Rishi races ahead and Braverman bows out as Tory leadership contest down to final five

14 July 2022, 15:04 | Updated: 14 July 2022, 22:13

Rishi takes the lead in Tory leadership race as Braverman is knocked out
Rishi takes the lead in Tory leadership race as Braverman is knocked out. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Rishi Sunak has the backing of more than 100 MPs in the Tory leadership race after Suella Braverman was knocked out in the second round of voting.

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The former Chancellor took top spot with 101 votes from colleagues while Penny Mordaunt secured second place with 83 votes.

Ms Braverman, who is the current Attorney General lost after receiving just 27 votes.

She previously pitched herself as an "authentic" Brexiteer saying: "I'm the only candidate who can stop the small boats crossing the channel because I'm the only one who knows we need to leave the ECHR. The British people won't forgive us unless we address this issue."

Ms Braverman has since announced she is backing Liz Truss.

The five candidates who have made it through the second round of voting are:

  • Rishi Sunak - 101 votes
  • Penny Mordaunt - 83 votes
  • Liz Truss - 64 votes
  • Kemi Badenoch - 49 votes
  • Tom Tugendhat - 32 votes

Read more: 'I'm loyal to Boris': Liz Truss unveils plan to beat the march of Mordaunt

Rishi Sunak, who remains the frontrunner said he was "incredibly grateful" for the support of Tory MPs.

He tweeted: "I am incredibly grateful for the continued support from my colleagues and the wider public.

"I am prepared to give everything I have in service to our nation.

"Together we can restore trust, rebuild our economy and reunite the country."

Tobias Ellwood, who is backing Penny Mordaunt, told Tonight with Andrew Marr the government was suffering from a "grand absence of vision" as he branded members of the cabinet "sycophants".

He blasted Number 10 for a "loss of focus, discipline, connectivity", adding: "When you lose sight of who you serve, that’s when you have to depart".

Tory Peer Lord Rose reveals he is backing Rishi Sunak

The third round of voting will take place on Monday and will continue until only two contenders remain.

Liz Truss's leadership election team claimed she is attracting a wide range of support from across the Tory party, as they indicted Suella Braverman's supporters should now back the Foreign Secretary.

A spokeswoman for Ms Truss said: "Today's results show that Liz Truss is attracting a wide range of supporters from across the Conservative Party.

"Suella Braverman ran a campaign that she can rightly be proud.

"As Liz set out in her speech now is the time for MPs to unite behind the candidate who will cut taxes, deliver the real economic change we need, continue to deliver the benefits of Brexit and ensure Putin loses in Ukraine.

"Liz Truss has the experience to deliver from day one, grow our economy and support working families and then beat Labour."

Read more: Tory MP backs Penny Mordaunt for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV show

Rishi Sunak, who remains the frontrunner said he was "incredibly grateful" for the support of Tory MPs
Rishi Sunak, who remains the frontrunner said he was "incredibly grateful" for the support of Tory MPs. Picture: Getty

A supporter of Liz Truss said her campaign had picked "solid momentum" in what had been a "difficult round" for them.

Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke said there was a limited pool of support they could have plausibly won over from the supporters of the candidates eliminated in the first round.

"This is very much on the trajectory we thought. We are attracting broad support from people across the party," he said.

Allies of Tom Tugendhat insisted he would not pull out of the Tory leadership contest despite dropping five votes in the second round.

The focus will now shift to a series of TV debates scheduled over the weekend where the remaining candidates will battle it out head to head.

Labour leader Keir Starmer said he wants a general election and a "fresh start" for Britain amid the Tory leadership contest. He said: "I don't think the answer to the stagnation of the last 12 years is to change the candidate or the leader of the Tory party.

"We need much more fundamental change that, therefore, whoever emerges as the new leader of the Conservative Party is not going to be able to address the fundamental failure of the last 12 years.

"This is like a club that's sinking into relegation, desperately changing the manager. That is not the change that we need. We need to change the Government, a fresh start for Britain, and that is what my Labour Party is able to offer."

Yesterday, both Jeremy Hunt who received 18 votes and Nadhim Zahawi who received 25 votes were knocked out of the contest in the first round.

Read more: Thumbs up for Mordaunt as she vows crackdown on 'evil and barbaric' people smugglers

Mr Hunt has since announced he is backing Rishi Sunak - despite telling LBC on Tuesday that he feared Mr Sunak's economic policy would "lead us into a recession".

A snap poll by YouGov on Wednesday revealed Ms Mordaunt has taken the lead in the Tory leadership race after the previous preferred choice among Conservatives Ben Wallace decided not to stand.

The new survey of 879 Conservative members placed the naval reservist on 27 per cent, almost two times ahead of second place Kemi Badenoch who is currently sitting with 15 per cent.

The data revealed Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are neck and neck both drawing in 13 per cent.

Ms Mordaunt also came out on top against all candidates when they were theoretically pitched head to head, as will happen at the final members' vote.

In the head to heads, Ms Mordaunt's closest competitor is Liz Truss, but poll reveal she would still beat the Foreign Secretary by 55 per cent to 37 per cent.