After the party's legislators took a decisive vote overnight, Conservative contenders Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, providing contrasting solutions to Britain's numerous challenges, will compete in the coming weeks to become the country's next prime minister (AEST).
With 137 votes in the fifth and final round of voting by Tory MPs, former finance minister Sunak, a centrist who promised budgetary responsibility and restored integrity in the wake of departing leader Boris Johnson's scandal-plagued reign, once again took the lead.
Foreign Secretary Truss narrowly defeated trade minister Penny Mordaunt in the contest for second place, receiving 113 votes to 105 for Mordaunt.
After twelve nationwide hustings and multiple television debates over the course of the next six weeks, Sunak and Truss will now present their case to Conservative party members, who will ultimately decide on the future leader and prime minister.
On September 5, the outcomes will be declared. But either the first prime minister of color or the third woman will be elected to run Britain.
As Britain deals with the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades brought on by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and Brexit, Sunak said following his victory, "We need to restore trust, rebuild the economy, and unify our country."
Based on recent surveys of party members, Truss, who is the bookies' favorite to defeat Sunak, claimed she wasn't at all complacent.
"What I think will help us provide the economic development that Britain needs," she added. "I believe that decreasing taxes and opening up chances."
And it will also assist in getting us the next election.
After months of controversy, including "Partygate," Sunak's departure as finance minister this month assisted in Johnson's downfall. Downing Street is apparently waging a "anyone but Rishi" campaign.
Johnson exited the chamber during his final Prime Minister's Questions by remarking, "Hasta la vista, baby!"
He urged his successor to "reduce taxes and deregulate where you can to make England the finest place to live and invest," in an apparent endorsement of Truss's Thatcherite program.
Johnson advised the candidates to "remain close to the Americans" and to continue his vociferous support for Ukraine.
After Tuesday's elimination of fellow right-winger Kemi Badenoch, Mordaunt—once the bookmakers' favorite—became an outsider.
Former minister and supporter of Mordaunt David Davis asserted that Sunak had given Truss votes in order for him to defeat her in the run-off.
He told LBC radio, "He wants to fight Liz because she's the one who will lose the argument with him.
Despite his popularity among his peers, according to a YouGov poll released prior to the voting, Sunak was the member's least favorite candidate.
Before the party members' postal voting closes on September 2, the BBC and Sky News both intend to host live TV debates between the two, with the first taking place on Monday.
Snap polls indicate that Sunak prevailed in the previous two debates, the second of which had a heated exchange with Truss.
The candidates will travel throughout Great Britain, stopping in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland during the dozen hustings in front of the membership, the first of which will be in Leeds, northern England, on Thursday.
The Conservatives have refrained from disclosing their total number of eligible members, but they have noted that it will be higher than the 160,000 who participated in the most recent leadership election in 2019.
Since doubts about his family's tax arrangements and the inflationary spiral he presided over—which reached a fresh 40-year high of 9.4% in June—support Sunak's among the general populace has declined.
In response to the skyrocketing gas costs caused by Russia's conflict in Ukraine, Sunak announced a new program with the goal of making the UK energy independent by 2045.
Truss, however, promised a variety of tax cuts "from day one." On July 7, Johnson made his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party official following a coup by the government against his scandal-plagued regime.
In the parliamentary government of Britain, the prime minister is the head of the largest party and can be replaced at any time without having to hold a general election.
Prior to attacking Johnson, Labour's Starmer called the Tory candidates' economic theories "fiction."
In a podcast, he said about former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, specifically referencing "Partygate," "He is a terrible bullshitter and I think he's been found out."