Sajid Javid and Rehman Chishti withdraw from UK PM race, eight candidates now in the fray to replace Boris Johnson

Conservative Member of Parliament Sajid Javid

Conservative Member of Parliament Sajid Javid wipes his face during a press conference in London

Photo : AP

London: With mere weeks left before the UK appoints another Prime Minister, there are now eight candidates left in the fray. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Foreign Office minister Rehman Chishti have withdrawn their candidatures from the contest. The contenders will soon be whittled down to two – as 358 Conservative lawmakers undertake a series of elimination votes.

The two Pakistani-origin hopefuls – Javid and Chishti – had withdrawn from the race just as the nominations closed after failing to secure the backing of at least 20 MPs necessary to make the first cut.

The potential contenders who managed to get into the first round of voting are former Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, Treasury Secretary Nadhim Zahawi, former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt, House of Commons Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat, Attorney General of England and Wales, Suella Braverman and former Minister of State for Equalities Kemi Badenoch.

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Sunak is expected to become one of the final two contenders for the post and, according to reports, has the highest number of MPs behind him. He, alongside Braverman are the two Indian-origin members of Parliament to make the initial shortlist.

“I am running a positive campaign focused on what my leadership can offer our party and our country,” the 42-year-old Conservative leader had said at his campaign launch. If elected, he will become the first Indian-origin prime minister of the UK.

The deadline to narrow down the shortlist to just two remaining candidates is July 21, when the 1922 Committee Chair Sir Graham Brady will also seek an assurance that both finalists will remain in the race to face the wider party membership ballot.

The 1922 Committee, in charge of the timetable for the leadership race, has said that the new Tory leader will be announced on September 5 and address their first Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament on September 7. Boris Johnson will continue to remain in office until October as caretaker prime minister until the new Tory leader is elected.

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