Penny Mordaunt pulls out of Tory leadership race

Penny Mordaunt had been pushing to get the backing of 100 MPs

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Penny Mordaunt has pulled out of the Tory leadership race, with Rishi Sunak to be the next Prime Minister.

The pound and British government bond prices jumped briefly on news of Ms Mordaunt's withdrawal, but soon returned to their previous levels.

The Commons Leader bowed out of the race just minutes before the 1922 Committee Chair Sir Graham Brady was to announce the leadership candidates. It was reported she struggled to get the 100 nominations from Tory MPs required by the 2pm deadline.

Penny Mordaunt
Penny Mordaunt
Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak

With Rishi Sunak set to be the prime minister, Penny Mordaunt said: “This decision is an historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party.

“Rishi has my full support.

“I am proud of the campaign we ran and grateful to all those, across all sides of our party, who gave me their backing.

“We all owe it to the country, to each other and to Rishi to unite and work together for the good of the nation. There is much work to be done.”

With Boris Johnson having ditched his own bid at a comeback, Mr Sunak will enter No 10 unopposed and avoid an online ballot of the Conservative members that rejected him for Ms Truss last month.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Ms Mordaunt said: “Our Party is our membership. Whether we are elected representatives, activists, fundraisers or supporters. We all have a stake in who our leader is.

“These are unprecedented times. Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today. They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.

A source for the Penny Mordaunt campaign said the Commons Leader got the backing of 90 MPs.

They said: “1922 has offered to verify the numbers but Penny got 90. She is fully backing Rishi.”