Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to face off after Penny Mordaunt is voted out and party members prepare to pick PM
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will go head-to-head to become the next leader of the Conservative Party – and prime minister of the UK – after Penny Mordaunt became the latest candidate to be knocked out of the contest.
In the fifth and final round of voting by Tory MPs, the leadership contenders received the following support:
- Ms Mordaunt – 105 votes
- Mr Sunak – 137 votes
- Ms Truss – 113 votes
There were two spoiled ballots and one person did not vote.
Ms Mordaunt had been second in all previous rounds of voting, but a late surge by Ms Truss – who gained 27 votes in 24 hours – cost her a place on the ballot, with only eight votes separating the pair.
The leader of the race, former Chancellor Mr Sunak, gained 19 supporters, while Ms Mordaunt could only recruit an extra 13.
Now it will be down to the wider Conservative Party membership to decide on its next leader from the final two after a summer of hustings, with a result set to be announced on 5 September.
Who might win
Despite coming second among MPs, Truss is the favourite among Conservative party members, according to polling, with Sunak described as the underdog. About 160,000 fee-paying members – half aged over 60, 97% white and skewing male from southern England – will have the chance to vote next month to decide who will become prime minister in early September.
Pragmatic MPs seem to favour Rishi Sunak pointing to this his experience and polling with the country
MP Theresa Villiers is backing Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership race. She told Talktv “Members will be looking at the candidate that is most likely to win the general election. They recognise a key principle of Thatcherism is responsible management of public finances.”
Tory leadership candidates have agreed to take part in a head-to-head debate on Sky News.
The event – which will be in front of a live audience – will be on Thursday 4 August at 8pm and is to be hosted by Kay Burley.
John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “There has never been a more important time to reinvigorate the trust of voters in the office of the prime minister.
“This live TV debate on Sky News gives the final two candidates a chance to reconnect with millions by debating the major issues facing Britain.
“It presents a unique opportunity to re-engage a disillusioned electorate.”
It will be broadcast live and for free on Sky News channel 501, across Sky News’ digital channels, streamed on YouTube, and simulcast to our IRN Commercial Radio partners.