Former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are the two remaining candidates fighting for the leadership of the Conservative Party in the UK.
Now the party votes
On the same day as the Conservative Party’s 200,000 members began voting for a new party leader to succeed Boris Johnson, Truss received the support of Trade Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who was knocked out in the final round of parliamentary caucus voting.
Sunak has had by far the most supporters in the parliamentary group, but Truss’ popularity is increasing, and this latest vote is of a completely different kind: Now it is the party members who will vote. And it’s not just about who will become party leader: the winner will also take over as prime minister.
Shortly before, she received support from Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi. From before, she is supported by Defense Minister Ben Wallace, former Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis and centrist politician Tom Tugendhat.
The tax increases are important
Her rival, Rishi Sunak, who unlike Truss believes that tax increases are necessary, tried to pick up the fight with a plan for future tax cuts. Truss believes taxes must be cut now to deal with Britain’s worst recession in generations.
During a farm visit on Monday, Truss, a former EU supporter who became an ardent Brexit supporter, promised to free the country’s farmers from EU regulations. She also promised to remedy the shortage of labor on the country’s farms, which means that British farmers now have to let ripe fruit rot in the fields and have to slaughter healthy pigs.
The lack of labor is a consequence of the withdrawal from the EU and the new stricter rules on immigration.
Very different candidates
The competition is now between two very different candidates.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was among the last to launch her candidacy. She has secured support among those in the party who are still loyal to Boris Johnson. She has been described as the favorite to take over the baton as party leader and prime minister. Truss wants lower taxes and she wants to shrink the state.
Rishi Sunak was finance minister until he resigned in protest against Boris Johnson on July 6, and is considered to lie towards the center of the Conservative party. He received a lot of praise during the pandemic for his handling of aid schemes, but his popularity has declined recently.