Finding UK's next UK Prime Minister: Contenders battle in 1st TV debate
- Boris Johnson is set to move out of the PM’s office
- Five Conservatives are in the race for the top job
- Rishi Sunak is one of the prime contenders for the post
With Boris Johnson on his way out of the UK Prime Minister’s office, the country is on its way to get its next leader. From among eight Conservatives, five still remain in the race. The five people ready to take on the top elected position in Britain’s polity are: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tungedhat, Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Bandenoch.
In the 90-minute debate, the competing Conservatives put out a plan to take Britain out of the cost-of-living crisis and articulated specific ways on how they were going to battle inflation. Honesty in politics remained the core theme.
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Rishi Sunak, the finance minister in Boris Johnson’s cabinet, remains one of the top contenders for the job. Sunak, 42, topped the first two rounds of voting this week. For him, the way to battle inflation is to call for caution and patience.
Sunak’s own family, his wife Akshata Murthy, has been beset with allegations of tax irregularity. In its midst, Sunak said, “Borrowing your way out of inflation isn’t a plan, it’s a fairytale.” His comments were aimed at Liz Truss, who has positioned herself as a free marketeer.
Liz Truss, 46, has been trying to rouse the right wing. While her campaign has flagged so far, she has established herself as a low tax, free marketeer. Truss enjoys the backing of former loyalists of Boris Johnson. “You cannot tax your way to growth. I think it is wrong to put taxes up,” she said.
Tom Tungedhat, a prominent backbencher, has emerged from the ashes to become one of the top contenders for the job. “Are you serving the people of the United Kingdom or are you serving your career,” asked Tungedhat. The backbencher drew repeated applause from attendees.
Penny Mordaunt, 49, stands tall on strong grassroots support. For Mordaunt, it has been a surprise to have come this far. Talking about Boris Johnson, Mordaunt said, “There have been some really severe issues and I think he has paid a price for that.”
Kemi Bandenoch, on the other hand, went after Mordaunt over transgender rights. Mordaunt is a former equalities minister.