Updated: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 04:19 PM IST
The race for the next UK Prime Minister has been narrowed to the last two candidates of the Conservative Party. Former finance minister Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss will battle it out to become Britain's next prime minister after they won the final lawmaker vote, setting up the last stage of the contest to replace Boris Johnson.
"I'm absolutely delighted by the result, I want to thank all the colleagues who supported me and all the other conservative party candidates," said Liz Truss on excelling in the race to become UK PM.
Rishi Sunak also expressed his gratitude and said that " he is the only candidate who can defeat Keir Starmer and the labour party at the next UK election."
So far, Sunak has led in all rounds of the voting among Conservative lawmakers and he swept the last one with 137 votes while second-placed Truss won the support of 113 MPs. Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt was knocked out of the race after coming in third with 105 votes.
Sunak has already crossed the magical number tally of 120 votes before the final showdown. UK will announce their next PM on September 5 and it is just a matter of a week-long contest between the two candidates before the final results.
The final stretch of a weeks-long contest will pit Sunak, a former Goldman Sachs banker who has raised the tax burden towards the highest level since the 1950s, against Truss, a convert to Brexit who has pledged to cut taxes and regulation. Whoever triumphs when the result is announced on Sept. 5 will inherit some of the most difficult conditions in Britain in decades.
Sunak, who helped steer the economy through the pandemic, might not find a forgiving crowd among party members with many blaming him for triggering Johnson's downfall with his resignation earlier this month. He has also faced criticism on everything from his record in government to his wife's wealth.
Truss might struggle at the hustings against Sunak, who is more relaxed in public appearances. On Sunday she admitted she might not be "the slickest presenter" but "when I say I'll do something, I do it"
However, polls show Truss would beat Sunak in the party members' contest, opening up the chance that Conservatives elect a leader who was not the most popular choice for lawmakers.
Eleven candidates originally put their names forward, but in a fifth and final ballot of Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday, only two were left. The first was held on July 13th while the second was on July 14th and the most recent was on July 20th in which Rishi Sunak topped.