Final duel Rishi Sunak / Liz Truss in the race to Downing Street

Final duel Rishi Sunak / Liz Truss in the race to Downing Street

In seven weeks, one of them will lead the British government: ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak and foreign minister Liz Truss qualified for the final duel in the Downing Street race to succeed on Wednesday to Boris Johnson.

Selected by the deputies of the party after a series of five votes, the two competitors will be decided by the 200,000 members of the conservative party, after a postal vote whose result is expected for September 5. .

In the meantime, they will travel the United Kingdom from the end of July to the end of August to participate in a series of debates to convince the activists, announced the Conservative party.

Rishi Sunak obtained 137 votes from Conservative MPs on Wednesday, ahead of Liz Truss (113 votes) and Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Penny Mordaunt, eliminated with 105 votes, according to results announced by Graham Brady, the head of the organization of the internal ballot.

After the resignation on July 7 of Boris Johnson, swept away by scandals, it is now certain that the British government will be led either for the first time by a non-white man, or for the third time by a woman.

After their qualification for the final was announced, both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss presented themselves as capable of beating the Labor opposition in the next election scheduled for 2024, which the accumulation of scandals under Boris Johnson propelled to the top of the polls .

Whether long-established or elected when Boris Johnson triumphed at the end of 2019, many Tory MPs fear losing their seats after the Conservatives have been in power for 12 years.

Bowing out during a final question and answer session in Parliament as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson split a “hasta la vista, baby” and advice for whoever will succeed him: ” Stay close to Americans, support Ukrainians, fight for freedom and democracy everywhere. Lower taxes and deregulate where you can to make this country the best place to live and invest.”

– Very open race –

Rishi Sunak, 42, whose departure from government in early July helped precipitate the fall of Boris Johnson, has been in the lead since the first vote of Tory MPs.

However, the competition, very open, is far from being won for the one who seems less popular with the base of the party than with the deputies.

According to a YouGov poll published on Tuesday, the ex-finance minister would be largely beaten in the final.

Conversely, Liz Truss, 46, was deemed unconvincing last week but managed to catch up, to the point of taking second place from Penny Mordaunt in the last vote.

Aged 49 and almost unknown to the British 10 days ago, this former Minister of Defense had been propelled favorite in a YouGov poll last week but deemed vague and unconvincing during two televised debates.

Her campaign team presented her as embodying “change” while her two rivals, heavyweights under Johnson, are the candidates for “continuity”.

She thanked her teams in a tweet for their “hard work”, “we are moving forward together”.

The crisis of confidence and questions of integrity have marked the campaign, with the candidates all saying they want to turn – at least in form – the page of the Johnson era marred by scandals.

The candidates also debated widely over how they intended to tackle the cost of living crisis that is strangling British households, as inflation accelerated further in June, to 9.4% year on year.

A debate between the two finalists will be held next Monday on the BBC, announced the public audiovisual group. It will take place live from Stoke-on-Trent, a city in central England which voted more than 69% for Brexit in the 2016 referendum, in front of an audience of 80 to 100 people.

Another debate is scheduled for August 4 on the private Sky News channel.

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