Come Together

Two hundred thousand Conservative Party members in the United Kingdom will soon vote to choose the next Conservative Party leader and UK Prime Minister. The result will be declared on September 5. 

  • Why it matters: Neither candidate will want to waste the Party’s 71-seat working majority. With around 2.5 years left in this Parliament, either winner will want to focus on delivering some Conservative achievements to be proud of. 

The clash is now between continuity with Rishi Sunak, former chancellor of the exchequer, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Economic issues are likely to dominate the debate.

Sunak can point to polls suggesting that he is the candidate best placed to beat the center-left Labour party. But can one of the richest people in the country sell economic pain to the electorate to get inflation down?

  • Sunak seems to present low taxes as a future reward for present good behavior. But Conservative members feeling the pinch might want action on the cost of living now. 
  • Expect Sunak to push deregulation as a way of making the most of the Brexit opportunities and to highlight the fact he voted Leave on Brexit.

Truss is not a great salesperson, but her product might sell itself. 

  • Her campaign suggests low taxes are the foundation of a strong economy, which Conservative voters like, especially with taxes at a 70-year high and rising.
  • Her idol Margaret Thatcher was also criticized for her speaking style, but by the next election Truss will be judged more on her record.

What’s next: The pressure will be on Sunak to impress, with the latest member polling showing him well behind

Go deeper: Our team’s full analysis.