UK PM race narrows down to 8 candidates; Rishi Sunak still favourite

The stakes in the race for the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister has toughened as the number of candidates has dropped to eight from the previous 11 in just one day.

However, Indian-origin Rishi Sunak still leads the league. The diverse mix of candidates from varied origins presents a sneak peek into new evolving Britain.

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Of the eight candidates, four are of British origin — former health and foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, Minister of State for trade Penny Mordaunt, former chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat, and foreign secretary Liz Truss.

Of the other four, two are of Indian origin — former chancellor of exchequer Rishi Sunak and Attorney General Suella Braverman — Nigerian descent Kemi Badenoch, and Iraq-born Kurdish-origin Nadhim Zahawi, who is currently serving as the chancellor of the exchequer.

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It’s a 50-50 mix and definitely points to the evolving British society.


Rishi Sunak, who formally launched his campaign on July 12, is back to the top of the bookies’ chart, leaving Penny Mordaunt behind. His win will surely endorse the face of changing Britain as, if selected, he would be the first Asian to be the UK’s PM.

While the conservative Tories were busy choosing their leader, the Labour Party on Tuesday called for a no-confidence motion.

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Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer was against the idea of Boris Johnson “clinging on for a few months” to the post of the PM despite resigning, and thus, called for a vote of no confidence.

His motion text said: “This House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government while the Rt Hon Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip remains Prime Minister.”

The vote was to take place on Wednesday. If successful, it could have led to general elections instead of a selection of a Tory leader.

The government denied the vote and their statement read, “As the prime minister has already resigned and a leadership process is underway we do not feel this is a valuable use of parliamentary time.”

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Labour MP Virendra Sharma told India Today, “Boris Johnson has blocked the vote of no confidence in himself. This isn’t democracy. it is a banana republic. He lied to the Queen and now he is lying to the British public. The Prime Minister should stop clinging on and resign like he said he would.”


As things stand now, the Tory number game will be held again on Wednesday from 1:30 to 3:30, when 358 Tory MPs will vote for the eight candidates and the results will be announced the same day.

Though many MPs have openly declared their favourites, many more have not and this is where the buck might stop.

Speaking to India Today, an MP called the voting a “nasty” game. It can be a double-faced game where loyalties can change at the last minute.


Meanwhile, the likes of former health secretary Sajid Javid and Pakistani-origin MP Rehman Chishti withdrew from the contest at the very last minute. The much-expected bid to the leadership never came from another Indian-origin British politician and current Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Transport Secretary Grant Chaps pulled out of the leadership race and threw his support behind Rishi Sunak.

The tory party is expected to narrow down its choice to two candidates by July 21 when the Parliament goes on recess. One will know who the PM will be on September 5.

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