- Sputnik International, 1920, 28.08.2022
Tory Leadership Race 2022
The Tory leadership race started after scandal-ridden PM Boris Johnson announced his resignation in July. After several rounds of votes, two candidates are now vying for the top spot: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak. A new party leader will be announced on September 5.

Truss Faces PR Showdown With Conservative Leadership Rival Sunak - Author

© AFP 2023 / JUSTIN TALLISBritain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech at the launch of her campaign to become the next leader of the Conservative party in London on July 14, 2022. -
Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss delivers a speech at the launch of her campaign to become the next leader of the Conservative party in London on July 14, 2022. - - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.07.2022
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has emerged a favorite in the race for Conservative leadership but her gaffe-prone public performance may weaken her position ahead of the runoff vote, Francis Cole, a former European Commission civil servant and author, told Sputnik.
The governing party has been concerned about its image after two rounds of televised debates among leadership contenders turned out to be a PR debacle, forcing Tories to cancel the third one. Truss was arguably named the biggest loser of both debates and will face off with rival Rishi Sunak again on Sky News in August.
Cole praised the 46-year-old as an experienced functionary and a "true-blue tax-cutting Tory" who has cast herself as a new Margaret Thatcher, a defender of "Global Britain," and a staunch supporter of Boris Johnson and his Brexit legacy. But he suggested that weeks of campaigning will be a big test of the public personality she is trying to portray.
"Only weak point, but it is serious: she is not very good in presentations and debates. She even admits that her communication skills are not perfect," he said.
 Liz Truss - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.07.2022
Tory Leadership Race 2022
Promises, Promises: Liz Truss Reveals What She Would Do As Prime Minister
Truss has been criticized at home for saying in February that she would back any Brit who decides to go fight in Ukraine. She quickly rowed back after other Conservatives pointed that joining the conflict ran against her department's advice and was punishable by law.
"She retracted immediately, but you see what she can do; two more months of campaigning to go," the expert pointed out.
Truss and Sunak, the last two candidates for the UK’s top job, face six weeks of campaigning and hustings before the wider Conservative membership votes on their new leader. The final result is expected on September 5.
Sunak, who had been the frontrunner in closed-door leadership votes among Tory lawmakers, has painted himself as a consolidator but may fail to win over the party’s rank and file because he is viewed as a "head traitor" after rebelling against Boris Johnson, Cole said. He is also seen as a rich "high tax chancellor," at a time when the party is struggling to get the middle class back on its side.
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