Penny Mordaunt, the unknown on his way to Downing Street


QSecretary of State for Foreign Trade Penny Mordaunt, who was unknown to the general public in the UK last week, is making a meteoric rise in the race to succeed Boris Johnson in Downing Street.

With a slogan “PM4PM”, playing on her initials and those of the title of Prime Minister, Penny Mordaunt, 49, launched her campaign on Wednesday by defining herself as the Conservatives’ “best chance of winning” in the next election because she would be “the candidate that Labor is most afraid of”.

The number of candidates in the race was reduced to six on Wednesday. At the end of a first vote, reserved for Conservative MPs, former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak came out on top with 88 votes, ahead of Penny Mordaunt with 67 votes.

The patriotic fiber of this Royal Navy reservist, who proudly poses for the Union Jack in her campaign photo, seems to appeal to the grassroots of the party, which will have to decide in a postal vote between the two finalists whose results are expected on 5 Sept.

A YouGov poll conducted on July 12-13 of more than 800 party members gives her the clear favorite: She scores 27%, far ahead of Equality Secretary Kemi Badenoch (15%) and former Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, tied with the head of diplomacy Liz Truss, with 13%.

In the final, she would win without a doubt, regardless of her opponent.

On the other hand, only 11% of Britons (16% among Conservatives) can call her name by seeing her face, according to another study (Savanta ComRes).

Former Minister of Defense – first woman in this position – plays the card of seriousness and innovation. One of his key words is that it’s time to talk more about the ship than the captain.

“Serious Challenges”

She also has for her the fact that she has campaigned for Brexit from 2016, a key position for a whole fringe of the party that maintains some loyalty to Boris Johnson and plans to block Rishi Sunak.

“Low taxes, reduced state, personal responsibility. We have to come back to that, because we have serious challenges to overcome,” she said in a first campaign speech on Wednesday morning, where she showed herself confident and at ease.

A recent survey of the Conservative Home site, with a panel of more than 800 party members, also puts her in charge.

Considered one of the few conservative allies by the LGBTQ+ community, Penny Mordaunt was accused by specialist site PinkNews of having “capitulated” to the party’s “anti-trans wing” after stating after her candidacy that trans women are not biological women.

Penny Mordaunt, born on March 4, 1973 in Torquay, South West England, is the daughter of a skydiver and teacher.

She has two brothers, including twins, and lost her mother to breast cancer when she was 15.

To pay for her school education, she multiplies all kinds of odd jobs, works in the factory, becomes a magician’s assistant to help her family before studying philosophy at the University of Reading.

Backflip

She then pursued a career in public relations, advising William Hague when he led the Conservative Party (1997-2001), then in opposition under Tony Blair. She also worked in the United States for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign.

“I’ve learned that with determination you can do almost anything,” she said in a 2021 interview with The House magazine.

Penny Mordaunt, a long-time volunteer, worked in hospitals and orphanages in Romania.

After a first failure in 2005, she has been elected a Member of Parliament since 2010, with an increasing majority on every vote. She got her first government post in 2014 and then moved to different ministries (armed forces, people with disabilities, international development, women and equality).

She distinguished herself outside of politics by participating on television in a charity diving competition in 2014, from which she was eliminated after failing a back flip off the 7.5-meter diving board.

That same year, she came to the attention of the public when she gave a speech on poultry welfare, littered with terms with double meanings, a challenge imposed on her during her training as a reservist.

07/13/2022 18:24:15 – London (AFP) – © 2022 AFP

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