Sunak retains lead in race to become UK PM

(Xinhua) 09:18, July 20, 2022

LONDON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The fourth round of the Tory leadership ballot concluded here on Tuesday with former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak still in the lead.

Former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch was knocked out of the race, reducing the number of candidates to three, according to the 1922 Committee of Conservative Party backbenchers.

The three survivors are 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.

The last vote among MPs is scheduled to take place on Wednesday. This will produce the final two candidates just before the parliamentarians go on summer recess on Thursday.

The final two will then go through a postal ballot of all the Conservative Party members, numbering around 200,000. The winner, to be announced on Sept. 5, will automatically become UK's next prime minister.

According to a YouGov poll of Tory members published on Tuesday, Sunak looks set to be defeated by Mordaunt or Truss in a head-to-head contest.

Also on Tuesday, Johnson chaired the final meeting of his cabinet. The previous night, lawmakers in the House of Commons, the lower house of the country's parliament, backed Johnson's outgoing government in a confidence vote, dodging a snap general election.

The Tory leadership race was triggered after Johnson was forced to bow to the inevitable on July 7 by an avalanche of resignations of government officials, who protested against his scandal-plagued leadership. Johnson continues to serve as caretaker prime minister until a new Tory leader succeeds him. 

(Web editor: Wu Chaolan, Hongyu)


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