The British-Indian ex-minister won a decisive mandate from the Tory parliamentary party to take on Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the race to replace Boris Johnson.
The 42-year-old former Chancellor was a clear frontrunner among the Tory members of Parliament 137 of whom voted in favour of him against Truss’ 113 but his camp knows they face an uphill task to replicate the winning streak of every voting round since last week with the wider party membership.
Thursday’s latest bookie odds on the betting aggregator Oddschecker after Wednesday’s final round of MP votes show Truss in a comfortable lead over Sunak.
“I will work night and day to deliver our message around the country,” said Sunak.
He used a column in The Daily Telegraph’ to soften some of the harsh rhetoric of the live television debates by saying he “likes and respects” his opponent after they clashed bitterly over key policy issues, specifically taxes.
While Truss has pledged to cut taxes from day one, the former finance minister has held firm on cutting inflation as a priority. The battle lines are drawn even as both candidates model themselves on former Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.