In a close election, Liz Truss, former UK foreign secretary, beat Rishi Sunak to become the Conservative Party leader, replacing outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson. An apparent shift in loyalty toward Johnson, the ex-chancellor of Indian descent, has occurred.
In the end, Sunak, 47, the first member of Parliament with Indian heritage to compete for the top job at 10 Downing Street, won over 170,000 online and postal votes cast by Tory members, ending her historic run as Britain’s third female Prime Minister.
A total of 172,437 eligible Tory voters cast ballots, and Truss won with 81,326 votes, in comparison to Sunak’s 60,399 in an election with a turnout of 82.6%. While Truss won comfortably, her margin of victory was narrower than in other recent Tory leadership contests.
After winning the election, Sunak, 42, used Twitter to call for party unity: “Thank you all for voting for me.” The Conservative Party is one family, Sunak said.
“It’s right we now unite behind the new PM, Liz Truss, as she steers the country through difficult times,” a former chancellor of the Exchequer said.
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“We will deliver, we will deliver, and we will deliver,” Truss declared in her acceptance speech. “I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills but also dealing with long-term issues on energy supply,” she said, referring to the key issue dominating the leadership campaign that she called “one of the longest job interviews in history.”.
The outgoing leader Johnson was also thanked by Truss after she thanked her fellow finalist Sunak.
“Boris, you got Brexit done, crushed [Opposition Labour ex-leader] Jeremy Corbyn, rolled out the vaccine, and stood up to Putin. During the announcement, her colleagues expressed a somewhat muted response to her statement: “You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”
In addition, she indicated that an early general election is unlikely under her leadership in 2024.
Sir Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, formally announced the result at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre near Downing Street.
However, it came as no surprise to pollsters, political analysts, and media outlets, since Truss had led in pre-election surveys and bookmaker odds.
There are several factors that contributed to Truss not winning the election, including lingering loyalty to Johnson, who they perceive as being betrayed by former close ally Sunak, and Truss’ pledge to cut taxes.
“Truss won, but not by the landslide many had predicted,” reported the BBC.
BBCニュース – トラス英外相、イギリスの新首相に 保守党の党首選で勝利https://t.co/ItoYpuTxJ1— BBC News Japan (@bbcnewsjapan) September 5, 2022
Prior to the 2001 leadership contest, no candidate had received less than 60% of the vote since the Conservative Party changed its internal election rules.
Truss secured 57 percent of the vote, compared to Boris Johnson getting 66.4 percent in 2019, David Cameron 67.6% in 2005, and Iain Duncan Smith 60.7% in 2001.
Following Andrea Leadsom’s withdrawal after the first round, Theresa May did not face a membership ballot in 2016.
Many of the 1.5 million Indian diaspora, many of whom are Conservatives, supported the UK-born MP for Richmond in Yorkshire in the election. Conservative Party members from other parts of the subcontinent, such as those with roots in other parts of the subcontinent, were expected to remain divided.
During his campaign, Truss pledged to reverse Sunak’s tax hike plans to tackle the country’s cost-of-living crisis.
Although Sunak’s approach of focusing on fighting inflation and using targeted measures to support the poor did resonate with audiences at the nearly dozen party hustings, it was not enough to turn the tide in his favor.
Despite being elected party leader, Truss won’t officially be able to claim her new office at 10 Downing Street until Tuesday afternoon – after predecessor Johnson hands in his formal resignation at Balmoral Castle.
Truss will then have her first audience as PM-elect with the 96-year-old monarch, after which she will be flown back to London to begin announcing her new cabinet after her inaugural speech at Downing Street.
Well done lads. Lizz Truss thanks you. pic.twitter.com/CJAJtBD8Yu— James Bradford (@SpitfireVC) September 5, 2022
As a first-time PMQs speaker, she will take on Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
“We have only had 12 years of the Tories. Only Labour can bring the fresh start our country needs,” Starmer said, congratulating the new Prime Minister.
Several other Opposition leaders expressed similar concerns, including Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.
In order to establish a positive working relationship with Truss, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged him to “freeze energy bills, provide more cash support, and increase funding for public services.”
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