Rishi Sunak, the former UK Chancellor, is now all but certain to be one of the two candidates on the final ballot for Conservative party members, media reports said.
He is now on 115 votes and once a candidate gets 120 (just over a third of the total), it is mathematically impossible for two other candidates to get more votes. Sunak is also particularly well placed to pick up many of the 31 Tom Tugendhat votes now up for grab; Sunak, like Tugendhat, presents as a mainstream pragmatist, not an ideological rightwinger, the Guardian reported.
Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt are now the two strongest candidates in the contest to be the second person on the final ballot. One recent survey suggested both would beat Sunak in the final poll, but Truss more comfortably than Mordaunt, it said.
Almost certainly, Sunak’s chances would be better against Mordaunt; her lack of experience means the risk of her campaign imploding under scrutiny remains high (over the last week her popularity has already fallen significantly), and Truss, unlike Mordaunt, would be guaranteed the support of the Tory right en masse.
Kemi Badenoch looks likely to be eliminated on Tuesday afternoon. It is not inevitable – she has defied expectations already – but she remains 13 votes behind Truss, and may struggle to get much of the Tugendhat vote. If she does fall out, her votes will be for grabs on Wednesday – and would decide whether Sunak faces Truss or Mordaunt, which could in turn determine who gets elected as the next PM, The Guardian reported.