Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will battle to be Britain’s next PM after Penny Mordaunt crashes out of Tory leadership race


LIZ Truss will fight Rishi Sunak to be Britain’s next Prime Minister after edging out Penny Mordaunt in the Tory leadership race.

The Foreign Secretary leapfrogged the Trade Minister to bag second place in the fifth and final ballot of Conservative MPs this afternoon.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will battle to be Britain’s next PM

Penny Mordaunt pictured in Parliament this afternoon

She will now do battle with the former Chancellor for the keys to No10 in a wider vote of party members later this summer.

Mr Sunak cruised into the final two with 137 votes, retaining the first place lead he has wielded since the voting began last week.

Ms Truss shot up 27 to secure 113 votes, sneaking in by just eight votes to Ms Mordaunt’s 105 – up 13.

It means either Ms Truss or Mr Sunak will succeed Boris Johnson on September 6 after a series of hustings to woo the 160,000 card-carrying Conservatives.

Ms Truss is the bookies favourite to enter Downing St after championing low-tax policies that go down a storm with grassroots activists.

Following the result she said: “As Prime Minister I would hit the ground running from day one, unite the Party and govern in line with Conservative values.”

A Sunak spokeswoman said: “This is a really strong result with a clear mandate from MPs.

“He will now work night and day to get the mandate from the wider Conservative party family to beat Labour, protect the Union and seize the opportunities of Brexit.”

Today’s result sets up a spectacular summer showdown between her and Mr Sunak that risks stoking more blue-on-blue slanging.

The top Tories tore chunks out of each other in the TV debate last week.

Mr Sunak accused the Foreign Sec of peddling “socialist” policies after accusing her of spraying around unfunded tax cuts.

She shot back that his slate of tax rises had put the country on course for a brutal recession.

They will go head to head in the first final two TV debate on the BBC next Monday.

Ms Mordaunt crashed out of the contest after clinging onto second place for the entirety of the contest.

But her day got off to a terrible start after saying colleagues who vote for either Mr Sunak or Ms Truss risk “murdering” the Conservative Party.

She deleted the tweet following a huge backlash, with wags reminding her of her promise to run a clean campaign.

Tory MP and Sunak supporter Richard Holden said: “Language like this shows a complete lack of judgement.”

Ms Mordaunt said this afternoon: “I also want to congratulate both Rishi and Liz in getting through to the next stage.

“I pay tribute to anyone who puts themselves forward for such a demanding role. Politics isn’t easy.

“It can be a divisive and difficult place. We must all now work together to unify our party and focus on the job that needs to be done.”

Ms Truss and Ms Mordaunt went into the final ballot of Tory MPs separated by just six votes.

Ms Truss managed to mop up support from Kemi Badenoch’s campaign after she crashed out last night.

Anti-woke rising star Ms Badenoch did not publicly endorse anyone, although her backers were more aligned with low-tax pioneer Ms Truss.

The Foreign Sec had been closing in on Ms Mordaunt during the contest after rival right-wingers fell away and united around her.



Key pitch: No tax cuts until inflation under control

The former Chancellor has laid out his stall as the candidate for economic responsibility while rivals go gung-ho on tax cuts.

He has promised to cut taxes only when inflation has been brought under control, warning to do so now would just hike prices higher.

Key policies:

  • Cut taxes when inflation is down and public finances are repaired
  • Plough on with the planned rise to 25 per cent corporation tax
  • Keep the Rwanda immigration policy to cut small boats crossings
  • Keep defence spending at current levels with no increase
  • Publish a manifesto to protect women’s rights
  • Open the door to scrapping the BBC Licence Fee in the future

Rishi SunakRishi Sunak


Key pitch: Tax cuts on day one as PM

Liz Truss is also pledging to cut taxes on her first day in office if she wins the contest.

The Foreign Secretary – who is yet to formally launch her campaign – has also vowed to publicly recognise China’s persecution of Uighurs as a genocide.

Key policies:

  • Reverse NICs hike and cut taxes from day one
  • Reform the Euro court and leave altogether if not possible
  • Publicly recognise the genocide in China
  • Reduce the size of the state in comparison to the private sector

Liz TrussLiz Truss