From Monday, the remaining contenders will be reduced to two before Parliament goes on its summer recess next Thursday (July 21, 2022). The runoff will be a postal ballot of the Conservative party’s 160,000 members over the summer, with the new leader -- and prime minister -- announced on September 5.
Among the front runners is former finance minister Rishi Sunak, whose resignation helped trigger Johnson’s downfall. In May, Sunak unveiled a £37 billion ($46.61 billion) package of measures to ease the growing cost-of-living crisis.
Sunak topped the second poll on Thursday with the votes of 101 Tory MPs.
Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, the first woman to serve as UK defense secretary, is viewed in the party as having strong pro-Brexit credentials and good leadership qualities. Mordaunt made up ground in the second poll, securing the votes of 83 MPs, up from 67 in the first round of voting.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss -- the darling of the party grassroots -- has drawn comparisons to Margaret Thatcher. Truss, who voted to “Remain” in the European Union in the 1916 referendum, is also the UK’s lead negotiator with the EU on issues following Brexit. She received 64 votes in the second leadership vote.