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Eight Aspirants In The Race For UK PM Face Off In First Election

Conservative lawmakers will vote on Wednesday to narrow the field of eight candidates hoping to succeed Boris Johnson as party leader and prime minister, in an increasingly fractious contest marked by the hopefuls trading barbs.

Three of the 11 initial challengers for the premiership fell away on Tuesday after failing to secure enough support from their colleagues, but the contest remains crowded.

Rishi Sunak, whose resignation as finance minister last week helped precipitate Johnson's fall, is the bookmakers' favourite and has the most public support among lawmakers. His successor Nadhim Zahawi and foreign minister Liz Truss are also among the remaining candidates.

Less familiar figures such as former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt have won notable support from other senior lawmakers and are popular with the party's members, who will ultimately decide the winner.

A YouGov poll of 800 of the about 200,000 members found Mordaunt, a former defence minister but less well-known among the public at large, would beat any of the others in a run-off and had a huge lead over Sunak who fared badly against almost all his rivals. read more

On Wednesday, the remaining candidates will each have to secure 30 votes from the party's 358 Members of Parliament (MPs) to get through to the next round of voting, while the candidate with the fewest backers will be eliminated regardless.

The vote is due between 1230 GMT and 1430 GMT, with the result announced afterwards.

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