Place your bets!
The race to succeed Boris Johnson as Britain’s next prime minister is down to two — but there’s only one clear favorite in the eyes of bookies and pollsters alike.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak advanced to the final round of the Conservative Party’s leadership contest Wednesday after a series of votes by the party’s members of Parliament eliminated six other hopefuls.
Truss, who edged out Trade Policy Minister Penny Mordaunt for the second spot beside Sunak, enjoys widespread support among both the Conservative Party members who’ll stake their vote over the next six weeks and ordinary bettors who will stake their money.
A Tuesday survey of Conservative Party members done by YouGov put Truss ahead of Sunak by 54% to 35%. Perhaps with that in mind, SkyBet made Truss the odds-on favorite, promising to pay out 8/15 if she becomes the new Tory leader, according to Bloomberg.
The results are expected to be known by Sept. 5, once up to 200,000 Conservative Party members have had their say. The winner becomes the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, receiving new digs at Number 10 Downing Street, weekly audiences with Queen Elizabeth II, and a new pet cat — Larry, the Chief Mouser.
Truss, who has been foreign secretary since September 2021 and the minister for women and equalities since September 2019, has served in several cabinet positions over the 12 years Conservatives have held power — including secretary of state for international trade, chief secretary to the Treasury, lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice, as well as secretary of state for environment, food, and rural affairs.
Sunak’s parliamentary career has been far less extensive, with stints as the parliamentary undersecretary of state for local government, chief secretary of the Treasury and chancellor.
The PM’s resignation was specifically in response to complaints about his response to sexual misconduct claims against a top Conservative official, but followed a series of scandals — including “Partygate,” which led to the prime minister being fined for breaching COVID-19 lockdown protocols set by his own government.
Following Wednesday’s vote, Truss vowed to “hit the ground running” if Conservatives choose to back her as prime minister.
“I can get things done, and I think that’s what colleagues have voted for. And that’s what I now want to take to Conservative members around the country,” she told BBC News.
“We’ve got two years until, likely the next general election, and I want to deliver for people,” she said. “I want to deliver lower taxes. I want to help struggling families. I want to make sure that we unleash all the potential and talent across Britain. And that has been my focus throughout this campaign. And that’s what I’m going to be campaigning on over the next six weeks.”