July 19, 2022 - 3:25pm

We’ve had two pieces of information in the past hour on who will be the next prime minister. First, Kemi Badenoch is out — after an extraordinarily successful campaign, leaving Rishi Sunak to face either Liz Truss or Penny Mordaunt. Second, the poll of Conservative party members that matters most, YouGov, has been re-run and the results are very different to last week.

It reveals that the membership are making up their minds day by day on the candidates they will shortly be asked to consider. The commanding lead Penny Mordaunt had over all her rivals last week has been lost — she now trails both Liz Truss (and Kemi Badenoch, as it happens) in direct head-to-heads. The question of whether the polling triggered the massive anti-Penny campaign in the Right-leaning media will never be answered, but either way it seems to have worked.

Credit: YouGov

What has not changed since last week, however, is that Rishi Sunak currently loses to both Truss and Mordaunt. And by a healthy margin. Of course he might gradually win them over in the long forthcoming campaign, but this is a big mountain to climb. It seems a fair working assumption that he will lose to whomever he is put up against. The betting markets certainly seem to have concluded as much, with Truss rushing into the favourite position within minutes:

This makes the decision of the next 48 hours all the more important for Conservative MPs. Who would you be content, even if not overjoyed, to see as prime minister? You should do whatever you can to make sure it is that person on the ballot alongside Sunak.

Freddie Sayers is the Editor-in-Chief & CEO of UnHerd. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of YouGov, and founder of PoliticsHome.