Just 11% of public recognise Tory leadership favourite Penny Mordaunt (and some thought she was Adele)

·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·3 min read
Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, at the Cinnamon Club, in Westminster, London. Picture date: Wednesday July 13, 2022.
Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader and prime minister, at the Cinnamon Club, in Westminster. (PA Images)

Only 11% of the public were able to identify Tory leadership favourite Penny Mordaunt when shown a picture of her, as some people mistook her for pop star Adele, a new poll has found.

Mordaunt is currently ahead in the race to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister after research revealed she is by far the most popular candidate among Tory party members.

She made it through the first ballot of Conservative MPs on Wednesday with the backing of 67 Tories, compared to Rishi Sunak's 88.

On Thursday, she picked up 83 votes, placing her second after Sunak with 101. Liz Truss came third with 64 followed by Kemi Badenoch 49 and Tom Tugendhat 32.

Suella Braverman was eliminated from the ballot after securing 27 – under the required minimum of 30.

Results of the second ballot in the Tory leadership election. (Yahoo/Flourish)
Results of the second ballot in the Tory leadership election. (Yahoo/Flourish)

Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt were booted out of the contest a day earlier after also failing to drum up sufficient support from their parliamentary colleagues.

Read more: Tory leadership election: Who's still in the race and when is the vote?

Despite her popularity with Conservative MPs and members, Mordaunt is yet to become a recognisable face to the wider public.

The poll from Savanta/ComRes found that just 11% of the public could correctly name her - and two people mistook her for Adele.

She was correctly identified by just 16% of Conservative voters.

Spot the difference. Some people mistook PM hopeful Mordaunt for popstar Adele. (PA)
Spot the difference. Some people mistook PM hopeful Mordaunt for popstar Adele. (PA)

In comparison, Sunak was recognised by 66% of the public and 77% of Conservative voters.

Liz Truss, currently the third favourite in the contest, was recognised by 33% of the public.

Participants in the survey were shown the official parliamentary portrait of the Tory leadership candidates and asked to answer: "Who is this person?"

They were offered the option to say "I don't know".

Savants/ComRes political research director Chris Hopkins revealed that two said the picture of Mordaunt was singer Adele, and another put the response: "Penelope Mordaunt (gorgeous)."

A poll by Savanta/ComRes found only 11% of the public could name Penny Mordaunt when shown a picture. (Savanta/ComRes)
A poll by Savanta/ComRes found only 11% of the public could name Penny Mordaunt when shown a picture. (Savanta/ComRes)
Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi have been eliminated from the Tory leadership race after the first round of voting. (PA)
Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi have been eliminated from the Tory leadership race after the first round of voting. (PA)

On Thursday, Mordaunt came under fire from a Conservative lord as the Tory leadership contest became increasingly bitter.

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost told TalkTV: “I am quite surprised at where she is in this leadership race. She was my deputy – notionally, more than really – in the Brexit talks last year.

“I felt she did not master the detail that was necessary in the negotiations last year. She wouldn’t always deliver tough messages to the European Union when that was necessary.

Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, at the Cinnamon Club, in Westminster, London. Picture date: Wednesday July 13, 2022.
Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader and PM. (PA)

“She wasn’t fully accountable, she wasn’t always visible. Sometimes I didn’t even know where she was. This became such a problem that, after six months, I had to ask the prime minister to move her on and find somebody else to support me.”

Allies of Mordaunt said she had “nothing but respect” for Lord Frost despite his scathing attack on her.

A source in the Penny Mordaunt for PM campaign said: “Penny has nothing but respect for Lord Frost.

“He did a huge amount to assist our negotiations until he resigned from Government.

“Penny will always fight for Brexit and always has.”

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