A week after the announcement of Boris Johnson’s resignation, swept away by cascading departures within a scandal-weary government, Ms Mordaunt, a 49-year-old former defense minister, would beat all her rivals in a final duel , according to a YouGov poll.

The candidates still in the running to succeed the Prime Minister in September were to be heard behind closed doors Thursday by the Conservative MPs, who vote at the end of the day to continue skimming the suitors.

After a first round on Wednesday, former finance minister Rishi Sunak – whose resignation on July 4 had helped trigger the bleeding within the executive – came out on top, followed by Penny Mordaunt in front of Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

– Anti-woke – 

If on the right of the party, we had hitherto been content to attack Rishi Sunak, some denouncing a “socialist” responsible for the fall of Boris Johnson, it is towards Penny Mordaunt that the blows are now going.

In a vitriolic campaign, some Tories accuse her of having too “woke” positions by having declared that “trans women are women” when she was Secretary of State for Equality.

A position that goes badly among the conservatives even if Penny Mordaunt has completely changed her speech since she became a candidate, even trying a transphobic joke during her launch meeting on Wednesday.

“I think it was Margaret Thatcher who said everyone needs a Willie (Whitelaw, the former Prime Minister’s number 2). A woman like me doesn’t have one,” he said. she affirmed under the bursts of laughter. In English, “willy” also means penis.

David Frost, the former Brexit negotiator, added a layer of it by questioning her professional qualities when she worked for him.

“We couldn’t always count on her, she wasn’t visible, sometimes she wasn’t even there,” he told Talk TV, expressing “serious reservations” about his ability to lead. the country.

Some conservatives still see her as the best option to turn the page on the scandals, unlike Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, seen as two heavyweights of the Johnson era.

Other candidates still in the running are MP Tom Tugendhat, Attorney General Suella Braverman and ex-Equality Secretary Kemi Badenoch.

Further ballots are scheduled for next week to arrive at two finalists before the parliamentary recess on July 22. They will then have to be decided by party members -160,000 voters in the last internal election of 2019. The result is expected on September 5.

– Truss se lance – 

Another serious candidate, the head of diplomacy Liz Truss formally launched her campaign on Thursday. She who did not leave the government despite the resignations in cascade last week rallied to her cause the faithful of the fallen Prime Minister.

“I will campaign like a conservative and I will govern like a conservative,” chanted the 46-year-old candidate, saying she was “ready to be Prime Minister”.

Her supporters hope that she will benefit from the carryover of votes from two candidates also marked on the right and still in the running: Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman.

For his part, former Minister of Health Jeremy Hunt, eliminated on Wednesday after the first ballot, decided to support Rishi Sunak, explaining that the former Minister of Finance was “one of the most correct people , straight and upright” that he knows in politics.

Rishi Sunak, 42, cultivates a slick image but has come under fire due to his wealth and the tax status of his wealthy wife. Its detractors also accuse it of not having done enough to relieve households strangled by the cost of living crisis while inflation is breaking records, at 9.1% in May.

Three televised debates are scheduled for the next few days.