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Montevideo, February 7th 2023 - 08:47 UTC

 

 

Five candidates to replace PM Liz Truss, “fighter turned a quitter”; chaos among Conservatives

Friday, October 21st 2022 - 10:55 UTC
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No-one has yet confirmed that they will stand, but here are some of the potential candidates, according to a brief BBC survey. Photo: Number 10 No-one has yet confirmed that they will stand, but here are some of the potential candidates, according to a brief BBC survey. Photo: Number 10

Liz Truss announced on Thursday she will resign, which means there will now be another leadership election to decide who becomes the next Conservative leader and prime minister. The contest to replace “the lettuce” as some London media identifies Ms Truss sis expected to be completed by the end of next week.

Would-be candidates need at least 100 nominations from fellow Tory MPs to get on the ballot, meaning no more than three of them will be able to stand because there are 357 Tory MPs.

Read also: Tories scratching their heads in search of a replacement for resigning PM Truss

In practice, there are likely to be two candidates; or even one, who would become leader without a vote by party members. No-one has yet confirmed that they will stand, but here are some of the potential candidates, according to a brief BBC survey.

Rishi Sunak ran to replace Boris Johnson as leader earlier this summer and made it to the final two along with Ms Truss, having won the most support from Conservative MPs.

During the campaign he warned that his rival's tax plans would damage the economy, but his message failed to appeal to party members and he lost by 21,000 votes.

Mr Sunak only became an MP in 2015, for the North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond. Few outside Westminster had heard of him, but he was chancellor of the exchequer by February 2020.

He quickly had to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, spending huge amounts of money trying to keep the economy afloat during lockdown.

This didn't come easily to a man who saw himself as a low tax and spend Conservative on the Thatcherite wing of the party but it did boost his popularity.

However, his reputation was dented following a controversy over his wife's tax affairs, and not long after that he received a fine for breaching lockdown rules.

Penny Mordaunt had a taste of being prime minister earlier this week when she stood in for Liz Truss during an urgent question in Parliament. She received good reviews for her confident performance at the dispatch box and may fancy another tilt at the leadership.

She stood in the last contest, and secured strong support from her fellow MPs but just missed out on making it the final two.

After backing Ms Truss, she was appointed leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Privy Council - which meant she presided over the Accession Council for the new king.

In 2019, Ms Mordaunt made history by becoming the UK's first female defense secretary - a natural fit for a naval reservist who had already served as armed forces minister under David Cameron.

Boris Johnson was forced to announce his resignation in July, after a mass revolt by ministers and MPs. It followed months of rows over Downing Street lockdown parties and other controversies, including his appointment of Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip, despite being aware of a formal complaint about the MP's “inappropriate behavior”.

The MP for Uxbridge faces an investigation by the Privileges Committee into whether he obstructed the Commons by telling MPs that lockdown rules had been followed at No 10. He and others were subsequently fined for Covid breaches.

However, he still has allies both in Parliament and the party membership in general.

While many leading Tories divide opinion within the party, the defense secretary is widely seen by fellow MPs as a safe pair of hands. Ben Wallace has drawn increasing attention since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as the UK made an early decision to support Kyiv with weapons and training.

Despite his opposition to Brexit, Mr Wallace has been a key supporter of Boris Johnson and was rewarded with a cabinet post in 2019. Before becoming a politician, he served as a soldier in Germany, Cyprus, Belize and Northern Ireland, where he thwarted an IRA effort to carry out a bomb attack against British soldiers.

After Mr Johnson stood down, there had been suggestions Mr Wallace could run - particularly as he was topping polls run by the Conservative Home website - however he opted to support Ms

Truss instead, describing her as “authentic”.

Kemi Badenoch was the surprise breakthrough candidate of the most recent leadership race - and although she didn't win, the contest helped significantly boost her profile.

Although a relatively junior minister, she won the support of senior Conservative Michael Gove, and drew attention for her attacks on so-called “woke” culture.

Born in Wimbledon, south London, she grew up in the US and Nigeria, where her psychology professor mother had lecturing jobs.

Before arriving in Parliament - where she represents Saffron Walden - she worked for private bank Coutts and The Spectator magazine.

Her most senior role in government to date has been leading the international trade department.

The former home secretary's resignation piled the pressure on Liz Truss, and the prime minister stood down less than 24 hours later. Although Ms Suela Braverman's departure was ostensibly about a data breach, her angry resignation letter hinted at a disagreement over immigration.

Ms Braverman has sought to appeal to her party's right wing on social issues, saying it is her “dream” to begin transporting migrants to Rwanda, as well as criticising the “tofu-eating wokerati”.

The former barrister is a Brexit supporter who was attorney general in Boris Johnson's government. She stood in the last leadership contest following his resignation but was voted out in the second round.

Since the June 206 vote to leave Europe, Brexit, UK has had four Prime Ministers and in the next few days will have a fifth occupant at 10 Downing Street,

 

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