Former British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, whose resignation triggered the downfall of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Wednesday, 13 July, took an early lead in the race to succeed as leader of the ruling Conservative Party and Britain's prime minister by winning the first round of voting.
In the first ballot of Conservative MPs, Sunak got 88 votes, while Penny Mordaunt came second place with 67 votes. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was in the third position with 50 votes.
In fourth place was Kim Badenoch, who received 40 votes, while Tom Tugendhat and Suella Braverman garnered 37 and 32 votes, respectively, and stood at the fifth and sixth positions.
Two candidates – Jeremy Hunt, former Health Secretary, and Nadhim Zahawi, the Treasury chief – were eliminated from the race for UK prime minister as they failed to garner a maximum of 30 votes required to stay in the contest.
As many as 358 Tory lawmakers had on Wednesday voted on the first ballot after security staff secured their mobile phones to maintain secrecy.
"My message to the party and the country is simple: I have a plan to steer our country through these headwinds. Once we have gripped inflation, I will get the tax burden down. It is a question of when, not if," former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said on Tuesday, 12 July, as he launched his campaign for the prime minister's post.
According to a report by Reuters, he also emphasised the need to "return to traditional Conservative economic values – and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairy tales."
(With inputs from Reuters)