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Penny Mordaunt Is The Top Choice Among Young Conservatives For Next Prime Minister


3 min read

Exclusive: Fresh polling has shown that international trade minister Penny Mordaunt is the most popular leadership contender among young members of the Conservative party, coming far ahead of current frontrunner and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mordaunt – who has come a comfortable second in both rounds of MP voting with 67 backers in the first and 83 backers in the second – was the first choice among 31 per cent of Young Conservative Network (YCN) members polled for PoliticsHome.

She came far ahead of Sunak, who is the current frontrunner in the race to become the next Prime Minister. He polled a joint second among the 168 members polled with just 17 per cent of members backing him.

Members of the YCN, a grassroots association of young party members, also overwhelmingly said they would be against seeing Sunak as their next leader, with 37 per cent suggesting they would be very unhappy if he won the contest.

Mordaunt, however, was an attractive prospect as Prime Minister for 39 per cent of those polled, with 21 per cent also suggesting they would feel neutral about her becoming their leader.

"Penny Morduant is establishing herself as the one to beat, and Kemi Badenoch seems to be the champion of the right of the party,” YCN spokespersons George Holt and James Dodsworth told PoliticsHome.

“The diverse range of the results are clearly showing this is a race that still remains unpredictable, with Rishi Sunak proving more divisive than expected and Liz Truss scoring well as a compromise candidate."

When asked who their first choice for the next PM was, Kemi Badenoch – who was backed by 40 MPs in the first round of voting and 32 in the second – tied with Sunak in second at 17 per cent, despite coming fourth in the most recent leadership voting round.

Tom Tugendhat, who narrowly avoided being eliminated at the second round of voting on Tuesday, polled closely behind Sunak and Badenoch with 16 per cent of members backing him, while Liz Truss came in fourth with 11 per cent.

Suella Braverman, who was eliminated from the race on Thursday after gaining just 27 MP votes, was the least favourite among the members polled with just 6 per cent backing her.

There are now five candidates left in the contest to replace Johnson, who will step down in September: Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat.

Further rounds of voting will take place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week, whittling the contest down to just two candidates.

The final two will spend several weeks partaking in hustings around the country before the winner, and the next Prime Minister, is chosen in a postal ballot of Conservative party members, and announced on 5 September. 

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