GRANTHAM, England (Reuters) – Former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak described him on Saturday as the least likely candidate in the race.
Sunak’s resignation helped spark a revolution that led to Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreeing to resign after a series of scandals. Members of the ruling Conservative Party will vote for his successor over the summer, with an announcement to be made on 5 September.
Sunak led all rounds of voting among Tory MPs to narrow the race to two candidates.
But Secretary of State Liz Truss appears to have the upper hand so far among the 200,000 ruling party members who will ultimately choose the winner.
Truss leads Sunak by 24 points in a YouGov poll of Conservative Party members released on Thursday.
“Make no mistake, I’m not the favourite,” Sunak said in a speech in Grantham, central England, the hometown of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Truss will be the third prime minister of Great Britain after Thatcher and Theresa May, while Sunak will be the country’s first leader of Indian descent.
“The forces that want this to be the culmination of the other candidate, but I think the members want elections and are ready to listen,” he said.
So far, the spotlight has been on promises of tax cuts or not, at a time when many people are struggling, along with defense spending and energy policy.
In his speech, Sunak promised careful management of the economy before tax cuts. Truss’s promise to increase defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 has been criticized as arbitrary.
In an interview with The Times on Saturday, Sunak said he would put the government in crisis when he takes office. (Reporting by James Davy; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)