Eight candidates are running to replace British Prime Minister Johnson

  • Johnson had to announce his resignation due to scandals
  • Eight get enough nominations to replace him, two leave
  • Pledges to cut taxes dominate contentious party competition
  • Favorite Sunak says inflation must be curbed

LONDON (Reuters) – Eight Conservatives are in the fight to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader and British Prime Minister after winning enough nominations from their colleagues to move into the first round of voting on Wednesday.

Only two candidates failed to secure the necessary 20 nominations, leaving a wide field of candidates seeking to win party support with promises of tax cuts, honesty and serious government – unlike Johnson, who was forced to announce his resignation after a series of scandals. Read more

Former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is a bookmaker’s favorite, and among those his successor Nadim Zahawi and Secretary of State Liz Truss will face in an increasingly bitter and divisive contest.

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Opinion polls show the next British leader faces a tough problem while support for the Conservatives is also falling.

The British economy is facing stark inflation, high debt and low growth as people struggle with the heaviest strain on their finances in decades. All of this was set against the backdrop of an energy crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine that drove up fuel prices.

As competition intensified, rival campaigns stepped up their own criticism of each other and pointed out financial or other questions hanging over their opponents.

Sunak began his campaign by portraying himself as the serious candidate, promising “the big boys” honesty “not fairytales”, seeking to compare himself to the broad tax cuts most other candidates had pledged.

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“It is not credible to promise more spending and tax cuts,” Sunak said, noting that tax cuts can only be achieved after tackling spiraling inflation.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sunak set Britain on course to shoulder its heaviest tax burden since the 1950s after he oversaw a massive increase in government spending during the coronavirus pandemic, and most other hopefuls shot him by saying they would oversee the cuts. Immediately.

‘dirty tricks’

Sunak has the broadest support among colleagues who have publicly expressed their views.

Penny Mordaunt, the junior trade secretary on big tips, topped a poll of Conservative Party members and also tried a thoughtful tone on taxes, saying now was not the time to cut government spending.

“Obviously others will try to get votes and will try to blow up certain caucuses,” she told LBC Radio. “This is not the time to make drastic policies and tax promises.”

Prosecutor Suila Braverman; Former Health and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Tom Tugendhat, Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Kimi Badenouch, a former state minister who is garnering support from the party’s right-wing, are the other two candidates to enter the first round of competition.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps earlier became the first candidate to end his bid, throwing his support behind Sunak, while Home Secretary (Home Secretary) Priti Patel announced she would not run.

Secretary of State Truss had the support of two ministers closer to Johnson – Nadine Doris and Jacob Rees-Mogg – who had criticized Sunak.

Doris Sunak has been accused of using “dirty tricks” to rig the leadership contest, lending votes to Hunt’s campaign because they see him as easier to beat.

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Sunak’s team did not respond to a request for comment.

The 1922 Committee of Conservative Members of Parliament organizing the contest says the square will soon disappear with repeated voting in the next few weeks, with the last two members selected afterwards by fewer than 200,000 party members by July 21.

The winner, and the new British Prime Minister, will be announced on the 5th of September. read more

Meanwhile, the opposition Labor Party said the government was “scared” after it halted an attempt to call a vote of confidence in Johnson on Wednesday to force him to step down immediately. Read more

The government said Labor was trying to “manipulate politics” and that it would allow Labor to call a vote of confidence if the proposal’s wording was changed to remove reference to Johnson.

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Additional reporting by William James and Kylie McClellan. Writing by Michael Holden; Editing by Angus McSwan, Alison Williams, David Evans and Mark Heinrich

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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