ITV political debate. Photo : ITV

During the Sunday evening ITV debate for the political leadership of the Conservative Party and Britain’s next Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, the candidate with the most votes, got the most questions from the other candidates. 

Rishi Sunak has spent the most on his media training and so was the most polished. His pitch for the next Prime Minister is that he is the only one with the experience to deal with the highest inflation in the past forty years and cost of living in the UK.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, who are running in this leadership campaign as cabinet members of Boris Johnson’s government, were at each other’s throats. Truss was desperate to distance herself from Rishi’s tax policies in the government. “Rishi, you have raised taxes to the highest level in 70 years. That is not going to drive economic growth,” Truss told Sunak.

Truss also had a ready-made political sob story about the lack of opportunities she faced growing up in Yorkshire, taking a swipe at Rishi, who went to the private prep school and then Winchester a top private school.

Penny Mordaunt came out of the second political debate as a class act in the footsteps of Michelle Obama’s philosophy, ‘when they go low, we go high.’ Relaxed and calm, she called for leadership competition to rise above personal attacks and “toxic politics.” She clearly knows who is behind the smears headlining in the news aimed at her after becoming a real contender for Prime Minister. 

“I’m the only person on this stage that has won and fought a Labour seat. My constituents do not elect people who are out of touch,” Mordaunt made her case for Britain’s next Prime Minister.

Kemi Badenoch is not seen as one of the top three candidates, so throughout this race, she has not faced much criticism. 

For Tom Tugendhat,  who is offering a “clean start” for the United Kingdom, the second debate was likely to be his last one as he had the least votes among the final five candidates at the last vote. He is expected to go out at the next vote by Conservative MPs tomorrow.

Despite these predictions, Tugendhat said he was ready to “lead and serve”.

By Wednesday night this week, Members of the Conservative Parliamentary party will decide the final two candidates. The members of the Conservative Party told The Pavlovic Today they believe that the race will be decided between Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt. If Rishi’s vote collapses, Liz or Penny could become the next UK Prime Minister in less than two months.

Liz Truss accused Rishi Sunak of raising taxes to their highest level in 70 years while chancellor. Credit: Jonathan Hordle/ITV Handout

During the tonight’s debate, all candidates were asked if they would appoint Boris Johnson to their next government, but no one dared to raise their hand to affirm.

“If we elect Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss, it will be all over for the Conservative Party,” a Conservative MP told The Pavlovic Today. 

The second debate was pretty dull by American standards and did not change the race’s trajectory.The Conservatives do not have a leader, but they may have one in the making. 


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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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