Ex-UK finance minister Rishi Sunak wins first round of voting to succeed Johnson

Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak won the most votes in the first round of voting to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister, as two candidates were eliminated.

Sunak scored 88 votes, ahead of Mordaunt on 67 and Truss on 50. Finance minister Nadhim Zahawi and former cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt were eliminated.

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Sunak’s campaign to be Britain’s next prime minister was endorsed on Tuesday by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab and transport minister Grant Shapps, who ditched his own leadership bid to back him.

“I know that Rishi has got what it takes. He’s got what it takes to provide the leadership that we need to steer the country through tough economic times,” Raab said, introducing Sunak at his campaign launch event.

Shapps announced on Twitter he was abandoning his bid, saying Sunak had the “competence and experience” to lead the country.

British Health Minister Steve Barclay said on Wednesday that he will support Sunak’s campaign.

“I worked closely with him when I was chief secretary to the Treasury, and I am convinced that he has all the right attributes to lead the country,” Barclay said in a tweet.

Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday said he would run the economy like Margaret Thatcher, the former Conservative prime minister, if he becomes the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, The Telegraph reported.

“We will cut taxes and we will do it responsibly. That’s my economic approach. I would describe it as common sense Thatcherism. I believe that’s what she would have done,” Sunak told the paper.

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