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Next Prime Minister Odds: Truss maintains lead over Sunak after toxic leader debate

Liz Truss is still the heavy favourite to win the race to be the next PM
Liz Truss is still the heavy favourite to win the race to be the next PM

Well people, we're down to the final two, finally! After what seems like forever, we finally know the two candidates, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, who will be put to a Conservative Party members public vote over the summer. The roughly 160,000 membership will now vote on which candidate they would prefer as the new leader of the Tories and by right, the de-facto Prime Minister. We have asked our go-to-guy for all things political, Adam Roberts, to detail the remaining process, timescales and the two hopefuls after the biggest of jobs. 

Latest news:

This whole leadership campaign isn't a good look for the Conservative Party is it? After more than three weeks of in-fighting, bickering and a trashing of the Tories record in government, we are left with two political lightweights throwing barbs at each other across social media, the right-wing rags and on our Television screens. We have had promises of tax rises, sorting out the cost-of-living crisis, levelling up and dealing with the climate crisis. Just wait until they find out who have been in government for the last 12 years...

Last night saw the first head-to-head televised debate between the two remaining candidates and it wasn't pretty.

Political Betting

Who are the final two candidates?

Liz Truss - 2/5


Implied probability of winning : 72%

First round ballot: 50

Second round ballot: 64

Third round ballot: 71

Fourth round ballot: 86

Fifth round ballot: 113

Polling amongst party members: 54%

If you had asked me a few years ago about Liz Truss becoming the next Prime Minister, I'd have made a discreet call to Broadmoor and had you shipped off. The former Secretary of State for International Trade burst onto the political scene with a very strange speech on pork markets and cheese, but since then has been promoted to the heady heights of Foreign Secretary and is seen by some as the next darling of the party. Truss campaigned passionately for Remain during the Brexit referendum but is now seen as a staunch Brexiteer by the likes of her backers, Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

Truss came right in in the betting shortly after defeated rival Suella Braverman pledged her support to the Truss campaign and she continued to pick up more votes from the floating voters after her rivals were eliminated, which pushed her past defeated Penny Mordaunt. In recent Tory polls, Truss has compared favourably in a potential run-off with Sunak, with 54% saying they would vote for her, compared to just 35% for the former Chancellor.

Rishi Sunak - 3/1


Implied probability of winning : 25%

First round ballot: 88

Second round ballot : 101

Third round ballot:  115

Fourth round ballot: 118

Fifth round ballot: 137

Polling amongst party members 35%

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer was once seen as the obvious replacement as Prime Minister. 'Dishy Rishi' was the party golden boy, heart-throb to the housewives, and cold-blooded stats man who was the steady hand to ensure the economy continued to recover post-pandemic. However, his sleek PR campaign started to show huge cracks and whether the general electorate will be able to find common ground with a former banker at Goldman Sachs, a hedge-fund owner and a man who is married to a woman richer than the queen is another question altogether. He has had a large hit to his popularity with the non-dom scandal relating to his wife and his role in the cost of living crisis.

Sunak has huge support amongst back benchers, but isn't seen as popular amongst Conservative Party members, or the general public for a potential general election. He has consistently polled below Truss in Tory Party membership polls and did again on Monday night. It appears that no matter what the former Chancellor says or does, the Conservative populace just don't like him very much. Last night, even though he polled slightly above Truss amongst the general public (39%/38%) , Conservative voters thought Truss did better (38% Sunak/ 47% Truss)

Who has been eliminated?

Penny Mordaunt 


First round ballot: 67

Second round ballot: 83

Third round ballot: 82

Fourth round ballot: 92

Fifth round ballot: 105

Mordaunt is the current MP for Portsmouth North and the serving Minister of State for Trade Policy. The 49-year-old had emerged as a front runner to become the new Tory Party leader and her odds reflected that. Coming in from 40/1 last year to as short as 4/6 at some bookmakers at one point in the running. In a recent members poll she was favoured against any other running candidate, so if she had made the final two, her chances of winning would have improved massively. A staunch Brexiteer, she has made several controversial comments over the years, including a lie about Turkey joining the EU during the Brexit campaign and suggesting overseas aid would be better spent on a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia. Some have compared her to Boris Johnson in a wig. Nice...

Mordaunt struggled to keep momentum and failed to pick up the votes from here eliminated rivals, effectively handing the 2nd running position to Liz Truss.

Kemi Badenoch


First round ballot: 40

Second round ballot: 49

Third round ballot: 58

Fourth round ballot : 59

Badenoch was born in the UK but spent most of her youth in Africa and the USA. The 42-year-old is another hard-line Brexiteer and had been running on an anti-woke platform, waging various culture wars along the way. A favourite amongst certain back-benchers including Michael Gove. Her odds shortened throughout since announcing to run, but she just couldn't muster enough support amongst back benchers.

Tom Tugendhat 


First round ballot: 36

Second round ballot: 32

Third round ballot: 31

An ex-military man, Tugendhat is the MP for Tonbridge and Malling and the current Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The 49-year-old has only been a sitting politician since 2015 and voted to stay in the EU during the Brexit referendum a year later, something that may have come back to bite him in his hunt for the top Tory job. 

When asked what the naughtiest thing he had ever done was, he replied: "Invade a country". He was awarded a MBE back in 2010 for his military service. 

Suella Braverman


First round ballot: 32

Second round ballot: 27

Braverman was the first to announce her candidacy and has served as the attorney-general throughout Boris Johnson's premiership. A firm right-winger (aren't they all?) , she had pledged to rip the Northern Ireland protocol up and leave the ECHR. She is another who was running on an anti-woke platform and although she had no chance, she will have improved her chances of a bigger job in the future.

Nadhim Zahawi

First round ballot: 25

Jeremy Hunt

First round ballot: 18

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