The UK will know on Monday whether its new prime minister will be Rishi Sunak (left) or Liz Truss (right), who lead the polls – Copyright AFP Geoff Caddick
The UK will find out on Monday who will be its next prime minister, with Liz Truss the favorite to succeed Boris Johnson and take charge as the country grapples with a mounting cost-of-living crisis.
The result will be announced at 12:30 (1130 GMT), after Foreign Secretary Truss and her rival, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, spent the summer rallying the support of Conservative Party members who voted in the final.
If she wins, Truss will become the third female British Prime Minister after Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher.
The 47-year-old consistently outperformed 42-year-old Sunak in polls among the estimated 200,000 voting Tory members.
The struggle for leadership began in July after Johnson announced his resignation after a string of scandals and resignations of his government.
Postal and online voting ended on Friday after eight weeks of campaigning, which Truss called the BBC “the longest job interview in history.”
However, voting may not reflect public opinion.
A late August YouGov poll found that 52% of respondents thought Truss would make a “bad” or “terrible” prime minister.
Forty-three percent said they did not “completely” trust her in addressing the pressing issue of the rising cost of living.
– “Worst input tray” –
Whoever emerges victorious will face “the worst set of incoming applications for a new prime minister since Thatcher,” writes The Sunday Times.
The UK has been gripped by the worst cost-of-living crisis in generations, with inflation hitting double digits and energy prices soaring amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.
According to polls, millions of people say that with bills going up 80% since October and even higher since January, they will face a agonizing choice between food and heating this winter.
“If I am elected prime minister, I will immediately take action on the bills and the power supply,” Truss told the BBC on Sunday, declining to give details.
“Within one week, I will make sure that it is announced how we are going to solve this problem,” she added.
Truss has been campaigning on the promise of tax cuts and economic growth a priority, just as Britain is leaning towards a recession later this year.
On Sunday, she said she would “within a month present a full plan on how we are going to cut taxes” and “get the British economy working”.
Sunak promised further government support to help people pay their electricity bills and said curbing inflation would be his priority, calling Truss’ plans to cut taxes reckless.
“Helping people pay the cost of living and their energy bills is above and beyond what I would like to do,” he told the BBC on Sunday.
“We shouldn’t rule anything out. I mean, we’re facing a real emergency. I think that anyone who pretends that this is not the case is not acting honestly with the country, ”he said.
Polls show public support for an early general election, and the Conservatives face an increasingly difficult task of maintaining their 12-year rule.
Truss became foreign secretary a year ago after holding a number of ministerial positions in departments including education, international trade and justice.
She began her political career as a teenager from the centrist Liberal Democrats before moving to the right-wing conservatives.
In 2016, she advocated for the UK to stay in the European Union, but quickly changed sides when the British supported Brexit.
Her fashion sense and love of photography – posing in a tank in Estonia and wearing a fur hat in Moscow – have earned her comparison to Tory Thatcher icon.
Her sometimes tough style became noticeably more relaxed, and allies sought to tone down her image, revealing her love of karaoke and socializing.
– Highland ceremony –
Monday’s announcement by Conservative Party officials of who will take the lead sets off a chain of events.
On Tuesday, Johnson will deliver his farewell speech in Downing Street.
He will then formally submit his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, after which she will nominate his successor in a so-called hand-kissing ceremony.
For the first time in its reign, the 96-year-old monarchy will appoint a prime minister at its Scottish retreat, Balmoral, rather than at Buckingham Palace in London.
This is due to the fact that the queen had problems with movement, and she was forced to cancel a number of public events.
The next Prime Minister will be the 15th since the Queen took the throne.