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Tom Tugendhat Knocked Out Of Tory Leadership Contest As Race Tightens

Tom Tugendhat Knocked Out Of Tory Leadership Contest As Race Tightens


3 min read

Tom Tugendhat has become the latest MP to be knocked out of the race to succeed Boris Johnson, with just four candidates now remaining as the contest enters its final days.

The foreign affairs committee chairman placed last in the third round of voting, which was held on Monday afternoon, eliminating him from the competition. 

The final four candidates – Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch – will face further rounds of voting on Tuesday and Wednesday until just two candidates remain.

The two remaining will then spend several weeks partaking in hustings around the country before the winner, and the next Prime Minister, is chosen in a postal ballot of Conservative party members, and announced on 5 September.

The resuts of the third round:

  • Rishi Sunak - 115
  • Penny Mordaunt - 82
  • Liz Truss - 71
  • Kemi Badenoch - 58
  • Tom Tugendhat - 31 (OUT)

Following the results, Tugendhat released a pre-recorded message in which he said it was "the end of the road" for him, but that he'd had "an amazing run".

"We fought for a clean start because we know that is what the country is crying out for. So now I'm going to be with you of course over the next two years fighting in the council elections, then fighting into the general election," he added.

"Because we need to make sure that our party, the Conservative Party, is able to deliver a clean start for the country for the country."

The battle to replace Johnson heated up over the weekend as the candidates took part in two televised debates on Channel 4 and ITV.

A third debate scheduled for Tuesday evening, however, was cancelled after Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss withdrew amid fears that the “blue-on-blue” attacks that dominated the first two debates are damaging the party.

During debates on Friday and Sunday evenings, Truss and Sunak repeatedly clashed on their plans for the economy, while Badenoch heavily criticised fellow contenders Mordaunt and Tugendhat. 

A spokesperson for the Truss campaign called the Channel 4 debate, held on Friday evening, a “massive mistake” which candidates were “wrong to take part in”.

Team Sunak, meanwhile, suggested they’d be happy to take part in further debates “if we are lucky enough to get to the next stage”.

Polling following the two debates at the weekend was mixed, with Tom Tugendhat doing well in both despite struggling to find support within the party.

Snap polling, conducted by Opinium, taken after the Channel 4 debate put Tugendhat in the lead with 36 per cent thinking he did best, while Sunak came in second at 25 per cent. After the ITV debate, however, Sunak took the lead with 24 per cent thinking he did best, compared to 19 per cent for Tugendhat.

As things stand, Sunak is expected to have enough MPs on board to secure his place in the final two.

Mordaunt's strong early performance, which has largely caught Westminster by surprise, has put Truss under pressure to find the votes she needs as other candidates drop out of the race if she is to leapfrog the Trade Minister into second place.

Truss' campaign received a timely boost on Thursday when she was endorsed by staunch Brexiteer Suella Braverman, who was eliminated from the contest earlier in the day.

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