Selected by the party’s deputies after a series of five votes, the two competitors will be decided by the 200,000 members of the conservative party, after a postal vote whose result is expected on September 5.

Rishi Sunak obtained 137 votes from Conservative MPs on Wednesday, ahead of Liz Truss (113 votes) and Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Penny Mordaunt, eliminated with 105 votes, according to the results announced by Graham Brady, head of the organization of the poll. internal.

After the resignation on July 7 of Boris Johnson, swept away by scandals, it is now certain that the British government will be led either for the first time by a non-white man, or for the third time by a woman.

“Thank you for placing your trust in me,” Liz Truss tweeted.

Bowing out during a final question and answer session in Parliament as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson gave a “hasta la vista, baby” and advice for whoever will succeed him: “Stay close to Americans, support Ukrainians, fight for freedom and democracy everywhere. Lower taxes and deregulate where you can to make this country the best place to live and invest.”

Until the last moment, the teams of the three candidates worked hard to obtain the votes of the Conservative MPs, in particular those who supported the former Secretary of State for Equality Kemi Badenoch, eliminated on Tuesday.

– Very open race –

Rishi Sunak, 42, whose departure from government in early July helped precipitate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s downfall, has been in the lead since the first vote.

However, the competition, very open, is far from being won for the one who seems less popular with the base of the party than with the deputies.

According to a YouGov poll published on Tuesday, the ex-finance minister would be largely beaten in the final regardless of his opponent.

Conversely, Liz Truss, 46, was deemed unconvincing last week but managed to close the gap. She also seems to be in the best position to get the votes of Kemi Badenoch, who, like her, represents the right wing of the Tories.

Mr Sunak has been accused by MP David Davis of seeking to ‘reallocate’ some of his votes to Liz Truss in order to eliminate Penny Mordaunt, whom he considers harder to beat. “It’s the dirtiest campaign I’ve ever seen,” Davis told LBC radio.

Ms Mordaunt, 49 and almost unknown to Britons just 10 days ago, was blasted favorite in a YouGov poll last week but found to be unclear and unconvincing in two televised debates.

Her campaign team presented her as embodying “change” while her two rivals, heavyweights under Johnson, are the candidates for “continuity”.

She thanked her teams in a tweet for their “hard work”, “we are moving forward together”.

The crisis of confidence and questions of integrity have marked the campaign, with the candidates all saying they want to turn – at least in form – the page of the Johnson era marred by scandals.

The candidates also debated widely over how they intended to tackle the cost of living crisis that is strangling British households, as inflation accelerated further in June, to 9.4% year on year.

A debate between the two finalists will be held next Monday on the BBC, announced the public audiovisual group. It will take place live from Stoke-on-Trent, a city in central England which voted more than 69% for Brexit in the 2016 referendum, in front of an audience of 80 to 100 people.