When the dispute over the leadership of the UK Conservative Party began, few members of the government supported Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, but now there is a sense that she will become the next prime minister of the UK.
“You only lose if you want to” is the common refrain of party members, who will vote in the coming weeks to name the new Conservative leader and Boris Johnson’s successor.
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Race for UK Prime Minister is between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss
For many members, Truss’ strength is less about her and more about her rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, who, according to several conservatives, cannot receive the keys to 10 Downing Street (the official residence and office of the Prime Minister) after “stabbing” Johnson.
After Johnson was forced to announce his resignation on July 7 amid waves of scandal, party lawmakers narrowed the race to 11 candidates for Truss and Sunak — and it is now up to all party members to decide, with the result. to be announced on September 5th.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss during the campaign for the post of UK Prime Minister (Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville)
With the UK facing a possible recession and spiraling inflation, most of the party want their next leader to bring stability, tired of the chaos caused by the Johnson administration and a bitter leadership contest.
Opinion polls among members put Truss, 47, well ahead of Sunak, 42. Truss last week had a 24-point lead over Sunak, according to YouGov, although she trailed Sunak among lawmakers’ votes. But having an unenthusiastic support base in the party can make her vulnerable if she can’t stabilize the ship quickly.
Debate between UK prime minister candidates comes to a halt
“Obviously I want Liz Truss if it’s one of the two,” said Paul Donaghy, Conservative councilor for the Washington South district of Sunderland, a northern England town that became synonymous with Brexit when it was the first region to fall to the side. leave” in the results of the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union.
“She was one of the only ones who didn’t put the knife in Boris and I think that rings true for a lot of people,” said Donaghy, who initially supported another candidate.
Donaghy’s view echoes that of many party members, some of whom joined the party because of Johnson and are skeptical of Sunak, whose July 5 resignation as finance minister helped spark a wider rebellion. broadly against the prime minister by the Conservative MPs.
Truss and Sunak exchanged barbs especially over the timing of eventual tax cuts, with Sunak describing Truss’ plans for immediate reductions as “comforting fairy tales”, although he made an adjustment this week, offering relief from rising bills. power.
Truss, meanwhile, called Sunak, a former party member and former Goldman Sachs banker, a “socialist” whose plans would plunge Britain into recession.