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UK Tory Leader Race Odds: Liz Truss Extends Lead Over Rishi Sunak

(Bloomberg) -- Two candidates remain in the battle to succeed Boris Johnson as head of the UK Conservative Party and Prime Minister as the leadership race enters its final weeks.

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Tory MPs held their final ballot on Wednesday in the race to elect a new premier, with Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt knocked out after receiving the fewest votes. Ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will now embark on a six-week tour of hustings around the UK for the votes of some 175,000 Tory party members. The results will be announced on Sept. 5, but many members may submit postal ballots before then.

Truss, a grassroots candidate who has drawn comparisons with Margaret Thatcher, is the favorite to succeed Johnson, according to Sky Bet, which will pay out 2/5 on her to be the next party leader. Truss, who gained 27 votes for a total of 113 in the final ballot of MPs, also recorded a commanding 24-point polling advantage over Sunak on Thursday.

Truss is odds-on with other sites too -- she’s 4/9 at Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill, according to Oddschecker. Those odds have narrowed since Wednesday, while Sunak’s have widened, meaning more bettors are backing the foreign secretary to occupy 10 Downing Street.

Sunak, whose resignation helped trigger the prime minister’s downfall earlier this month, is lagging behind Truss at 15/8 with Sky. While the former chancellor topped all five rounds of voting among Tory MPs, the party’s grassroots members appear to favor Truss.

According to a YouGov survey of 730 Tory members released on Thursday, 62% said they would vote for Truss and 38% opted for Sunak.

Odds from betting on politics should be taken with a pinch of salt. They tend to reflect the views of a modest number of everyday citizens, with low levels of liquidity compared to other markets. Nonetheless, they give clues as to the direction of travel during a rapidly changing contest.

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