Thursday 14 July 2022 6:36 AM UTC
LONDON July 14: Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak won the most votes in the first round of voting to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, as two candidates were eliminated.
He received 88 votes in the first round of UK leadership election. Sunak was followed by Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, who is scoring highly in polls of Conservative members, with 67 votes, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, with 50.
Lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, ex-Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch and Attorney General Suella Braverman also remain on the ballot.
With two candidates knocked out, six lawmakers are left in the race to lead the Conservative Party and the country.
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Treasury chief Nadhim Zahawi failed to reach the threshold of 30 votes by Conservative lawmakers needed to stay in the contest.
The remaining contenders will now scramble to scoop up the two men’s supporters in a contest that will replace the flamboyant, scandal-ridden Johnson — a figure famous in Britain and around the world — with a new and much lesser-known prime minister.
The 358 Tory lawmakers had crammed into a humid corridor at Parliament on Wednesday afternoon to line up and cast their ballots in a grand room hung with oil paintings. Security staff made them hand over their phones to ensure secrecy.
Further rounds of voting will take place Thursday and, if needed, next week, until just two candidates remain.
The final two contenders will face a runoff vote by about 180,000 Conservative Party members across the country. The winner is scheduled to be announced September 5 and will automatically become prime minister, without the need for a national election.
However, a YouGov poll of nearly 900 party members found junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt was the favourite, beating any others in a run-off. She had a huge lead over Sunak, who fared badly against almost all his rivals, and is now the bookmmaer’s favourite.
They will go through to a second round of voting on Thursday.
Subsequent ballots will be held among the Conservative lawmakers eliminating the candidate with the fewest votes each time to whittle the field down to a final two by July 21. The new leader will then be chosen from those two by the 200,000 Conservative Party members, and be announced on September 5.
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