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Who is still in the race to be the UK’s next prime minister?

(PA)
(PA)

The race to replace Boris Johnson as the UK’s next prime minister is hotting up.

Here are the candidates left in the Tory leadership contest following the penultimate ballot.

– Rishi Sunak

Age: 42.

Bio: Born in Southampton in 1980, his father was a GP and his mother ran her own pharmacy. He attended one of the top private schools in the country, Winchester College, before studying politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford. In Parliament since 2015, he is thought to be one of the richest MPs in the Commons. He has had a rapid rise to the upper tier of British politics, gaining nationwide recognition after being appointed Chancellor in February 2020, weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Ministerial experience: Chancellor of the Exchequer until July 5 when he quit in protest at the Prime Minister’s leadership.

What did he do before politics? Hedge fund manager.

What does he say on tax? He has promised to get the tax burden down once inflation is under control, saying “it is a question of when, not if”, but warned rivals “it is not credible to promise lots more spending and lower taxes”.

What does he say on defence spending? He views the Nato target of 2% of GDP as a “floor and not a ceiling” and notes it is set to rise to 2.5% “over time” but refuses to set “arbitrary targets”.

What is his position on identity politics? He has criticised “trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language”.

Where does he stand on the Rwanda asylum policy? He supports the current Government policy.

What does he say on crime? He has promised harsher sentences for criminals who refuse to attend court for sentencing and a crackdown on grooming gangs.

How did he vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum? Leave. He has pledged to scrap hundreds of remaining EU laws and regulations.

Is he committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050? Yes.

Constituency: Richmond (North Yorkshire).

Votes in the latest round of the leadership contest: 118.

Odds: 5/4.

– Penny Mordaunt

Age: 49.

Bio: A colourful MP for Portsmouth North, Ms Mordaunt has represented the constituency since 2010. Born in Torquay, her mother died of breast cancer when she was 15. After college, she did stints working on George W Bush’s presidential campaigns. She also appeared on reality TV diving show Splash in 2014.

Ministerial experience: Currently trade minister, she has had Cabinet jobs in defence and international development.

What did she do before politics? She was a magician’s assistant in college before a career in public relations.

What does she say about tax? She has pledged to cut VAT on fuel in half and raise income tax thresholds for basic and middle earners in line with inflation. But she insists she will maintain control of the public finances.

What does she say on defence spending? She stands by the manifesto commitment to the Nato target and increase it by 0.5% above inflation every year, but would also create a civil defence force to supplement the military.

POLITICS Tories
(PA Graphics)

Where does she stand on identity politics? She said: “It was Margaret Thatcher who said, ‘Every prime minister needs a Willie’. A woman like me doesn’t have one.”

Where does she stand on the Rwanda asylum policy? She backs the current Government policy: “I will crack down on the evil and barbaric smugglers that exploit vulnerable people to cross the channel illegally.”

What does she say on housing policy? She would ditch housing targets, saying they have been “tested to destruction”.

How did she vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum? Leave.

Is she committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050? Yes, but she said “it mustn’t clobber people”.

Constituency: Portsmouth North.

Votes in the latest round of the leadership contest: 92.

Odds: 13/2.

– Liz Truss

Age: 46.

Bio Born in Oxford, her father was a maths professor and her mother was a nurse. Both left-wing voters, they and her family moved to Paisley, near Glasgow, when she was four. As a child she was brought up on anti-Thatcher demonstrations, and she was a Liberal Democrat for a brief period in her youth. It was only later that she became interested in right-wing politics and the Conservative Party. She is married to husband Hugh, who she met at the 1997 party conference, and has two teenage daughters.

Ministerial experience: Current Foreign Secretary.

What did she do before politics? Worked as an economist for Shell and Cable and Wireless and was then a deputy director for right-of-centre think tank Reform.

What does she say on tax? She has pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one”, reversing April’s rise in national insurance and promising to keep “corporation tax competitive”.

Where does she stand on the Rwanda asylum policy? She backs the policy and said she has worked closely with the Home Secretary on it.

What does she say on defence spending? The Foreign Secretary has pledged to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 and strengthen the intelligence services.

What does she say on housing policy? She would scrap what she calls “Stalinist” housing targets in favour of tax cuts and deregulation.

How did she vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum? Remain, but she has since embraced Brexit.

Is she committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050? Yes, but she would pause green levies on domestic energy bills.

Constituency: South West Norfolk.

Votes in the latest round of the leadership contest: 86.

Odds: 1/1.