LIZ Truss appears to have taken the lead in the race to be prime minister as a new poll shows over 60% of Tory members back her instead of Rishi Sunak. 

The Foreign Secretary and the former chancellor are going head-to-head over the summer months as they campaign to take over from scandal-hit Boris Johnson.

And now, a YouGov survey of 730 Tory party members has suggested that Truss has an edge over her former government colleague – and that around half of the membership are thinking of voting for her. 

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The research, carried out after the two final contenders were confirmed on Wednesday, shows Truss has a 24-point lead over Sunak, with 62% of party members intending to vote for the Foreign Secretary and only 38% for the former chancellor.

If those party members who don't know (15%) or would not vote (6%) are included then around half (49%) of party members intend to vote for Truss. For Sunak, only three in 10 party members are backing him (31%). 

The National: Truss appears to be the favourite amongst the Tory party membershipTruss appears to be the favourite amongst the Tory party membership

With around a fifth of members undecided, Sunak could gain some ground. However, the same poll found four in 10 party members (40%) believe that he cannot be trusted. For Truss, only 18% don't think she can't be trusted – 22 points fewer than Sunak. 

Truss is also out in front when it comes to leadership – with two-thirds of party members (62%) believing she will make a good party leader, while only 31% think she will make a bad one.

The National:

By contrast, only half of the membership (50%) think that Sunak would make a good leader, while 42% think he would be bad at the job.

Patrick English, Associate Director of Political and Social Research at YouGov said: "Today’s poll highlights the strength of Liz Truss’ position as we fire the starting gun for the final stage of the Conservative party leadership contest.

"As far as Rishi Sunak is concerned, it is clear that he faces an uphill battle in order to come out on top. Leads of this size are not typically overcome in what will be such a short space of time.

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"The former chancellor has a lot of work to do, and fast, if he is to change the story of this leadership battle."

It comes as it was revealed Truss "frittered" £500,000 of taxpayers cash on private jets in just three months. 

Truss and Sunak have both been contacted for comment.