Battle on for second place to beat Rishi Sunak inUK prime minister race

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London, July 15: With Rishi Sunak now firmly placed as the candidate to beat, the battle lines are drawn for second place in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and British prime minister, with the remaining five contenders set for their first public clash on Friday.

Sunak, who was the winner of the first two rounds of voting by Tory members of Parliament, will appear for a series of televised debates over the weekend with his remaining opponents Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former minister KemiBadenoch and Tory backbencher Tom Tugendhat.

SuellaBraverman, the Indian-origin Attorney General who was knocked out of the race in round two, has thrown her support behind Truss boosting the third-placed candidate’s chances.

“Liz is the best person to unleash the opportunities of Brexit, and deliver much-needed tax cuts, said Braverman, in a statement after the second round of voting on Thursday.

All eyes are now on who between Truss and Mordaunt will clinch the No. 2 spot to go head-to-head with Sunak when the final two candidates have to campaign for votes among the Conservative Party membership around the UK from later next week.

According to The Times’, caretaker Prime Minister Johnson and his camp are running an anyone but Rishi hidden campaign after feeling betrayed over the former Chancellor’s resignation which precipitated his exit from 10 Downing Street.

While Johnson has said he would not publicly endorse any of the contenders in the race to succeed him, behind the scenes it is believed that he is in favour of either Truss or Mordaunt.

The whole No.10 [Downing Street] team hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vitriolic. They don’t blame Saj [SajidJavid] for bringing him down. They blame Rishi. They think he was planning this for months, the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

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