Wed, 20 Jul 2022 10:33 AM IST
Tory MPs will convene to vote for the final time on Wednesday to decide which two candidates should go through to the run-off vote among party members after Rishi Sunak topped the latest round to edge closer to the final spot in the race to pick the next British Prime Minister.
Sunak, the Indian-origin UK's former finance minister, polled 118 votes in the fourth round of voting by his party colleagues on Tuesday, just shy of the 120-mark – or one-third of Conservative Party MPs – needed to confirm his place as one of the final contenders in the race to replace Boris Johnson.
The 42-year-old British Indian former Chancellor increased his tally from Monday's 115, while Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt got 92 votes and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss 86 votes leaving the race to clinch second place still open.
Only Sunak, Mordaunt, and Truss remain in the race after Kemi Badenoch was eliminated on Tuesday. Sunak is still the frontrunner, with Mordaunt and Truss vying for the second spot in the final round.
Conservative Party members will vote over the summer, with a result to be announced on September 5, the BBC reported.
The final two candidates will be known after a fifth round of voting on Wednesday, at the end of which the race will be taken over by the Conservative Party headquarters to organise hustings in different parts of the UK.
The focus will then be on convincing the Tory party membership base, estimated at around 160,000 voters, to cast their ballots in favour of one of the two remaining candidates.
Those votes will be counted towards the end of August for the winner to be announced by September 5, with the new incumbent at 10 Downing Street going on to address his or her first Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) in the House of Commons on September 7.
"It's a very tight race and at this point, impossible to call," the BBC reported after Tuesday's voting won by Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayana Murthy.
It has been an intense few weeks for the Tory party since Johnson resigned on July 7, following the resignation of Sunak and multiple other Cabinet ministers who said they had lost confidence in his leadership in the wake of a series of scandals at the heart of his government.
Johnson chaired his final Cabinet meeting as a caretaker Prime Minister this week and is expected to take his place as a backbench Tory MP when Parliament resumes under a new Tory leader in September.
(With inputs from agencies)