In a poll where a section of Conservative Party members voted, Kemi Badenoch, the former UK equalities minister was leading and former chancellor to the exchequer Rishi Sunak was pushed to fourth position.
— The Buzzer (@TheBuzzerUK) July 16, 2022
The results showed that despite Sunak being popular among Conservative MPs there is some opposition towards Boris Johnson’s former cabinet minister. 31% of the 851 Tory party members who voted in the Conservative Home poll gave Kemi Badenoch, the Conservative MP of Nigerian-origin, an 11-point lead.
— ConservativeHome (@ConHome) July 16, 2022
The results were also positive for Truss who won the backing of 20% of those who voted and took the second place beating Penny Mordaunt – who took 18% of those votes – and Rishi Sunak – who stood fourth with 17% of the votes. Tom Tugendhat finished fifth.
Though Badenoch got a wild card lead, Truss’ rise to second place shows that the party leadership and its MPs could be at loggerheads with grassroots members as there have been calls from many within the party to unite and encircle around a candidate who leans right within the Tories.
That section of the party have pushed for Badenoch and Truss – both of whom are seen as anti-woke and right-wing, and are perceived as those who would protect the core Conservative party values.
In the recent parliamentary ballots, Rishi Sunak secured the backing of 101 MPs after securing 88 MPs’ votes in the first ballot. The third ballot will take place on Monday where another candidate will be eliminated.
The final decision will be taken by Conservative party members once the contenders have been whittled down to the final two.
Badenoch’s sudden rise will raise questions about Sunak’s ability to see past the finish line. The 41-year-old was born in London and lived in the US and Nigerian city Lagos.
Sunak and Penny Mordaunt have both earned the ire of the party’s right. While the former has faced questions on the economy, and at times have come up with a good defense of his plans as well as his record, the latter has faced the ire over her views on trans rights. Mordaunt, like Rishi, also stood her ground in the last two TV debates.
Iain Duncan Smith, one of Liz Truss’ backers, who last week cornered Rishi Sunak with a group of hard-Brexit Tories at a meeting of the Eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG).
He once again attacked Sunak while speaking to news broadcast agency Sky News accusing him of fuelling inflation. He said when Sunak was serving as the chancellor of the exchequer he along with the Treasury approved Bank Of England to print huge sums of money which fuelled inflation.
He also criticized the former finance minister’s future plans of getting a grip on inflation and his reluctance to lower taxes to alleviate the UK cost of living crisis.