Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson is back in the UK from his Caribbean holiday, while former finance minister Rishi Sunak is already leading the bookies' charts for who may become the next Conservative Party leader and UK PM to replace Liz Truss. But the third one in the race, Penny Mordaunt, party leader in the House of Commons, is ahead on one count: She already has a video out that she claims is "The Real Me".
She released the campaign video on her social media channels with a hashtag playing on her initials, '#PM4PM'. It shows the former defence minister opening a wicket gate, walking towards things considered intrinsic to British culture: Love of football, a game of pool at the neighborhood pub, and pouring pints of beer.
She bills herself as a common person from Portsmouth, "a military city with a proud history".
"I have worked in factories and pubs," she says, "I know about the cost of living."
Cost of living is at the heart of why Liz Truss had to resign earlier this week — making her the shortest-serving UK PM — as she failed to push through measures to control rising prices.
Penny Mordaunt, the 49-year-old who was once a reality TV star, briefly chronicles her rise from a middle-class community to "having a seat at the table" in the two-minute video.
Both her rivals are evidently more moneyed, which she refers to, rather obliquely, in the video: "There are many people who claim they know me... that they know you. But ask yourself this: Do they understand the life you live?"
Boris Johnson, who was ousted after a series of scandals just about two months ago, was yet to formally launch his bid for the Conservative Party leadership, following Liz Truss's resignation this week as she failed to push through measures to control rising prices.
Former finance minister Rishi Sunak, who was defeated by Liz Truss in the last leadership race, has got the more than a hundred nominations from MPs required for a contest. Two others — Ben Wallace and Jeremy Hunt — have dropped out.
Mr Johnson is reported to have asked Mr Sunak to back down as he thinks only he can "save the party" in the elections due in 2024.
As for Penny Mordaunt, she came third behind Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in the previous leadership election. She had then backed Liz Truss. Recently, as Liz Truss's star fell, Penny Mordaunt wrote a newspaper column saying “Britain needs stability, not a soap opera”.
The party's MPs will vote on Monday, and two candidates will be put forward to the wider membership unless one pulls out. Result will be out on Friday, October 28.
Penny Mordaunt, party leader in the House of Commons, launched her campaign saying: "I've been encouraged by support from colleagues who want a fresh start, a united party and leadership in the national interest."
Opposition leader Keir Starmer of the Labour Party has ripped into the Conservative Party and called for a general election. "British people deserve so much better than this revolving door of chaos. We need a general election now," he said.
(With inputs from ANI, AFP)