Rishi Sunak tops new vote to edge closer to final spot in British PM race

British Indian former Chancellor Rishi Sunak received 118 votes in the fourth round of voting by his party colleagues, just shy of the 120-mark

Updated - July 20, 2022 12:48 pm IST

Published - July 19, 2022 08:26 pm IST - London

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in London. File

Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in London. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

As Britain experienced record high temperatures on Tuesday, the race for Downing Street and the leadership of the Conservative party was also heating up. Former U.K. Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, held on to his lead in the Tory contest after the fourth round of voting on Tuesday sent former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch out of the race with 59 votes from fellow Tory MPs.

Mr Sunak, 42, won 118 votes, a gain of three since the third round of voting on Monday night. Trade minister Penny Mordaunt came in second with 92 votes, a gain of 10 votes since Monday, followed by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss who got 86 votes. Ms Truss won the most votes relative to Monday, winning the support of an additional 15 MPs, suggesting that the 31 votes the fifth candidate , MP Tom Tugendhat, had won in the previous round, were split across the remaining candidates.

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Mr Sunak is now one vote away from 119 (or a third of 357 MPs ) - the threshold is therefore 120, to make it to the final two, whose names will be announced on Wednesday afternoon. One of the 358 Tory MPs, Tobias Ellwood, was suspended from the parliamentary party after he missed a vote of confidence in Boris Johnson’s government on Monday, due to travel. This has reduced the number of MPs eligible to vote to 357.

Also Read: Voters believe Rishi Sunak will make good PM, U.K. opinion poll finds

Although Ms Truss came in third on Tuesday, she is a serious contender for a slot in the final two - depending on how Ms Badenoch’s votes are distributed in Wednesday’s voting. The final contest remains unpredictable at this stage. Mr Sunak lost in head to head contests with Ms Truss, Ms Mordaunt and Ms Badenoch in a YouGov poll released on Tuesday.

The two candidates who emerge from Wednesday’s race will campaign with members of the party in the coming weeks, with the winner, i.e., the next British Prime Minister, announced before September 5.

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