Tory leadership race down to four candidates as Tom Tugendhat drops out

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch and Penny Mordaunt remain in contention

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The Conservative Party leadership race is now down to four candidates as Tom Tugendhat drops out of the running.

Tory MPs took to the ballots from 5pm today in the third round of voting as the race goes on to find the successor to Boris Johnson.

The results of the voting were announced by the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady.

The remaining four candidates left in the race to become the next Prime Minister are Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch and Penny Mordaunt.

The remaining candidates before today's vote
The remaining candidates before today's vote

In the third round of the Tory leadership contest, Mr Sunak got 115 votes, Ms Mordaunt 82, Ms Truss 71, Ms Badenoch 58 and Mr Tugendhat 31.

After his elimination from the leadership contest, Mr Tugendhat said he will listen to what other candidates have to say before deciding who to support.

In a video posted to Twitter, Mr Tugendhat said: “That is the end of the road for me in this race, but look, it has been an amazing run, I’m incredibly proud of the team, I’m incredibly grateful to all the supporters who have been with me at some – if not all – stages of the race we fought for a clean start because we know that that’s what the country is crying out for.

“We’ve seen that in the response to the two debates, we’ve seen that in the engagement we’ve had from people.

“Now I’m going to be with you, of course, over the next two years, fighting in the council elections and then fighting again in the general election and then long into the future, because we need to make sure that our party, the Conservative Party, is able to deliver a clean start for the country and for ourselves.

Tom Tugendhat has dropped out of the running
Tom Tugendhat has dropped out of the running

“But, please, I’m not going to be talking about any candidates at the moment. I’ll listen to what they have to say and I’ll be making my judgment later.”

The remaining candidates will now face another round of voting on Tuesday, and if no one pulls out, the leadership race will be reduced to two candidates by Wednesday.

The final two will then campaign for member votes, before a winner is confirmed in September.

The latest vote comes after the Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt, and newly-elected Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi were eliminated from the race last week after both failing to secure the support of 30 MPs.

All four of the remaining candidates, as well as Mr Tugendhat, were involved in a series of fiery exchanges in the latest TV debate on on Sunday evening.

Ex-Chancellor Mr Sunak, who topped both the first two ballots, clashed with international trade minister Ms Mordaunt and Foreign Secretary Ms Truss over the economy.

And former equalities minister Ms Badenoch and Mr Tugendhat – who finished fourth and fifth in the last ballot – squared off over who had the record and experience to be Prime Minister.