Former British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak won the fourth round of voting with 118 votes and is now leading the race to replace Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister and Conservative Party Leader. Rishi Sunak retained his number one position and increased his vote share to 118 from 115 in round three, while Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt received 92 votes and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss received 86 votes, leaving the race for a second place open.
The three remaining candidates will face a final round of voting on Wednesday, after which the two remaining candidates will canvass Tory party members across the country for their support. The Indian-origin British MP, who now has the support of 118 MPs, just short of the 120-mark, or one-third of Conservative Party MPs, is almost certain to make the final two. On September 5, the candidate with the most votes will be named the new Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson resigned as British Prime Minister on July 7 after facing criticism over multiple scandals and a record number of resignations from his ministers. Johnson, by the way, has been urging Tory candidates who are losing to Sunak not to support his former Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Rishi Sunak, who was born in Southampton to a general practitioner father and a pharmacist mother, first ran for Parliament in 2015. He was elected from the Yorkshire town of Richmond. Sunak rose quickly through the Conservative Party ranks and was appointed by Johnson to the most important UK Cabinet position – Chancellor of the Exchequer – in 2020.
As an unprecedented pandemic gripped the country and the world, the minister gained popularity for his economic package to assist businesses and employees. His massive popularity, however, suffered as a result of his wife’s non-domiciled tax status and the party gate scandal, among other issues. If Sunak becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, he will be the first person of Indian or Asian origin to hold the position.
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