Kemi Badenoch Becomes Latest Candidate To Exit The Tory Leadership Race

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Kemi Badenoch with leadership rivals Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak during the last TV debate. (Photo: Jonathan Hordle/ITV via PA Media)
Kemi Badenoch with leadership rivals Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak during the last TV debate. (Photo: Jonathan Hordle/ITV via PA Media)

Kemi Badenoch with leadership rivals Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak during the last TV debate. (Photo: Jonathan Hordle/ITV via PA Media)

Kemi Badenoch has been knocked out of the race to succeed Boris Johnson as Tory leader and prime minister.

The former frontbencher received the fewest votes of the four remaining candidates in the contest.

Rishi Sunak once again came out on top, with Penny Mordaunt retaining second place and Liz Truss staying in third spot.

Badenoch won the backing of 59 MPs, up just one from the last round.

Truss got 86, up 15 on the third ballot, Mordaunt was up 10 votes to 92, with Sunak up three to 118.

The fifth and final ballot of MPs will take place tomorrow.

The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will go into the final run-off, with the winner being decided by the 200,000 Tory members and announced on September 5.

Sunak’s lead means he is virtually guaranteed to be in the final two, but the race between Mordaunt and Truss to claim the other run-off spot is wide open.

Truss will be confident of scooping up the majority of Badenoch’s right-wing support, although Mordaunt could still pip her to second place.

A spokesperson for Sunak’s campaign said: “Rishi has continued to progress today because he is the candidate with the clearest plan to restore trust, rebuild the economy, reunite the country and because he is best placed to beat Labour at the next election.

“Every poll shows only Rishi can beat Starmer, and is the candidate the public think would make the best PM.

“MPs are also recognizing that Rishi has the best experience and plans to deal with the current economic situation.

“Rishi will rebuild our economy by gripping inflation, so we can get our economy growing and unleash the full opportunities of post-Brexit Britain.”

In a pitch for Badenoch’s endorsement, Mordaunt said: “This afternoon colleagues once again put their trust in me and I cannot thank them enough. We are so nearly across the finish line. I am raring to go and excited to put my case to members across the country and win.

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

“She and I both know that the old way of government isn’t working as it should. Voters want change and we owe it to them to offer a bold new vision for this country. Kemi’s passion for this showed and I’m glad she put herself forward to be heard.”

A spokesperson for Truss also praised Badenoch’s “fantastic campaign”.

“Now is the time for the party to unite behind a candidate who will govern in a Conservative way and who has shown she can deliver time and again,” they said.

“Liz has a bold new economic agenda that will immediately tackle the cost of living crisis, boost economic growth and continue leading the global fight for freedom in Ukraine.”

Truss supporter Alec Shelbrooke told HuffPost UK: “This result shows that Liz has been building solid momentum throughout the campaign and can appeal to all wings of the party.”

“However, we take nothing for granted and will be speaking to colleagues between now and tomorrow’s ballot to secure enough support to take our campaign to the party membership around the country.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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