Conservative leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch participates in a debate at Riverside Studios in London on Sunday. Photo by Jonathan Hordle/ITV/EPA-EFE
July 19 (BP) — Britain’s Conservative Party narrowed down its leadership choices to three lawmakers Tuesday after MP Kemi Badenoch was knocked out of the race in a fourth round of voting.
Badenoch received the least support in Tuesday’s voting with 59 votes. Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson’s former chancellor of the exchequer, maintained his hold on the top spot with 118 votes.
International Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, who received 92 votes, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who had 86 votes, are expected to battle it out to secure one of the final two spots against Sunak in the final round of voting Wednesday.
Multiple ministers — including Defense Minister Leo Docherty and Trade Secretary Anne Marie-Trevelyan — have said that with Badenoch’s exit, they were throwing their support behind Truss, Sky News reported.
The Conservative Party is expected to announce its new leader Sept. 5.
Polling indicates that none of the three remaining candidates would beat the Labour Party in a general election, according to The Guardian.
The new leader will replace Johnson, who announced Friday his plans to resign as prime minister. He remains in power until the leader premier is selected.
Sunak resigned from Johnson’s Cabinet on July 5 amid a wave of top party leader departures, which were spurred by allegations that former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher groped two guests at a dinner.
Johnson faced criticism for appointing Pincher to a top-level position in February despite the fact that the latter had previously faced sexual misconduct allegations.
Johnson’s ministers initially said he hadn’t known about the allegations, but last week, a spokesman said the prime minister knew about the allegations but believed they were “either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint.”
Simon McDonald, the former top civil servant at the Foreign Office, later said Johnson was briefed about Pincher’s behavior before his February appointment.
“The original No. 10 line is not true and the modification is still not accurate,” McDonald said of Johnson’s various statements.