Former Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch dropped out of the race for Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday evening after securing the support of only 59 MPs. The race is reduced to three, and there is a certainty that Rishi Sunak will be one of the last two contenders as he received 118 votes.
While it is inevitable that Rishi Sunak will be on the final ballot, the fifth round of voting begins on Wednesday. The former chancellor will face Penny Mordant and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, either of whom will be ousted. Race with the least number of votes.
However, there is uncertainty, and it is unclear who will be in the last two as Rishi Sunak got 118 votes.
There are a total of 357 MPs, and this means Sunak has the support of almost one-third of all MPs. Tobias Ellwood is barred from voting so there are 356 MPs instead of 357 MPs.
Sunak will now hope that Badenoch’s backers will back him with their votes so he can enter the race’s penultimate stage.
The race for the second position has gained momentum.
There were speculations that it would be Rishi Sunak versus Penny Mordaunt, but following Tuesday night’s results, it was seen that Truss increased her tally. Truss, who won the backing of 15 more MPs.
In the fourth round of voting, Truss received the backing of 71 MPs, and on Tuesday evening, she stood third with 86 MPs backing her.
Penny Mordaunt also improved her numbers as 92 MPs backed her. She was the runners-up after the fourth round of voting on Monday, with 82 MPs supporting her. Rishi Sunak’s numbers are likely to concern his team as he gained only three votes on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, in Round 3, he won the backing of 115 MPs – 14 more MPs compared to Round 2 – which indicates he is having trouble getting more MPs to support him.
It, however, is unlikely that he will not make the final ballot, news agency the Guardian reported.
The news agency, in its report, also said that the campaign teams of Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt would focus on their respective ‘Stop Truss’ and ‘Stop Mordaunt’ campaigns as they seek to become the other contender in the UK prime minister race.
Liz Truss urged the Tories to unite with a right-leaning candidate within the party, and Mordaunt has faced attacks from within the party for her support of trans rights.
Mordaunt’s stance will factor if she loses votes and is ousted in the next round.
The report by the Guardian also said that even if 60% of Badenoch’s backers vote for Liz Truss, that would be enough to see the foreign secretary enter the race’s final stage.