Like the question says. Now that the UK Conservative Party voting is done and a new Prime Minister installed (or imminently so today), what were the factors that led to her being

  • one of the two finalists among Conservative MP votes, and in addition
  • an established favorite already, among the popular party vote, when it came down to her and Sunak?

Short version - why was she the winner?

Or perhaps, how did others end up ruling themselves out or becoming rejected, and not becoming the winner?

(Because in some cases, its not as much about how the winner won, but how the competition lost. I don't know if this is one of those)


1 Answer 1


Finalist among MPs

  • Right-wing MPs coalesced around Truss after the other candidates from the right-wing (Braverman, Badenoch, Mordaunt & Zahawi) were eliminated. Each of these candidates (as well as Tugendhat) later endorsed Truss, while only Jeremy Hunt endorsed Sunak. These individual candidates brought with them the majority of their MP supporters - see Wikipedia's Endorsements in the 2022 Conservative Party leadership election (UK).

  • As the requirement was only to get into the final two, Truss could ignore Sunak during this stage and establish herself as the most electable right-wing candidate. Badenoch had no Cabinet experience so was unlikely to win, while Braverman had plenty of scandals such as telling government lawyers not to advise that policies were unlawful, while Mordaunt became bogged down with questions about an apparent incongruance between the views she espoused on transgender issues during the campaign and those that she apparently held while serving as an equalities minister.

Winner among Conservative Party members

  • Boris Johnson remains very popular with Tory rank & file members, and Sunak was seen as slimy and backstabbing for having contributed to his demise by triggering the wave of Cabinet resignations. This was combined with having apparently been preparing his leadership bid for some time, the domain name 'readyforrishi.com' having been registered in December 2021 - although Sunak denied this claim.

  • Truss is popular among party members for being right-wing, and although a Remain supporter in the 2016 Brexit campaign, having pivoted to espousing the benefits of Brexit through her role as International Trade Secretary and later Foreign Secretary. In this latter role she achieved significant PR through the lens of the Russian-Ukrainian war.

  • With the cost-of-living crisis looming, as well as rocketing inflation, many Tory party members are increasingly regretful about the amount of public debt that was accrued by anti-covid measures such as lockdown and the furlough scheme. As Sunak served as Chancellor during this period, Truss was able to successfully offload a lot of the blame for this onto him - despite serving in the Cabinet alongside him.

  • Truss has promised to cut income taxes, including for higher earners, in an attempt to stimulate the economy and tackle inflation. She has also promised an unspecified support package for energy costs during the winter. Sunak favours cutting taxes on businesses, but has said that he will deal with inflation before doing so. He has called Truss's economic policies "fairytales". They have, however, proved popular with Tory party members, who tend to be older & consequently often higher-earners, and who would therefore be more likely to personally benefit from Truss's plans.

  • But that first bullet, just narrates what happened. Why did it happen, how did it get there? What factors made her an emerging success, or got others ruled out when she wasn't? Why was she "most electable" in the first place? The first half, trying to be detailed, mostly just narrates the timeline that I can get from the BBC website. Not the factors that underlies it. The 2nd part "among party members" is more helpful, thank you that is much more what I hoped to.learn.
    – Stilez
    Sep 6, 2022 at 11:39
  • 1
    The latter half/part of the answer needs more polling sources for the claims it makes. Sep 6, 2022 at 12:09
  • Are Tory party members regretful of public debt caused by tax cuts? Or do they only regret public debt caused by COVID responses? Based on the last two bullet points it sounds like the plan is to solve public debt being too high, by increasing public debt. Sep 6, 2022 at 13:35
  • 3
    @user253751: Don't expect Tory party members to be especially consistent on public debt. They're much more in favour of it when they benefit from it. Sep 6, 2022 at 16:04
  • 2
    Excellent answer. I'd give a more prominent place to her recent opportunity to shine as Foreign Minister during a war situation. As well as being seen "sticking it to the EU" wrt Irish trade. Sep 6, 2022 at 17:02

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