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The debate is heated between the candidates for the succession of Boris Johnson

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They are still five in the race for power launched after the announcement on July 7 of the resignation of Boris Johnson, swept away by an avalanche of departures triggered by an overflow of scandals and lies.

Secretary of State for International Trade Penny Mordaunt, ex-finance minister Rishi Sunak, head of diplomacy Liz Truss, ex-secretary of state for equality Kemi Badenoch and MP Tom Tugendhat met reunited for an hour-long televised debate on the ITV channel.

They begin a decisive week in the race for Downing Street: after several votes by Conservative MPs, we will know on Wednesday evening the names of the two finalists, who will be decided during the summer by party members. The name of the future Prime Minister will be known on September 5.

The face-to-face turned out to be much livelier than the previous televised debate on Friday, during which the five contenders for power had refused to conflict and personal attacks.

Frontal attacks

This time, the head of diplomacy Liz Truss, considered unconvincing on Friday, set the tone by criticizing her former colleague in government Rishi Sunak from her first speeches, accusing her of having led the country to recession by raising taxes when he was in charge of finance.

Former defense minister Penny Mordaunt also attacked the former chancellor on the subject. She suggested borrowing to cope with the cost-of-living crisis which is strangling British households, with record inflation at 9.1% in May.

That’s socialism, even Jeremy Corbyn [l’ancien chef de l’opposition, NDLR] wouldn’t have gone that far! »

A quote from Rishi Sunak, former Minister of Finance

Ms. Truss and Mr. Sunak have been at loggerheads since the start of the campaign. The 46-year-old candidate is the darling of the Johnson camp, which is convinced that Mr Sunak had been biding his time for months before resigning on July 4, precipitating the prime minister’s downfall. What supporters of Rishi Sunak deny.

Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak in the lead

By going on the offensive, Liz Truss tried to catch up as the polls relegated her to third place behind Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak, neck and neck.

On Saturday, a survey carried out by the site Conservative Home among his conservative readership even put former Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch in the lead, who appeals to some conservative supporters for his side anti woke and his remarks less jargon than most of his rivals.

After months of scandals and lies under Boris Johnson, issues of integrity have once again been widely discussed.

No candidate has said he is willing to appoint the soon-to-be ex-prime minister to his government.

In the previous debate on Friday, only Tom Tugendhat had answered firmly Nope when asked if the resigning prime minister was being honest. Kemi Badenoch was content with a sometimes and the other three sputtered vague answers.

The environment in the background

At the end of the face-to-face, the candidates had to position themselves on environmental issues. But the subject, relegated to the background of the debates since the start of the campaign, was again eclipsed in a few minutes.

If all the candidates except Kemi Badenoch say they will maintain the national objective of carbon neutrality by 2050, they are not making it a priority.

With temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius expected in England earlier this week, COP26 President and Minister Alok Sharma on Sunday called on candidates to take very seriously climate issues, not excluding leaving his post if this were not the case.

In order to select the new Prime Minister, Conservative MPs will vote again on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to eliminate the candidates one by one while a third debate will take place on Wednesday on sky news.

When the two finalist candidates have been determined, the choice will fall to members of the Conservative Party who will vote by mail during the summer. The result of the vote is expected on September 5.

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