It's day one of the national campaign of the Tory leadership campaign – and Rishi Sunak has a mountain to climb. The former chancellor has already admitted that he is the underdog in the race, with the majority of membership polling indicating Liz Truss will be selected as the next prime minister. A YouGov poll released today confirms the current state of play.
When Tory members were asked on Wednesday and Thursday who of Truss or Sunak they would back, the Foreign Secretary came out on top at 62 per cent, with the former chancellor 24 points behind on 38 per cent. This means Truss has extended her lead by four points from a survey taken on Monday and Tuesday. This is notable because the argument from the Sunak camp has been that he is slowly but surely improving his standing with the membership – enjoying a 13 per cent swing in less than a week. The latest polling also has some grim figures for Sunak on trustworthiness: 40 per cent of members say they trust him to tell the truth and 40 per cent say they do not.
Can Sunak turn things around or is it a done deal for Truss? The issue for Sunak is that he has under two weeks to turn the tide before the ballots go out. Members could vote quickly – even though the contest will technically run on through August. It means that something will need to give soon for Sunak to be in with a chance – whether that is Truss coming under pressure or him putting in a game-changing performance in Monday's BBC debate. The pressure is on.