Former Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss have declared open war over the succession of Boris Johnson, while the fifth candidate in discord, Tom Tugendhat, withdrew from the race after being bottom in the third ballot .

Rishi Sunak continued to pull ahead in first place with 115 votes, and Penny Mordaunt withstood the pull and was second with 82. Liz Truss was third again with 71 and Kemi Badenoch came perilously close in fourth with 58. Tom Tugendhat announced his withdrawal at get 31 votes. The contest will be reduced to three in a new vote on Tuesday.

The harsh exchanges between Sunak and Truss, with the two candidates Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch as witnesses, began on Sunday in the second television debate, with crossed accusations about Brexit and taxes. The confrontation between the two reached such a point that the third debate has finally been suspended.

Sunak loaded the cannons in advance with a campaign video (Rishi and Brexit: a short story) recalling how he supported leaving the EU from the first moment, in open contrast to his rival, who supported “permanence” and allowed himself to be photographed profusely with signs reading “Vote Remain”.

“What do you regret more, Liz, having been a liberal-Democrat (rather than a conservative) or having been a Remainer?” Was the question that Sunak threw at his rival like a knife.

Truss reacted indignantly and responded by highlighting the privileged environment in which her rival has been educated: “The reason I became a conservative is because I saw the children in my school abandoned to their fate and not being able to have the opportunities.. .that you could have in your school, Rishi”.

The contrast between the millionaire candidate with Indian blood (it is estimated that the accumulated fortune between him and his wife, Akshata Narayan Murthy, could reach one billion euros) and the Margaret Thatcher-style candidate of humble origin was more evident than ever. in the final stretch towards July 21, when the two finalists will be decided.

Truss has gone on the counterattack in recent hours and has accused his rival of promoting “the biggest tax increase in 70 years”, at a time when companies are facing rising costs and families are fighting for power pay the bills at the end of the month.

Sunak and Truss, traveling companions for months in the Johnson Government, have been uncovered as the two antagonists of the “apparatus”, before the astonished gaze of Penny Mordaunt, who has gone down in one piece between the bases after the two televised debates and because of the war culture on behalf of trans rights.

The devastating campaign against Penny Mordaunt launched by the conservative tabloid The Daily Mail has taken its toll on her aspirations. The former defense secretary and Royal Navy reservist has made a final nod to the moderate sector of her party, promising “millions of green jobs” and dragging all the candidates (including the hard-line representative Kemi Badenoch) to accept the compromise zero emissions by 2050, under the impact of the heat wave.

The television debates have served in any case to reinforce the image of Liz Truss, who appears as the favorite in the recent ConservativeHome poll in a hypothetical heads-up with Rishi Sunak (49% to 42%). The foreign secretary also leads Penny Mordaunt in the latest poll by 48% to 41%.

The future tenant or tenant of Downing Street will be decided from this week by the almost 200,000 Tory militants, who will hold conclaves with the candidates and cast their vote at the end of August. The succession of Boris Johnson will predictably culminate on September 5 with the proclamation of the winner of the Tory contest, the third held since 2016, with the hurricane irruption of Brexit in British politics forced the resignation of David Cameron and, three years later , by Theresa May.

The background to the contest of the ‘tories’ was put by the parliamentary debate of the motion of censure of the Government of Boris Johnson, frustrated by the block opposition of the conservative majority to pave the way for its new leader and avoid calling early elections . The debate served for one of the bitterest dialectical exchanges between the ‘premier’ and the leader of the opposition Keir Starmer, who stressed how his “fall from grace” has been precipitated by his own co-religionists: “The deception never ended. What relief that they have finally decided to kick him out.

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