Following a last round of ministerial votes submitted to the 1922 Committee, the Conservative Party has summoned its final two tributes for Party Leadership – with the winner to replace Boris Johnson as Britain’s next Prime Minister.
Triggered on 8 July, a leadership race that saw ten MPs submit their bids to enter the Tory leadership coliseum has seen contenders dwindle to the two survivors of Rishi Sunak and Lizz Truss.
Bathed and rested from their battle scars, Sunak and Truss face the gruelling schedule of appearing in twelve Conservative hustings held across the UK during the month of August.
The final two will also go head-to-head in two TV debates on Sky News and the BBC to secure the votes of approximately 200,000 party members who will vote for their next leader on 5 September – ending a bizarre tribal affair.
Down to the final two, Smarkets Politics cites that Truss, currently riding as market favourite, maintains a 68% chance (odds:1.45) to win the leadership race – against Sunak’s 31% chance (odds: 3.2).
Not only making the final two, but leading the race, Truss’ turnaround has surprised political observers, who believed that the Trade Secretary had little backing from party peers.
Instead, the leadership race has flipped the script on former Chancellor Sunak – who, branded as the ‘establishment candidate’, must now win the grassroot votes.
Matt Shaddick, Head of Smarkets Politics, commented – “Before the final round of MP’s voting, Truss was hovering at around a 50% probability of winning the race. Once we knew Mordaunt had been eliminated, the odds settled at around 60-40 in her favour over Rishi Sunak.”
Shaddick noted that the chances worsen for Sunak when assessing initial YouGov Conservative polls that indicate a 62%-38% lead for Truss (excluding don’t knows) – deemed an “ood reflection of opinion right now in the party.”
However, with a month of intense campaigning, Smarkets believes that come voting day, vote share of the candidates will be much closer than the anticipated result.
Though Sunak appears to have a mountain to climb, the former chancellor could win over undecided Party members – Lizz Truss made the final two securing the lowest number of ministerial votes of any candidate in the Conservative Party’s history.
“It’s early days and these markets aren’t very liquid right now, but it seems to suggest that people are expecting Sunak to make up some ground in the campaign.” Shaddick concluded.
“Maybe an event like Monday’s BBC head-to-head debate can move the dial for Sunak – he certainly seemed to get a big boost out of the Channel 4 debate during the MP’s voting stage. Truss’s performance that night was seen as being fairly disastrous and her odds nosedived as a result.”