Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Chart of the Day
21 July 2022

Liz Truss would be the least popular Tory leader among MPs in decades

The front-runner won the support of just 32 per cent of Conservative MPs in the final round of the parliamentary ballot.

By Nick Ferris

The Conservative leadership election has reached its final stage. Eight prospective candidates have been whittled down by successive MP votes to two: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

The decision as to who will emerge victorious, and become the UK’s next prime minister, now lies in the hands of Conservative Party members. This is a group of around 175,000 individuals who predominantly live in the south, and who in 2017 had an average age of 57, were 97 per cent white British, and were 71 per cent male.

This is the third successive Conservative leadership election in which the victor will immediately become prime minister. But the results of the latest MP vote reveals a party far more divided than on those previous occasions.

Rather than MPs coalescing around a single candidate, the final ballot saw a fairly even split between Sunak (38 per cent), Truss (32 per cent), and the third-placed candidate Penny Mordaunt (30 per cent). With responses to the cost-of-living crisis, the climate crisis and Brexit all deeply dividing the party, the Conservatives have struggled to reach a consensus on who is best to lead the party forward.

During the previous three Tory leadership elections, the victor of the final MP vote also went on to become prime minister. But on this occasion it is Truss who is currently the bookies’ favourite to win, despite coming second. Should this prove correct, the Foreign Secretary will be less popular among MPs than her five predecessors as party leader.

[See also: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are struggling to convince Red Wall and Blue Wall voters]

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
What you need to know about private markets
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action