Sixty-one per cent of The Northern Echo readers have said that they’d favour former Chancellor Rishi Sunak to be the next Conservative leader over fellow tory candidate Liz Truss.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are currently battling it out to become the next Prime Minister.

Over the coming weeks, it will be up to Tory party members to decide which of the two candidates will be the next prime minister.

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The pair have been engaged in bitter clashes over policy – including immigration, China and tax cuts – in their bid to secure the top job.

The pair will go head-to-head in a TV BBC debate at 9pm on Monday (July 25) after a weekend that saw allies of the two Tory leadership hopefuls trade increasingly personal attacks.

Both candidates will spend Monday engaging in final preparations ahead of the first showdown between the two.

The Northern Echo: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Picture: PA MEDIARishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Picture: PA MEDIA

Sophie Raworth will host the debate in Stoke, with the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason and economics editor Faisal Islam offering analysis and some follow-up questions.

The studio audience will be made up entirely of people who voted Conservative at the last general election.

With postal ballots set to arrive on Tory members’ doorsteps by August 5, Mr Sunak faces pressure to use the BBC debate – and another hosted by TalkTV and the Sun on Tuesday – to make an early breakthrough.

The Truss campaign had said that as prime minister she would increase the UK’s frontline Border Force by 20% and double the Border Force Maritime staffing levels, with Ms Truss claiming that her plan to tackle illegal migration would be given a strong legal foundation by the new UK Bill of Rights.

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