Liz Truss has overtaken Rishi Sunak as the favourite to succeed Boris Johnson among Tory members, a new poll has found.
According to Conservative Home, just over 23 per cent of Tory party members would prefer to see the Foreign Secretary become the next leader, compared to 20 per cent who backed Mr Sunak.
When the same questions was asked of Conservative members in August, Ms Truss was second with just 12 per cent, compared to Mr Sunak on 31 per cent.
The poll, which surveyed 786 Britons, found Penny Mordaunt was the third favourite to take over from Mr Johnson, with eight per cent of the votes.
Who should be the next leader of the Conservative party after Boris Johnson?
Although Mr Sunak has dropped down in the Conservative Home poll, the Chancellor is still favourite to take over in the betting market.
A survey by Oddschecker found the Chancellor has a 32 per cent chance of being the next Tory leader, compared to Ms Truss on 17 per cent
Ms Truss, who has taken over Brexit negotiations after Lord Frost’s resignation, has a strong base within the parliamentary party and among Tory members. She has also made a name for herself with her libertarian, anti-lockdown views.
Her supporters have even established a WhatsApp group called "Liz for Leader", which is expected to form the basis of her campaign team when Boris Johnson either stands down or is challenged for the party leadership.
Profile Liz Truss
Mr Johnson has faced considerable criticism in recent weeks over the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis, a looming cost of living crisis, and a cacophony of sleaze and incompetence allegations levelled at the Prime Minister and his Number 10 operation.
Ms Truss consistently rates highest in a poll of Conservative members conducted regularly by the Conservative Home website. In the latest version, she had a net approval rating of 82 per cent with members. However, some Conservative sources have said she has "gone too early" in her bid for the party leadership.
Rishi Sunak has faced criticism over his Budget, which will mean a massive increase in spending
Credit: Dan Kitwood/PA Wire
Mr Sunak, on the other hand, came under fire for his tax and spend Budget in November, with huge levels of new spending that put Britain on course for its biggest tax burden since the 1950s.
The Chancellor was also urged to “come out of hiding” and provide urgent financial support for businesses hit by the emergence of the omicron variant. The Government had urged people to cut back on socialising, but offered no financial help for trades affected.
He eventually cut short a trip to California and held calls with hospitality chiefs.