From left to right, contestants Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat.
The candidates still in the running to succeed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came face to face on Friday in a lackluster first televised debate, as the competition grew increasingly fierce.
< p class="e-p">There are still five in the race for power launched after the announcement last Thursday of the resignation of Boris Johnson, swept away by an avalanche of departures triggered by an overflow of scandals and lies.
Secretary of State for International Trade Penny Mordaunt, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, head of diplomacy Liz Truss, former secretary of state for Equality Kemi Badenoch and MP Tom Tugendhat were able to discuss their vision on the British television channel Channel 4.
Candidate and MP Tom Tugendhat during his campaign launch.
The candidates refused to indulge in polemics and personal attacks, emphasizing their common membership in the conservative family. But the question is Boris Johnson honest? embarrassed them.
Sometimes, replied Kemi Badenoch laughing. No, decided Tom Tugendhat to applause as the other three kicked into touch, sputtering vague answers.
Cultivating his very slick image, Rishi Sunak, 42, said he was proud to have participated in the Johnson government, but resigned last week because enough was enough, bringing with him the departure of around 60 other members of the executive.
He came top on Thursday in a second vote organized by Conservative MPs to eliminate candidates, ahead of Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss.
Little known to the British, the former Minister of Defense Penny Mordaunt would beat all her rivals in the event of a duel, according to the polls.
Secretary of State for International Trade Penny Mordaunt, candidate for the British Conservative Party leadership race, at her campaign launch.
After being attacked by her competitors for remarks deemed too woke about transgender people, she is now facing criticism for her professional seriousness, with former minister David Frost having expressed serious reservations about her ability to lead the United Kingdom .
We are all responsible for our own campaigns and I take it as a big compliment that nobody wants to compete against me, she reacted during the debate.
For her part, Liz Truss highlighted her record in government, citing Brexit, Northern Ireland and the war in Ukraine.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arriving ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London on July 5, 2022.
The 46-year-old candidate, Johnson's darling, is now trying to catch up and seek to rally the right-wing of the Conservative party around her. She received the support of Suella Braverman on Thursday, eliminated by the deputies.
According to an instant poll taken after the debate among 1,159 viewers, Tom Tugendhat was rated most convincing (36%), ahead of Rishi Sunak (25%), Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch (12% each) and Liz Truss (6%).
While the Prime Minister has been careful not to publicly express any preference so as not to harm anyone's chances, according to The Times he urges the eliminated candidates to support no ;anyone except Rishi.
Ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak has drawn the ire of Boris Johnson.< /p>
The close guard of the future ex-head of government is convinced that the ex-minister, whose departure from the government helped precipitate the fall of Boris Johnson, had been biding his time for months. What Rishi Sunak supporters deny.
In order to select the new Prime Minister, Conservative MPs will vote again on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to eliminate the candidates one by one. Once the distribution of the final head-to-head has been determined, the choice will fall to members of the Conservative party who will vote by mail during the summer. The result of the vote is expected for September 5.
The appointment of a new head of government comes in a complicated economic context in the United Kingdom with inflation of 9. 1% in May.
As Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt explained they were planning tax cuts, Rishi Sunak blasted fairy tales, calling them unrealistic to lower them given the economic situation.
At the Ministry of Finance, Rishi Sunak raised taxes and was accused of not doing enough to relieve British households strangled by the crisis of the crisis cost of living.
The candidates also discussed the National Health Service (NHS) weakened by years of austerity, climate issues and fuel prices ;energy. Two other televised debates are organized, Sunday on the ITV channel and Tuesday on Sky News.