Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has publicly announced his support for Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the race to become Conservative party leader and take over from outgoing PM Boris Johnson. Wallace's endorsement will deliver a notable boost to the Truss campaign, and could prove a final nail in the coffin for former Chancellor Rishi Sunak's already-receding prospects of becoming the next UK PM.
- According to surveys from the Conservative Home news blog, Wallace is the Cabinet member with the most favourable ratings among grassroots party members, with the Defence Secretary's conduct during the war in Ukraine being lauded by members. In the days following Johnson announcing his future resignation but before the leadership campaign began in earnest, opinion polls showed Wallace as the frontrunner should he decide to run. In the end he did not enter the contest and did not announce his support for any candidate in the initial stages of the race.
- Betting markets continue to show narrowing odds on Truss winning the contest, with an implied probability of 88.5% of becoming the next Conservative leader to Sunak's 10.6%.
- Ballot papers will begin to land on the doorsteps of the estimated 160k Conservative party members from Monday 1 August. While the members will have until Friday 2 September to cast their vote, it is anticipated that many members will vote swiftly after receiving their ballots rather than waiting until the contest has played out in full.
- This acts as a further hindrance to Sunak's campaign given that he needed to have a strong start to the head-to-head contest in the initial televised debates, something that according to post-debate polls did not occur.