Rishi Sunak still favourite to become Britain’s first Asian PM, Penny Mordaunt leads bookies’ charts

Rishi Sunak is set to ace the MPs’ election in the Tory party leadership battle to be Britain’s first Prime Ministerial candidate, the latest polls suggested. The bets are now on who is going to be the second candidate, standing against him.

The five candidates going into the third round of voting on Monday are Kemi Badenoch of Nigerian descent; Minister of State for Trade- Penny Mordaunt; Foreign Secretary- Liz Truss; chairman of the foreign affairs select committee Tom Tugendhat, and former Chancellor of Exchequer- Rishi Sunak.

Across the weekend, the five candidates debated and called each other out on the issues of inflation, cost of living, Brexit; climate change, the Ukraine war, and so on. All of them just a fortnight ago sat on the same side of the table and now have been fiercely arguing on various policy matters and sometimes even getting personal. Such is politics.

They may differ in their approach to tackling the cost of living and inflation which happens to be top the election agenda, but at one point they stood united. None of them raised their hands to give Prime Minister Boris Johnson a seat in their cabinet, if elected.

A survey carried out amongst 1001 people just after the ITV debate on Sunday placed Rishi Sunak at the top followed by Tom Tugendhart. In the third position stood Penny Mordaunt followed by Liz Truss. Last in the poll was Kemi Bedenoch.

In yet another poll carried out by JL Partners, Sunak aced the “Good PM” rating and received positive ratings amongst the Tory voters.

On the bookies’ chart, Penny Mordaunt still leads the game followed by Sunak and then Truss.

Talking to India Today, former Secretary of Health Matt Hancock said, “One of the wonderful things of this race is that it has been a hugely diverse range of candidates and that has not been the part of the debate at all. As a conservative I believe in individuals and not being characterised and defined by their group.”

Hancock is backing Rishi Sunak. Referring to the diverse backgrounds of the candidates, he said, “As a liberal-conservative, I love the fact that in this race, we have Brits of different backgrounds. Men, women, and people from all different categories and it is not even a consideration. Am I proud of Rishi Sunak? Of course, I am proud of Rishi Sunak to be the first ethnic minority Prime Minister first Asian origin Prime Minister. But is that why I chose him? No. I chose him because he is the best person for the job.”

On Monday, the leadership race will get into its third round of voting and will eliminate yet another candidate. As many as 358 Tory MP’s will continue voting each day, possibly till Wednesday, till only two candidates remain. Every time a candidate is eliminated, his supporters will be up for grabs. The Rishi Sunak camp is apparently trying to woo voters from Kemi Badenoch’s camp.

The last two candidates standing will then go around the country, appealing to Tory party members at large for their vote. There are about 2,00,000 Tory members across the country and each candidate can spend up to £300,000 on canvassing. There will be events, hustings which are debates, in front of an invited audience and so on.

It’s expected that by September 5, Britain will know who its next Prime Minister will be.

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