Female MP Liz Truss opens big gap on rival in race to be UK’s next Prime Minister – polls

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 4 Aug, 2022 14:17 | 3 mins read
Female MP Liz Truss opens big gap on rival in race to be UK's next Prime Minister - polls
Liz Truss and her competitor Rishi Sunak. PHOTO/Courtesy.

Liz Truss has received a fresh boost in her bid to become the next Conservative leader as she and rival Rishi Sunak prepare for a debate this evening.

A new survey of Conservative Party members by ConservativeHome released on Wednesday found Ms Truss is most likely to become the next prime minister - with 58% of those asked backing her.

Mr Sunak was found to have the support of 26% - while 12% were undecided.

It is the second poll in less than 24 hours showing the gap between the foreign secretary and Mr Sunak widening.

But Ms Truss told supporters she is "not taking anything for granted" and a backer of Mr Sunak, Tory MP Mel Stride, said it was "all to play for".

He told Sky News: "We know through our MPs working amongst their membership is that Rishi's position is far stronger than many are imagining.

"We take nothing for granted, of course. But this isn't going to be a coronation. This is going to be a closely fought contest right to the end."

As the leadership race continues to heat up, the candidates will once again face the cameras this evening on Sky News at 8pm.

The Battle for Number 10, which will come live from Sky Studios in west London, will see Ms Truss and Mr Sunak take part in back-to-back questioning from the studio audience made up of undecided Conservative Party members, before facing an in-depth interview with Kay Burley.

Mr Sunak will be battling to make up ground during what is a key week in the contest for the keys to Number 10 after the latest blow to his campaign - former health secretary and unsuccessful Tory leadership candidate Sajid Javid endorsing his rival Ms Truss.

Writing in The Times, Mr Javid said Mr Sunak's refusal to cut taxes meant the UK risks becoming a "middle-income economy", while Ms Truss had the "willingness to challenge the status quo".

Mr Javid is the second former leadership candidate to throw their support behind the foreign secretary this week after Penny Mordaunt declared her support on Monday.

A YouGov poll of Conservative members released on Tuesday also showed Ms Truss extending her lead over Mr Sunak to 34 points in the Tory leadership race.

The survey, carried out for The Times, found that 60% of party members are now saying they will vote for the foreign secretary to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, compared to just 26% for former chancellor Mr Sunak.

A spokesperson for Ms Truss' campaign said the polls show "Liz's vision for the UK is resonating with members".

Truss 'not taking anything for granted

Yesterday, both leadership hopefuls took part in the latest hustings which were held in Cardiff.

Ms Truss told the audience "there is still a long way to go in this leadership election".

In the first turbulence for her campaign, Ms Truss was forced to U-turn on a plan to link public sector pay to regional living costs.

On Monday night, the leadership race frontrunner said she would save £8.8bn by introducing regional pay boards instead of national ones to set salaries for civil servants, reflecting where they lived.

But experts warned that to reach the sum, the plan would have to branch out further than government departments, with the likes of teachers, nurses, and police officers also receiving lower pay than workers in the south.

It led to outrage from Conservative MPs, and by lunchtime on Tuesday - less than 24 hours later - Ms Truss' team had released a statement saying the policy would not be taken forward.

'Loyal, honest and hard-working'

Mr Sunak welcomed her U-turn, saying it would have meant "almost half a million workers in Wales getting a pay cut".

"I don't think cutting the pay of hundreds of thousands of workers here - and indeed across the regions of the United Kingdom - is a Conservative policy that we should adopt and I'm glad that she's changed her mind," he told the audience in Cardiff.

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