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Tory leadership election tracker: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss remain in race to be PM

Conservative party members will vote for either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss to succeed Boris Johnson as Conservative party leader and UK prime minister, after Penny Mordaunt was eliminated in Wednesday’s final ballot of Tory MPs.

Eight candidates had received the nominations required to be on the initial ballot when Conservative MPs began voting. In the first round on July 13 Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi were eliminated after failing to reach the threshold of 30 MPs’ votes needed to reach the second round.

Suella Braverman was knocked out in the second round on July 14 after securing fewer votes than the other candidates. Tom Tugendhat was eliminated in the third ballot on Monday, and Kemi Badenoch lost out in the fourth on Tuesday.

Here are the results after the final round of voting on Wednesday:

Around 150,000 Conservative members now have until September 2 to vote on which of the two finalists will become Tory leader and prime minister. The result is expected on September 5 at 12.30pm.

While Sunak had the most support among Conservative MPs, polls have suggested that Truss is more popular with the party membership — she is also the current favourite among bookmakers and betting exchanges:

The candidates

Rishi Sunak

FIFTH round votes: 137

Rishi Sunak: the 42-year-old former chancellor is a favourite to be the next prime minister, thanks to first-mover advantage, a slick campaign launch video and the backing of many MPs from across the party. But his message of fiscal discipline has proved unpopular with some Tories unhappy with his economic strategy.

Liz Truss

Fifth round votes: 113

Liz Truss: the foreign secretary’s pitch is based on two key strands: a clean break with the economic policies of the Johnson government and a focus on delivery based on her five cabinet roles. The 46-year-old’s focus on liberty and freedom imitates her heroine Margaret Thatcher, and has found favour on the right flank of the party.

No longer in the running

Penny Mordaunt

FIFTH round votes: 105

Penny Mordaunt: the junior trade minister has been eyeing up the Tory leadership for several years with a unique pitch combining her pro-Brexit credentials with social liberalism, while playing on her experience in the Royal Navy. The 49-year-old’s low public profile has been countered with an effective operation to gain support among Conservative MPs, but she was eliminated on the final ballot.

Kemi Badenoch

Fourth round votes: 59

Kemi Badenoch: the former equalities minister has a low profile outside Westminster but has become the surprise outside choice in the race, thanks to her strident pitch on social issues and the endorsement of ex-levelling-up secretary Michael Gove. The 42-year-old also found support from a range of younger MPs from the 2017 and 2019 intakes, but was eliminated in the fourth ballot.

Tom Tugendhat

Third round votes: 31

Tom Tugendhat: the chair of the House of Commons’ foreign affairs select committee has no government experience, but had found favour on the left of the Conservative party with his pitch for a “clean break” from the Johnson era, playing on his military service. The 49-year-old’s hopes had been boosted by endorsements from several senior pro-Brexit figures, but he was eliminated in the third ballot.

Suella Braverman

SECOND round votes: 27

Suella Braverman: the attorney-general found much favour with the rightwing of the Conservative party, built on her reputation as the former head of the European Research Group of pro-Brexit MPs, including her pledge to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. The 42-year-old was eliminated in the second ballot.

Nadhim Zahawi

First round votes: 25

Nadhim Zahawi: the newly-appointed chancellor was an early favourite in the contest but struggled to gain momentum, in part due to his central role in the fall of Johnson and questions about his tax affairs. The 55-year-old hoped that his pitch based on economic transformation and social mobility could still find favour among a wide spread of MPs, but was eliminated after receiving 25 votes in the first ballot.

Jeremy Hunt

First round votes: 18

Jeremy Hunt: the former health secretary was one of the first to declare that Johnson should step down as prime minister and hoped to pitch himself to the left of the Tory party, based on his record in government. But the 55-year-old struggled to gain momentum after a late launch to his campaign. He was eliminated after receiving 18 votes in the first round of voting by MPs.

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid: the former health secretary’s third bid for the Tory leadership followed his decision to quit Johnson’s government on July 5, which started the chain of events that led to the prime minister’s departure. But support for the 52-year-old among MPs has waned since his last candidacy, and he quit before the first ballot.

Rehman Chishti

Rehman Chishti: the former religious freedom tsar had made the biggest surprise entry to the leadership contest, given his lack of ministerial record and minimal support from MPs. The 43-year-old withdrew before the first ballot.

Priti Patel

Priti Patel: several socially conservative Tories backed the home secretary before she ruled out a bid for the leadership. Had the 50-year-old opted to make a late entry into the race, she would have likely faced a battle with other more established candidates for support from the rightwing of the party.

Grant Shapps

Grant Shapps: the transport secretary made a surprise bid for the leadership, based on his record of delivery in government and pledging to be a steady prime minister. But the 53-year-old struggled to gain much support from MPs and dropped out of the race on July 12, endorsing Sunak.

How the leadership contest works

Additional work by Mumena Choudhury, Oliver Hawkins, Kari-Ruth Pedersen and Veronika Samborska.

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