She claimed she was the Conservative Social gathering management candidate that “Labour concern essentially the most” – and now Penny Mordaunt is likely to be essentially the most feared by her rivals to be prime minister too.
Rishi Sunak topped the poll within the the primary spherical of voting by Tory MPs within the race to succeed Boris Johnson. Nevertheless it was Mordaunt, a commerce minister, ending in second place that brought about a buzz in Westminster.
No-one can fairly say what “momentum” is, or whether or not it really makes any distinction in any way. However no matter momentum (aka “the massive mo”) is, Mordaunt appears to have a number of it.
Mordaunt, 49, campaigned for Brexit and was the primary lady to function defence secretary, though Johnson sacked her shortly after he turned prime minister in 2019 as a result of she had backed one other candidate for get together chief, Jeremy Hunt. She additionally held the worldwide growth temporary in cupboard, and is presently a junior commerce minister.
The MP for Portsmouth North since 2010, Mordaunt’s profession earlier than politics was largely in public relations. The colorful points of her background embrace a stint as magician’s assistant whereas in school, serving as a Royal Navy reservist and showing on the Tom Daley-fronted diving present, Splash.
She is seen as a protected wager, or a compromise candidate that marries Brexiteer bona fides with the type of socially liberal views that have been ushered in by David Cameron as chief, having spoken at a pro-Go away LGBT occasion in the course of the referendum.
Why pleasure now?
Whereas by no means a rank outsider, Mordaunt has been put within the second-tier of management hopefuls due to higher title recognition amongst different candidates. However what may need began as a curse could flip right into a blessing if the likes of one-time chancellor Sunak and overseas secretary Liz Truss are tarnished by their affiliation with the Johnson period.
And a ballot on Wednesday, maybe pointing to the will for a recent break from the latest half, brought about an earth tremor amongst political journalists.
Let’s keep in mind, as soon as MPs have whittled the sphere down to 2 candidates, it’s as much as between 100,000 and 200,000 get together members to decide on the winner. And the YouGov survey confirmed Mordaunt is now the clear favorite for chief amongst these Conservative members.
Some 27% responded that they’d favour Mordaunt as Johnson’s alternative, with former minister Kemi Badenoch second on 15%, and Sunak and Truss tied on 13%. Maybe extra important was how she would beat each rival – comfortably – in head-to-heads.
The ballot’s revelations – which got here after her marketing campaign’s launch occasion – have been adopted by the second place within the poll and a useful benefit over Truss, who was seen as a candidate extra prone to unite the get together’s factions.
Backroom negotiations will now happen earlier than the subsequent spherical of voting, and any variety of pacts and guarantees may but deny Mordaunt a spot within the closing two. Her increased profile may even carry way more scrutiny than she has skilled earlier than.
However as soon as they’ve completed telling you about “momentum”, commentators will likely recall how David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith have been additionally not presupposed to win the Tory management. In different phrases, all to play for.