Former finance minister Rishi Sunak extended his lead in Monday’s final round of voting by Conservative MPs to decide Britain’s next prime minister, but the race to the bottom two has heated up.
Sunak won the support of 115 Conservative lawmakers, followed by Penny Mordaunt with 82 votes, Liz Truss with 71, Kemi Badenoch with 58 and Tom Tugendhat with 31, who is withdrawing as the last candidate, the party announced.
MPs will continue to vote until there are only two candidates left, with party members deciding the winner.
Mordaunt had been the bookies’ favorite before the weekend, but lost votes in the previous round.
Foreign Secretary Truss narrowed the gap to 11 and can probably expect more support from Badenoch’s backers, should the insurgent candidate be eliminated in the next round, promising a tense race to make the final cut on Wednesday. .
Television bosses on Monday scrapped a planned debate between the remaining contenders for Tuesday night after Sunak and Truss walked out, said Sky News, which was due to present it.
“Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party, exposing disagreements and divisions within the party,” it added in a statement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on July 7 that he would step down as Conservative leader after a government mutiny in protest at his scandal-hit administration.
He will remain prime minister until his successor is announced on September 5.
With NDTV inputs