Penny Mordaunt becomes 1st to announce UK leadership bid

Currently leading House of Commons, Mordaunt, 49, came 3rd in last leadership election.

Penny Mordaunt becomes 1st to announce UK leadership bid

British House of Commons leader Penny Mordaunt on Friday announced her bid to become the next British prime minister, making her the first to do so.

"I've been encouraged by support from colleagues who want a fresh start, a united party and leadership in the national interest," tweeted Mordaunt, 49, who heads the lower chamber of the British parliament.

"I'm running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your prime minister -- to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next general election."

She ran in the last leadership election that saw the outgoing Liz Truss become prime minister. Mordaunt came third in that contest.

Two other likely candidates are former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Sunak came out on top with lawmakers in the last leadership election, but lost out to Truss on the membership vote.

Johnson is less popular than Sunak with members of parliament, but more popular with the membership.

Neither Sunak nor Johnson have yet declared their candidacies.

Truss resigned after just 44 days in office, making her the shortest-serving British premier in history.

She took over from Johnson, who was ousted by his MPs just six weeks ago following a series of scandals, including being found guilty of breaking his own lockdown rules.

Nominations for the leadership opened on Thursday, and will stay open until 2 p.m. on Monday.

Candidates will need at least 100 nominations to progress, meaning the number of candidates on Monday will be capped at three.

If only one candidate reaches the threshold, they will be elected without the need to go to the membership.

This is the preferred option of many MPs seeking out a unity candidate, as they had preferred Sunak to Truss in the last leadership election.

If more than one candidate reaches the threshold, the top two candidates will take part in a leadership debate organized with local media, followed by the membership voting for the winner.

In this scenario, the new leader of the Conservative Party, and in turn, prime minister of the country, will be announced next Friday.

Opposition parties have called for a general election regardless of who the Conservatives elect.