Live updates: Rishi Sunak becomes the UK’s next prime minister

Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons, in London, Sunday.

Penny Mordaunt’s greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses are the same: No one really knows who she is.

As Rishi Sunak’s sole rival in the final stages of the race for British prime minister Liz Truss, that’s about to change.

Being a relatively unknown lawmaker in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party has its advantages. While other members of parliament have struggled to distance themselves from the failure of previous governments, Mordaunt has been able to paint himself as something of an outsider.

But the truth is that Mordaunt, an MP since 2010, held a number of ministerial positions before being appointed Defense Secretary during the painful final few months of Theresa May’s government.

Pursuing the PM4PM slogan during the Conservative leader’s campaign this summer, Mordaunt promises a return to traditional Tory values: Low taxes, a small state, individual responsibility.

It almost proves a winning ticket. She won 105 votes from MPs – just eight fewer than Liz Truss, who went on to win – but this was not enough to put her ahead of party members in the final vote. together.

If Mordaunt had made it to that stage, she could have been expected to perform well. As a lover of the Tory base, her military background – she was a reservist in the Royal Navy – and mentions of Margaret Thatcher played well among party members.

In her previous campaign video, Mordaunt recalled seeing a naval task force sailing from her hometown of Portsmouth, where she is now an MP, to the Falklands – the South Atlantic archipelago that Thatcher went to war with Argentina to get it back. “It taught me that my country is against bullies,” she said.

Mordaunt has been criticized in the past for his ideological flexibility. At the recent Conservative Party conference, she called Truss’ policies “wonderful”. With the advent of “Trussonomics,” she’ll likely have to rethink her stance on that.

She also revised her mind on another controversial issue. As minister for women and equality, Mordaunt took a pro-transgender stance, asserting that “transgenders are men, trans women are women”.

However, under pressure from more conservative socialist members of her party, she abandoned this stance during the last leadership election, saying a transgender woman could not be considered “a woman”. schoolgirl” like me.

These vacancies have led some to question whether Mordaunt has a fundamental political philosophy – or whether she’s merely a savvy politician with her eyes on Number 10.


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