Tory leadership race: who will be the UK’s next PM?

Conservative Party members had until Friday at 5 p.m. UK time to elect their new leader, who would then choose the replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Liz Truss, the current foreign secretary, is the front-runner in the leadership race. She is the 47-year-old daughter of a Labour-supporting maths professor and teacher who attended a state school before enrolling in the same course as many future prime ministers at Oxford: philosophy, politics, and economics (PPE). She joined the Conservative Party in 2010 and steadily ascended the ranks despite having previously belonged to the moderate Lib Dems.

Who are the candidates?

The son of east African immigrants to Britain in the 1960s, Rishi Sunak, 42, is of Punjabi origin. Their income from being a GP and a pharmacist allowed them to send their son to Winchester, one of the most costly private schools in Britain. Prior to earning millions in hedge firms and becoming a Tory MP in 2015, he attended Oxford and studied PPE.

Sunak enjoyed the success of the Treasury's Covid furlough programme a year ago, when he had the entire globe at his feet. But as a result of information regarding his millionaire wife's financial situation, his reputation has eroded, and he entered the leadership race under fire for everything from the cost of living problem to stabbing Johnson.

How has the campaign panned out?

The older, middle-class men who make up the majority of the party members who are choosing the new PM were happy, as were the Tory press. She never seemed like losing once she advanced to the final two and faced Sunak.

The hustings have been dominated by the cost of living crisis, what the government should do about it, and how that should be paid for. Truss ran for office on the promise of significant tax cuts and the idea that her government may borrow more money to pay for them.

What are the issues?

Sunak is forced to maintain his traditional position that the country cannot afford tax cuts in light of the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine as a result of her plan to say what the public wants to hear, as seen by this week's decision to reject energy rationing.

Class has played a significant role in British politics, as one might anticipate, and was unintentionally brought to light when videos of a young Sunak on a TV show making jokes about how he didn't have any friends from the working class surfaced. This occurred as the daughter of the professor criticised her public school, which was actually quite good, for failing working-class children.

Have there been any controversies?

The winner will be declared on Monday at noon UK time, ending the longest leadership race in recent memory. Despite the buildup, there isn't much of a cliffhanger. Throughout the race, Truss has maintained a significant lead in the polls; according to the most recent compilation of results, she has 59% of the vote versus Sunak's 32%. If she wins, she will become the third woman, following Thatcher and Theresa May, to serve as prime minister of Britain.

What happens now?

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