Jul 19, 2022 - World

Race to replace Boris Johnson down to 3 contenders

From L-R: Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss during a TV debate. Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty

Conservative members of Parliament held their penultimate vote on the party's next leader on Tuesday, with former finance minister Rishi Sunak (118 votes) finishing first and right-winger Kemi Badenoch (59 votes) eliminated.

State of play: Trade minister Penny Mordaunt (92 votes) and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (86 votes) also survived. The last round of voting on Wednesday will trim the field down to the final two, before the party's roughly 200,000-strong membership selects the next Conservative leader and thus the U.K.'s next prime minister.

What to watch: Sunak and Mordaunt have led all four rounds thus far, but while they gained 3 and 10 votes respectively in the latest round, Truss added 15. In addition, many of Badenoch's votes are likely to go to Truss who, despite voting "remain" in the 2016 Brexit referendum, has become a hardline Brexiteer.

  • If the foreign secretary can consolidate the party's right flank behind her, she could leapfrog Mordaunt to join Sunak in the run-off.
  • Polling from Conservative Home and YouGov has found that Truss and Mordaunt are more popular than Sunak among the broader party membership, meaning the next stage could be tricky for him. He has come under fire during the campaign for his family's wealth and his insistence that the U.K. must get its fiscal house in order before lowering taxes.
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to remain in office until his successor is named, likely in early September. He has come under fire this week for skipping emergency meetings relating to Britain's record-setting heat wave.

Go deeper: How it all fell apart for Boris Johnson

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