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Kemi Badenoch Knocked Out Of Tory Leadership Contest

Kemi Badenoch Knocked Out Of Tory Leadership Contest

Kemi Badenoch has been eliminated from the Tory leadership contest (Alamy)

4 min read

The former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch is the latest leadership hopeful to be knocked out of the race to become Prime Minister.

She finished bottom in this afternoon’s fourth round of voting by Conservative MPs and was eliminated, leaving Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt as the final three in the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

Badenoch rose from relative obscurity during the campaign to be confirmed as a significant force in Tory politics with her pitch to the right of her party.

But she eventually lost the three-way tussle to finish second behind Sunak, the former Chancellor, as he once again topped the ballot of Tories when the result was announced this afternoon.

Now he, foreign secretary Truss and trade minister Mordaunt will face off in the final round of voting on Wednesday afternoon to decide which two will take part in a run-off of party members to decide the next Conservative leader and therefore PM, with the result expected on September 5.

The final results were as follows:

Rishi Sunak - 118

Penny Mordaunt - 92

Liz Truss - 86

Kemi Badenoch - 59 [ELIMINATED]

Following the result Mordaunt released a statement thanking colleagues who “once again put their trust in me” as she remained in second place.

“We are so nearly across the finish line,” she said. “I am raring to go and excited to put my case to members across the country and win.”

Mordaunt added: “I want to pay tribute to my friend Kemi Badenoch who electrified the leadership contest with her fresh thinking and bold policies.”

Today’s vote was all about trying to pick up the votes of 31 MPs who had previously backed Tom Tugendhat, after the chair of the foreign affairs committee was eliminated yesterday.

Those running the Mordaunt campaign were confident she could win many of them round, with a source saying "we're in a good spot" and highlighting the relatively strong ties between the two candidates by virtue of being in the One Nation group together.

"They know Penny. She is not coming at this from scratch. They are in the same caucus," they told PoliticsHome on Tuesday morning ahead of the voting getting underway.

Those who previously backed Tugendhat held discussions with the four remaining candidates before meeting at 1pm to decide on who to back, PoliticsHome understands.

However, an ally of the former soldier said it was very unlikely they would move as one, with the bloc expected to be split between Mordaunt and ex-Chancellor Sunak.

But she was unable to call on the support of one of her most vocal backers, after MP Tobias Ellwood was stripped of the Tory whip this morning.

The chair of the defence committee is on a trip to Eastern Europe and did not return to vote in the motion of confidence in the government last night, leading to him having the party whip suspended and his right to cast a ballot in the contest rescinded.

Meanwhile, Truss received backing from her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba as she deployed a military pitch to try and win over Tugendhat supporters.

Kuleba said the Foreign Secretary's "mettle, inner steel, and clarity of purpose have been indispensable in crafting crucial decisions" after they formed a strong relationship in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Truss also reiterated a campaign pledge to increase defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP by the end of the decade, and promised to recruit more soldiers, sailors and aviators, while buying more ships, submarines, jets and tanks if they are best suited to combat any future threat.

In a statement she said: "We live in an increasingly dangerous world where the threat level is higher than a decade ago, and we need a stronger deterrent to face down those threats and ensure Britain leads on the global stage.

"Ultimately that requires more resources. My number one priority is keeping this country safe and people can trust me to do that.”

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