Tue, 19 Jul 2022 10:16 PM IST
Indian-origin former UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak retained the lead in the fourth round of voting on Tuesday to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, while one candidate was eliminated. Sunak came on top with 118 votes, followed by Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt with 92 votes and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss with 86 votes.
Former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch was eliminated from the contest, reducing the number of the contestants to three, according to the 1922 Committee of Conservative Party backbenchers. The other two survivors are International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt (92 votes) and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (86 votes).
The three survivors are former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (118 votes), International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt (92 votes) and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss (86 votes). Sunak has won each of the past four voting rounds. Mordaunt is a consistent second, followed by Truss," Xinhua News Agency reported.
The last vote among MPs is scheduled to take place on Wednesday. This will produce the final two candidates just before the parliamentarians go to summer recess on Thursday. Notably, the 1922 Committee aims to whittle down the field to two candidates in successive rounds of voting before the British parliamentarians break up for the summer recess on July 21.
The final two contenders will then go through a postal ballot of all the Conservative members, numbering around 200,000, over the summer and the winner will be announced on September 5, becoming the new Tory leader and the UK's next Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson replaced Theresa May as Prime Minister in 2019 and announced on July 7 that he was stepping down as Prime Minister and leader of the UK Conservative Party. A total of 58 ministers quit the government following an ethics scandal which ultimately forced the UK Premier to resign.
Johnson, 58, managed to remain in power for almost three years, despite allegations that he was too close to party donors, that he protected supporters from bullying and corruption allegations, and that he misled Parliament and was dishonest to the public about government office parties that broke pandemic lockdown rules.
Johnson would continue to remain in office until October as caretaker prime minister until a new Tory leader is elected. Johnson, who won a landslide victory in the general election in 2019, lost support after he was caught in a string of scandals, including the 'Partygate' scandal and the Pincher scandal involving his appointment of a politician accused of sexual misconduct.
Johnson, however, defended his record as prime minister in the weekly Prime Minister's Questions session in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon, as he touted his achievements of pulling off the Brexit deal, rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine and helping Ukraine.
"It's perfectly true that I leave not at a time of my choosing," he said, insisting "I'm also proud of the leadership that I have given and I will be leaving soon with my head held high," read Johnson's statement.
(With ANI Inputs)