Eight Contenders Vie to Lead Conservative Party – And Britain

(CNSNews.com) – Conservative Party lawmakers in Britain will hold the first in a series of votes on Wednesday to whittle down candidates to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader – and the country’s next prime minister – with eight hopefuls in the running.

Two politicians thought earlier to be among the likeliest contenders are both out of the race.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, a clear favorite in early polling, ruled himself out of contention on Sunday.

Sajid Javid, who held several senior cabinet posts before resigning as health secretary last week – a move that helped to bring about Johnson’s own resignation two days later – failed to receive the required endorsement of 20 sitting Tory lawmakers before nominations closed on Tuesday.

The eight candidates remaining in the contest are: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, former Treasury head Rishi Sunak (whose resignation last week also help to precipitate Johnson’s), House of Commons foreign affairs select committee chairman Tom Tugendhat, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Treasury head Nadhim Zahawi, former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, and Attorney General Suella Braverman.


In Wednesday’s secret ballot vote by the party’s 358 lawmakers, any candidate failing to get at least 30 votes will be eliminated.

Each subsequent round of voting will then result in the lowest-scoring candidate fall away, until two remain. The eventual winner will be chosen in a postal ballot by registered Conservative Party members across the U.K. (As of spring 2021, membership stood at 200,000. Only those who joined the party before June 3 are eligible to take part in the leadership vote.)

The final result is to be announced on September 5. Until then Johnson, who resigned after several scandals and a wave of resignations, has said he will remain in office as caretaker prime minister.

If previous Tory leadership contests are anything to go by, rounds of voting will probably see support coalesce around candidates representing the party’s centrist and right-wing factions.

Truss, who as foreign secretary has taken a hawkish stand on Russia and China, is a potential flagbearer for the right-wing, with her high-profile cabinet post putting her at an advantage over her less well-known rivals on the right, Braverman and Badenoch.

The other five candidates are all more centrist, with Sunak and Mordaunt looking to be frontrunners in this bloc.

A snap YouGov poll of Conservative Party members after Johnson resigned found that most wanted in a new leader “someone who would make a competent prime minister,” followed by “someone who will unite the Conservative party behind them,” and “someone who has the best chance of winning the 2024 election.”

As a permanent member of the Security Council, one of the world’s seven biggest democratic economies, and arguably Washington’s closest ally, Britain plays a major role on the global stage.

“We face huge challenges abroad, from an aggressive Russia to an increasingly assertive China,” Truss wrote in a Daily Telegraph column announcing her candidacy. “It will be an uphill battle, but one we can win by delivering for the British people. I am putting myself forward because I can lead, deliver and make the tough decisions.”

Truss also claimed credit for having “helped to lead the international response to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war in Ukraine.”

At home, Truss promised tax cuts from her first day as prime minister, a stance being embraced to varying degrees by the other candidates, with Sunak the clear exception.

The former Treasury chief said when launching his campaign on Tuesday that he would not cut taxes until inflation had been brought under control. Sunak warned that getting through economic hard times required “honesty and responsibility – not fairy tales.”



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