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Tom Tugendhat eliminated from the Tory leadership race as Rishi remains in lead
18 July 2022, 20:01 | Updated: 18 July 2022, 20:43
Tom Tugendhat has been eliminated from the Tory leadership race after receiving the fewest votes on Monday.
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It narrows the field of candidates to replace Boris Johnson and take the keys to No10 to Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch.
The vote comes after Tory concerns that the contest has become increasingly bitter and divisive after a fiery encounter in a televised debate on Sunday.
Mr Tugendhat, one of Mr Johnson's in the party, took just 31 votes. Ms Badenoch took 58, Ms Truss landed 71 and Ms Mordaunt got 82.
Rishi Sunak remains in the lead with 115 votes, but he fell short at this round of being automatically sent to the final round of two candidates. He will need 120 to do so.
The candidates are being eliminated round-by-round until just two remain, when party members will then choose the winner.
Speaking after the result was announced, Mr Tugendhat: "Although it wasn't to be today, I am immensely proud of the positive vision we put forward for our country.
Michael Gove doesn't rule out PM's return to front line
"Thank you to all those who supported me and believed in #ACleanStart. This is only the beginning!"
It came as MPs debated if they have confidence in Boris Johnson's government. He has pledged to stay until September at the latest, and acknowledged he could go earlier if the leadership race is finished before then.
However, Labour and his opponents have called for him to step down sooner.
Ms Badenoch will now have to see if she can overtake Ms Truss to make it through the next round of Tory MPs' voting.
One of her supporters, Michael Gove, the recently-sacked levelling up secretary, told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr that while he viewed Ms Badenoch as the best candidate, he was willing to work for any Tory in cabinet.
"Whether or not they will, we will see, but I'm not counting on it.
"The key thing here is, I worked with Penny, Rishi is a friend of mine, Tom Tugendhat is a friend of mine, and Liz I've known for years, she was a great junior minister when I worked with her.
"I don't wish anybody ill, I just think Kemi's the best."