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HomeNewsPenny Mordaunt pressed to exit UK leader race as Rishi Sunak advances

Penny Mordaunt pressed to exit UK leader race as Rishi Sunak advances

While Conservative Party leader Rishi Sunak’s likelihood of replacing Liz Truss as the next prime Minsiter becomes clearer, another contender, Penny Morduant, has been facing private calls from members of her campaign to drop out of the race for Tory leadership, after former Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson backed out of the race on Sunday. 

If Morduant steps down, Sunak becomes the next Prime Minister of Britain and also the first Indian-Origin politician to hold the position. 

Reports have stated that 



Penny Mordaunt is facing calls privately from members of her own campaign team to pull out of the UK leadership race as Rishi Sunak picked up support to become the next prime minister.

Mordaunt was locked in talks with members of Parliament from the ruling Conservative Party to obtain the 100 nominations she needs to go forward to the final ballot. She told her closest allies she’s serious about standing and can reach the threshold, people familiar with the discussions said, asking not to be named.

Some MPs on her team told her she should pull out, arguing that Sunak’s clear majority among Tory MPs means it would be impossible for her to form a stable government. Sunak took a huge step toward victory after he picked up backing from some MPs who were behind Prime Minister Boris Johnson until he abruptly pulled out of the contest last night.

Sunak, a former chancellor of the exchequer whose resignation in July helped trigger Johnson’s ultimate downfall, gained the public support of several key Tory figures on Sunday including Grant Shapps and — on the right off the party — Suella Braverman. Former Home Secretary Priti Patel and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly joined them early on Monday along with Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt.

Sunak has 150 lawmakers behind him, compared to 25 for Mordaunt, according to Bloomberg’s tally. Johnson topped out 51 named backers, but said in his statement he had the support of 102 MPs, enough in theory to have taken the contest to a ballot of party members who have sided with Johnson in the past.

The issue now is how many of Johnson’s camp, including Brexit hardliners such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, throw their lot in with Mordaunt and ensure the race runs beyond Monday. According to odds at political betting site Smarkets, Sunak is a near certainty to become Britain’s fourth prime minister in three years.

Whoever wins faces the task of trying to bring unity to a party that has been through months of upheaval and bruising public infighting. Conservative support has fallen well behind the Labour opposition in polls as a brutal cost-of-living squeeze and soaring inflation darkens the economic outlook.

UK bonds surged at Monday’s open on expectations that a potential Sunak premiership would be better qualified at trying to fix the nation’s finances.

Sunak will “turn the page on what went wrong, take decisions in the national interest and rebuild the extraordinary potential of our economy,” Hunt said in a column for the Telegraph late Sunday. 

The party set a deadline of 2 p.m. Monday for contenders to certify the support of at least 100 MPs each to go forward to a ballot. If there’s more than one candidate running by the end of Monday, party members will have the final say in an online vote, with a result due on Friday.

Johnson didn’t endorse anyone, saying he’d support whoever wins. While Sunak has a commanding lead, his coronation isn’t necessarily clear cut and there are some scenarios where Mordaunt could emerge as the favorite of Tory members.

Earlier in the summer, Sunak lost to Truss in the leadership battle to replace Johnson, with Tory members concerned about his role in Johnson’s downfall and his decision to raise taxes to the highest level since World War II. There’s also unease about his personal wealth and his aggressive attacks on Truss during that contest.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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