10 Downing Street, the official residence and workplace of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Candidates to succeed the Prime Minister British Minister Boris Johnson reunited on Sunday evening for a second, livelier televised debate as they begin a decisive week in the race for Downing Street.
They are still five in the race for power launched after the announcement on July 7 of the resignation of Boris Johnson, swept away by an avalanche of departures triggered by an overflow of scandals and lies.
Secretary of State for International Trade Penny Mordaunt, former finance minister Rishi Sunak, head of diplomacy Liz Truss, former secretary of state for Equality Kemi Badenoch and MP Tom Tugendhat reunited for an hour-long televised debate on ITV.
They begin a decisive week in the race for Downing Street: after several votes by Conservative MPs, we will know on Wednesday evening the names of the two finalists, who will be decided during the summer by party members. The name of the future Prime Minister will be known on September 5.
The face-off turned out to be far livelier than the previous televised debate on Friday, in which the five power contenders resisted confrontation and personal attacks.
This time, the head of diplomacy Liz Truss, deemed unconvincing on Friday, set the tone by criticizing her former colleague in government Rishi Sunak from her first speeches, accusing her of having led the country to the recession by raising taxes when he was in charge of Finance.
From left to right, contestants Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch , Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat.
Ex-Defense Minister Penny Mordaunt also attacked the former Chancellor over the issue, she who suggested borrowing to cope with the cost of living crisis which is strangling British households , with record inflation at 9.1% in May.
“It's socialism, even Jeremy Corbyn [the former leader of the opposition, Editor's note] would not have gone so far!
— Rishi Sunak, former finance minister
Ms. Truss and Mr. Sunak have been at loggerheads since the start of the campaign. The 46-year-old candidate is the darling of Camp Johnson, who believe Mr Sunak had been biding his time for months before stepping down on July 4, hastening the premier's downfall. Which Rishi Sunak supporters deny.
By going on the offensive, Liz Truss tried to catch up as the polls relegated her to third place behind Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak, neck and neck.
On Saturday, a poll conducted by the Conservative Home site among its conservative readership even put former Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch in the lead, who appeals to some conservative supporters for his anti-woke side and his less language. wood than most of its rivals.
After months of scandals and lies under Boris Johnson, integrity issues have once again been widely discussed.
No candidate has said he is willing to appoint the soon-to-be ex-prime minister to his government.
In the previous debate on Friday, only Tom Tugendhat said a firm no when asked if the resigning prime minister was being honest. Kemi Badenoch had been satisfied with one sometimes and the other three had mumbled vague answers.
At the end of the face-to-face, the candidates had to take a stand on environmental issues. But the subject, relegated to the background of the debates since the beginning of the campaign, was again eclipsed in a few minutes.
While all of the candidates except Kemi Badenoch say they will maintain the national goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, they are not making it a priority.
As temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius are expected in England earlier this week, COP26 President and Minister Alok Sharma on Sunday called on candidates to take climate issues very seriously , not excluding leaving his post if this were not the case.
In order to select the new Prime Minister, the Conservative MPs will vote again on Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday, to eliminate the candidates one by one while a third debate will take place on Wednesday on Sky News.
Once the two finalist candidates have been determined, the choice will go to members of the Conservative Party who vote by mail over the summer. The result of the ballot is expected on September 5.