Liz Truss appears to be the clear favorite over Rishi Sunak in early polling…
When is the next UK election?
Amid resignations over alleged scandals, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned on July 7. While he technically remains the prime minister for now, Boris Johnson will be officially replaced once the new prime minister is chosen in the election of September 5.
What is the UK PM selection process?
Initially, any candidate who received a nomination from at least 20 Members of Parliament (Members of Parliament) was eligible, resulting in eight candidates who were later reduced to two front-runners through a series of secret votes.
Throughout the month of August, the candidates engaged in a series of debates and chases that present their plans for the country. In the coming weeks, the nearly 200,000 card-carrying members of the Conservative party will vote by post for their favorite candidate, with the formal winner announced on September 5.
Who are the UK PM candidates?
The two remaining candidates are Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.
Rishi Sunak, 42, is best known for serving as the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the COVID pandemic, when he supported extensive government spending to keep the economy afloat. Before entering politics, Sunak worked at an investment bank and co-founded a hedge fund. He was first elected as an MP in 2015 representing the North Yorkshire constituency of Richmond.
Liz Truss, 46, is the current foreign secretary and has served in cabinet posts under David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson. She was a former president of the Oxford University Liberal Democrats but joined the Conservatives in 1996 and was first elected in 2010 as Member of Parliament for South West Norfolk.
UK PM candidate policy positions
For businessmen, the most important policies center on the economy.
One of the biggest differences between the two candidates is active tax policy. Truss has promised aggressive tax cuts “from day one”, including reversing social security rises and canceling the planned rise in corporation tax in 2023. Meanwhile, Sunak has indicated he will also seek to cut taxes, but only after inflation has been controlled first.
Not surprisingly, both candidates agree on this inflation and the cost of living are among the most urgent matters. While Truss proposed an emergency budget and tax cuts to get money into citizens’ pockets quickly, Sunak prefers targeted measures such as energy subsidies to deal with rising energy bills. Truss also hinted at changing the Bank of England’s mandate to focus more explicitly on pressures.
When it comes defense spendingboth candidates oppose spending cuts, although again, Truss set a more aggressive position with his proposal to increase defense spending to 2.5% of GDP in 2026 and 3.0% in 2030. In contrast, Sunak indicated that he would look at the current 2% of GDP spending ” as a floor, not a ceiling,” but did not set explicit targets for increasing that spending.
Although not explicitly centered around the economy, the attitudes of the candidates Brexit will also be key factors in the choice. Sunak voted for Brexit in 2016, while Truss voted to remain, although she has since changed her mind. Both candidates criticized the Northern Ireland Protocol, a key part of Britain’s post-Brexit deal with the EU. In a tangentially related matter, both candidates championed the unity of the United Kingdom while talking about another Scottish Independence Referendumwhich could come to a head in the coming months.
We’ll discuss what these policy proposals may mean for the pound sterling and the FTSE 100 later this week, so be sure to check back for more detailed analysis!
What do the surveys show?
As we press on, Liz Truss appears to be the clear favorite in early polling. The POLITICO poll has Truss at 55% of the vote against Sunak at 32% (12% are still undecided), and a recent Opinium poll showed Truss with a 61-39 advantage among decided voters. Although there is still time for Sunak to close the gap in the coming weeks, Truss has a commanding lead at the moment.
As a final note, Britain is scheduled to hold its next general election no later than January 2025 (the incoming prime minister could choose to vote before then), so the winning candidate will have no more than 15 months to audition for the job before facing voters again.