British Politics: Eight candidates nominated to succeed Boris Johnson
Eight Conservatives will fight it out to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader and British prime minister after winning enough nominations from their colleagues to go through to the first round of voting on Wednesday (July 13).
The nominated candidates were Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Tom Tugendhat, Liz Truss, and Nadhim Zahawi.
Their names were announced by Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee on Tuesday (July 12).
Lawmakers Sajid Javid and Rehman Chishti had expressed their intention to run, but withdrew before the final list of candidates was announced.
Candidates had to receive a minimum of 20 nominations to make it to that list.
Former finance minister Rishi Sunak is the bookmakers’ favourite, and among those he will be taking on are his successor Nadhim Zahawi and foreign minister Liz Truss in what is becoming an increasingly testy and divisive contest.
Sunak kicked off his campaign by portraying himself as the serious candidate, promising “grown up” honesty “not fairy tales,” seeking to contrast himself with the extensive tax cuts pledged by most of the other candidates.
Penny Mordaunt, a junior trade minister who is also heavily tipped, topped a poll of Conservative members on Monday and she too has tried to strike a more measured tone on tax.
Attorney General Suella Braverman, the former health minister Jeremy Hunt, Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the foreign affairs committee, and Kemi Badenoch, a former junior minister who is scooping up support on the right wing of the party, were among other candidates to enter the first round of the contest.
Foreign Secretary Truss received the backing on Tuesday of two ministers closest to Johnson – Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg – who have both been critical of Sunak.
The 1922 Committee of Conservative members of parliament which is organizing the contest says the field will soon be whittled down with repeated votes in the next few weeks, with the final two then selected by the fewer than 200,000 party members by July 21.
The winner, and Britain’s new prime minister, will be announced on Sept. 5.