson down to final 5 candidates

Boris Johnson announces he's stepping down. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

A second round of voting among Conservative members of Parliament cut the contenders to be the U.K.'s next prime minister down to five, led by former finance minister Rishi Sunak, who received 101 votes, and trade minister Penny Mordaunt (83 votes).

State of play: Attorney General Suella Braverman, a hardline Brexiteer, was eliminated. That leaves Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (64 votes) and former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch (49 votes) competing to consolidate the party's right flank behind them. Tom Tugendhat (32 votes), a moderate ex-army officer, also survived the second round.

  • The remaining candidates will take part in TV debates on Friday, Sunday and Monday. Three additional rounds of voting among Conservative MPs are expected next week, with one candidate eliminated each time, until the field is whittled down to two.
  • After that, the two remaining candidates will compete for the votes for the broader party membership, with the results to be announced by Sept. 5.
  • A YouGov poll shows Mordaunt far ahead of her rivals among the party members, despite the fact that she is relatively unknown to the country at large. Just 20% of Brits say they know at least "a fair amount" about the former defense secretary, according to an Ipsos poll.

By the numbers: Mordaunt picked up the most votes (+16) after two contenders were knocked out in the first round, followed by Truss (+14), Sunak (+13) and Braverman (+9). Tugendhat lost five votes.

  • If Truss manages to pick up most of Braverman's 27 votes, she could move to within striking distance of the top two candidates.

Flashback: Boris Johnson resigned on July 7 after a series of scandals but will remain in office until his successor is chosen.

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