The increasingly bitter race to replace British Prime Minister Johnson narrows to four

  • Sunak retains leadership in the third round of voting
  • Tom Tugendhat was eliminated from the race to replace Johnson
  • Concern that the race will split the party

LONDON (Reuters) – Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak maintained his lead in the race to become Britain’s next prime minister on Monday, with another candidate exiting, leaving four candidates in an increasingly bitter contest to succeed Boris Johnson.

Sunak received 115 votes in the third ballot for Conservative MPs on Monday, ahead of former Defense Secretary Penny Mordaunt with 82 votes and Secretary of State Liz Truss with 71.

Since Johnson said he would resign earlier this month after his scandal-ridden administration lost the support of many in his ruling Conservative Party, the race to replace him has taken an ugly turn with several contenders shooting front-runner Sunak.

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He has faced criticism on everything from his record in government to his wife’s fortune by those vying to get into the run-off between the last two candidates, with Secretary of State Truss and Mordaunt, currently the junior Commerce secretary, likely. opponents.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat, a former soldier and critic of Johnson who had no role in the government, was disqualified from Monday’s leadership contest, having received the lowest number of votes with 31.

Former Equality Minister Kimi Badenouch came fourth in the poll with 58 votes.

358 lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party will clamp down on candidates to the last two this week, eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes each time. The results of the next poll are due at 1400 GMT on Tuesday.

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A new prime minister will then be announced on September 5, after the 200,000 Conservative Party members cast their votes by mail over the summer.

heated debate

The race has become focused on pledges, or no pledges, to cut taxes, at a time when the British economy is grappling with soaring inflation, high debt and low growth that has left people with the heaviest strain on their finances in decades.

Truss has also come under fire for saying she would change the BoE’s mandate. Read more

In a televised debate on Sunday, candidates attacked each other over their records, and Truss and Snack pulled out of a third debate planned for Tuesday, amid concern among Conservatives about candidates attacking their party colleagues. Read more

“The nature of the Conservative Party is to have a strong debate and then come together once a new leader is chosen. I have no doubt that the same will happen on this occasion,” former Conservative Party minister David Jones told Reuters.

Sunak extended his lead over Mordaunt, who lost her support and scored lower than she had in the second round.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes said Monday that Truss, who received seven more votes in the third round than she did in the second round, is now the number two candidate, ahead of Mordaunt but behind Sunak.

The Truss campaign attempted to support their case for tax cuts by citing a report from the Center for Economic and Business Research, a private sector think tank, that showed there was more room for maneuver than higher tax revenues.

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But Michael Saunders, a senior official at the Bank of England, dismissed her suggestion that the government should set a “clear direction for travel” for monetary policy, saying the foundations of Britain’s framework were best left as is. Read more

“It is very clear that the government is not setting the direction of travel for monetary policy,” Saunders, one of the nine members of the Monetary Policy Committee to set rates, said at the Resolution Foundation event in London.

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(Covering) Written by Elizabeth Piper, Kylie McClellan, Alistair Smoot, David Milliken and Andy Bruce; Editing by Hugh Lawson, William James and Toby Chopra

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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