Source: Pexels by Mike

How were the final two chosen?!

Rishi Sunak (Left) and Liz Truss (Right)

Following a calamitous week of voting in mid-July, we saw three of the remaining five candidates exit. The first of which was Tom Tugendhat, who had been trailing behind the other four candidates going into the first vote on Monday the 18th. Kemi Badenoch saw a considerate rise in votes going into the Tuesday vote, but unfortunately it was not enough to see her climb up the order as she was next to hit the chopping block.

Both Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt were 1st and 2nd in each vote prior to the Wednesday, but neither of them had hit that magic 120 votes neededfor an automatic place in the final. Liz Truss had seen significant gains following Tom Tugendhat’s exit, with a rise from 64 to 71 votes on the Monday and a further increase to 86 votes on the Tuesday. This was still insufficient to catch that important 2nd place spot with Mordaunt dropping one vote from 83 to 82 on the Monday before jumping to 92 votes on the Tuesday. The gap was closing and with Kemi Badenoch’s 59 votes on the Tuesday up for grabs there was still time for a twist in this tale.

Going into the vote on Wednesday the 20th were Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss. Rishi Sunak was the candidate with the most votes, securing his spot in the leadership race with 137 votes (38.3%). The next question was who would join him? Penny Mordaunt had seen an unfavourable response from the Conservative MP’s with #LizForLeader on the rise and momentum on her side. Liz Truss snuck 2nd place with 113 (31.6%) votes to Penny Mordaunt’s 105 (29.3%).

The final two!

Liz Truss was born in 1975, growing up in Leeds. She is the current Secretary of state for foreign affairs. She has held this position since 2021, as well as being minister for woman and equalities act since 2019. She has been a member for parliament since 2010 where she was elected to represent South west Norfolk.

Rishi Sunak was born (1980) and raised in Southampton. He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer from 2020-2022 before resigning from his post. Prior to this, he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2019-2020 having represented his constituency Richmond since 2015.

Debate week

Image from the ITV Debate. Rishi Sunak (Left) and Liz Truss (Right)

Two debates were held for the week commencing the 25th of July. The first debate ventured on important topics such as the economy state of the country, Inflation, cost of living crisis and the future of our planet and eco system following a record-breaking heatwave the week prior.

Rishi Sunak grew up in Southampton working for his mother’s chemist where he would work on the financial books of the business, ensuring it was able to afford and pay the employees whilst maintaining profitability. During the debate, he was hot on the topic of attacking inflation. He believes that the safest way to ensure the country survive the ‘cost of living crisis’ is to reduce inflation. This includes difficult decisions in the short term, with a lack of financial support provided to the populous. He pointed out that unlike other G7 nations, we fund our NHS ourselves. He was also quick to point out that borrowing more money, as Liz Truss plans to, will provide only short-term success – leading to long-term failure. Big borrowers, such as America, are struggling with even worse interest rates than the UK. In the long-term, he plans to invest in better insulation for housing, potentially saving £300 a year for households. He also stated that once inflation is gripped, he will look into income tax and Business VAT cuts with a look into high investment in innovation to solve our countries problems with an emphasis on supporting our net Zero Co2 target for 2050.

Liz Truss grew up in a poverty stricken Leeds where unemployment was high. She believes her first-hand experience of seeing the effect of poverty is what makes her right for the role. She vowed to come into power with imminent action surrounding the cost of living crisis. This included a reverse in NI (National Insurance Tax) as well as a temporary moratorium on energy bills, reducing the green levy tax. She also believed in scrapping the planned corporation tax rise from 19% to 25% with an increase on defense spending to 2.5% GDP by 2026 as she touched upon the Ukraine war.

All of this increased spending will come at a cost, as Liz stated that tackling the countries debt would have to be put on hold for 3 years. Liz was also keen to point out her views on the environment, by stating she was a “teen eco warrior”. Despite the pledge towards the net zero target by 2050, Liz was keen to cut fuel tax and to not “penalise the people” while we search for innovative ideas around the fuel crisis. Liz Truss then went on to attack Sunak for the highest taxes in 70 years; however, Sunak was quick to retaliate by pointing out that we have had a once in a blue moon experience with the COVID pandemic.

Following the debate, the response to each candidate was intriguing. Rishi Sunak seemed to take a hit in confidence as his constant interrupting throughout the debate had a negative impact on his appearance. Despite Liz admitting to not being the most confident of speakers, she seemed to win over the crowd with a flawless and respectable display. While the Conservative MP’s were in favour of Sunak, Liz seems to be heading towards that coveted pole position as she continues to win over more people.

Going Forwards

The second debate was cut short due to an incident with the presenter fainting. There are scheduled appointments for both members to rally the conservative members into their camp before the campaign ends. Now, as we head into August, we will see a month of campaigning before roughly 160,000+ Conservative party members vote on who to elect as the next Prime Minister. While the pendulum has swung in favour of Liz Truss after the debate, it is likely to have a few more swings until the due date in September. Conservative Polls as of early August show Rishi Sunak now clawing his way back to catching Liz Truss and her current lead in popularity. 3rd Place runner up Penny Mordaunt has now positioned and endorsed herself with the Truss camp, potentially bolstering the #LizforLeader Campaign.

Come the 5th of September 2022, we will find out who will be our next Prime Minister. Sir Boris Johnson’s search for his successor… is nearly over.

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