Tory leadership race latest: Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt eliminated after first ballot as field cut to six

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·41-min read
Tory leadership race latest: Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt eliminated after first ballot as field cut to six
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Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and the former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have crashed out of the Tory leadership race.

The result of the first ballot of Tory MPs in the contest to succeed Boris Johnson was announced at 5pm on Wednesday - with six making it to the second round on Thursday having gained at least 30 votes.

They are: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman.

Earlier the Prime Minister said he would leave office “with his head held high” in a fiery clash with Sir Keir Starmer in the Commons.

Mr Johnson told PMQs that he was not leaving “at a time of my choosing” but that he remained “proud” of his record in Government.

Ms Mordaunt, in making her launch, said she was the candidate that Labour “feared the most”.

She was boosted by a poll suggesting she would win a runoff to become the next Tory leader and prime minister if she makes it to the final two candidates.

The snap YouGov poll of 876 party members, who will decide between the final two candidates to replace Mr Johnson, showed Ms Mordaunt ahead on 27 per cent.

Second place was Ms Badenoch on 15 per cent, followed by Mr Sunak and Ms Truss on 13 per cent.

Good morning

07:08 , Daniel Keane

Good morning and welcome to our live political coverage.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has been speaking to Sky’s Kay Burley, just a day after dropping out of the Tory leadership race.

He has now announced his backing for Rishi Sunak, saying he has a “good plan” for the economy.

“Last week he delivered the biggest tax cut for a generation,” he says, though Ms Burley points out that the tax burden is at a record high.

“We had a pandemic, and the costs were high”, he replies.

Shapps: Rishi is clearly not a socialist

07:12 , Daniel Keane

Mr Shapps says that Mr Sunak “recognises that inflation is the single biggest issue” facing the country and that taxes will be slashed when it is fiscally responsible to do so.

“It’s a question of if there’s tax cuts, it’s a question of when,” he says.

Asked about Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim that Mr Sunak was a “socialist”, he says that the assertion is “clearly not true”.

“I think it’s best we avoid extreme language,” he adds.

Mr Shapps urges Conservative MPs to avoid “trading disparaging comments” during the leadership race.

Shapps: Boris Johnson is a brilliant individual

07:16 , Daniel Keane

Mr Shapps echoes Rishi Sunak’s view that Boris Johnson is a “brilliant individual”.

“The PM is a brilliant individual. He got us through this Brexit nightmare and rolled out the vaccine... but he made mistakes.

“You can be great and flawed, that applies to every one of us.”

He does not flatly deny that Mr Sunak had been organising his campaign prior to the ousting of Mr Johnson last week.

Leadership campaign hasn’t distracted me from strikes, says Shapps

07:19 , Daniel Keane

Grant Shapps is asked about the chaos at rail strikes.

He denies that he has not focused on industrial action on Britain’s railways as he has been running a leadership campaign.

“I don’t believe this is the right time for them to strike... it isn’t justified. We have to modernise our railways.”

Economy grows 0.5% in a month

07:23 , Daniel Keane

The UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in May, rebounding from a 0.2 per cent drop in April, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rise in gross domestic product (GDP) came after a bounce back across all three main sectors of the economy - services, manufacturing and construction.

The ONS also revised GDP data up for April, to a fall of 0.2 per cent from a drop of 0.3 per cent in its previous estimation.

Zahawi hails economic growth

07:28 , Daniel Keane

Reacting to the latest fgures, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi said: "It's always great to see the economy growing but I'm not complacent.

"I know people are concerned, so we are continuing to support families and economic growth.

"We're working alongside the Bank of England to bear down on inflation and I am confident we can create a stronger economy for everyone across the UK."

ONS attributes economic growth to GP visits

07:35 , Daniel Keane

Darren Morgan, director for economic statistics at the ONS, said: "The economy rebounded in May with growth across all main sectors.

"Health was the biggest driver, with many more people seeing GPs, despite test and trace and the vaccination programmes winding down.

"Road hauliers also had a busy month while travel agencies fared well with pent-up demand for summer holidays.

"There was widespread growth across manufacturing after several tough months while construction also fared well with housebuilding and office refurbishment driving growth."

Pictured: Liz Truss heads for Westminster after securing place on leadership ballot

07:44 , Daniel Keane

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Rees-Mogg: Truss is on right side of fiscal argument

07:50 , Daniel Keane

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he is backing Liz Truss as she opposes the “endless tax rises” of the former Chancellor.

“You must have somebody that is fiscally on the right side of the argument.

“She has been very good in leading with the PM on Ukraine and making sure we had a strong response to Russia.”

He denies that Ms Truss had been planning a campaign for a long time.

Rees-Mogg coy on claims of ‘dirty tricks’ against Sunak’s team

07:58 , Daniel Keane

Mr Rees-Mogg says he has “no idea” whether Rishi Sunak’s team has been engaged in “dirty tricks” by lending votes to Jeremy Hunt.

“I don’t want to make any accusations that that’s going on. I have no evidence for it.”

Asked about his comment that Mr Sunak is a socialist, he says: “I think as a Chancellor he made decisions of the left rather than the right. I didn’t support the decisions he made.”

Rees-Mogg: I would never serve in a Sunak cabinet

08:02 , Daniel Keane

Mr Rees-Mogg says that he would never serve in a Government led by Rishi Sunak as a result of his “disloyalty” to Boris Johnson.

“He wouldn’t want me either. I could not support someone who has been so disloyal to the current PM from inside Cabinet.

“Tom Tugendhat and Jeremy Hunt have behaved properly, as they made it clear from outside Cabinet that they wanted Mr Johnson to resign.”

Zahawi says he would offer Cabinet job to Boris Johnson

08:11 , Daniel Keane

Tory leadership contender Nadhim Zahawi has told LBC he would “certainly” offer Boris Johnson a job if he wanted to be part of his cabinet.

I put my country first when I asked PM to resign, says Zahawi

08:18 , Daniel Keane

Nadhim Zahawi has insisted he "put country first" when he publicly urged Boris Johnson to resign just over a day after being appointed Chancellor.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today, he said the number of ministerial resignations convinced him that "we couldn't realistically have a functioning government".

The Stratford-on-Avon MP continued: "I thought the only thing to do was write a letter to him (Mr Johnson) because I had been to see him personally ... and I think he did the right thing.

"I think that's putting country first.

"If you talk to anyone in Government, in the civil service or otherwise, they will tell you that having a chancellor is the most important individual in the stewardship of the economy in a turbulent time.

"Of course, GDP figures are positive, but I'm not complacent because I still think there are headwinds to come."

Zahawi does not rule out scrapping TV licence

08:35 , Daniel Keane

Tory leadership contender Nadhim Zahawi has said he does not rule out scrapping the television licence fee if he becomes the next prime minister.

The Chancellor told LBC: "We have to review how the BBC is funded. We have to look at how it is sustainable in the future. We have to review everything. Nothing is off the table."

After the European Court of Human Rights blocked the departure of the first deportation flight taking asylum seekers to Rwanda, Mr Zahawi said he did not rule out taking the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"Nothing is off the table. What I hope will happen is that the domestic legislation that (Justice Secretary) Dominic Raab is introducing will allow us to deliver the Rwanda policy. It is an important policy to deliver."

Zahawi: Boris Johnson is a friend of mine

08:55 , Daniel Keane

ory leadership contender Nadhim Zahawi would offer Boris Johnson a job in his Cabinet if he became prime minister, he confirmed on Wednesday.

The chancellor described Mr Johnson as a “friend” and “probably the most consequential” prime minister of his generation.

“Boris Johnson is a friend of mine of 30 years. If he wishes to serve in Cabinet then I would certainly offer him a job,” Mr Zahawi told LBC.

“He has been probably the most consequential prime minister of his generation. If you go back to Margaret Thatcher, John Major, then Tony Blair, and of course Gordon Brown and then David Cameron and Theresa May and now Boris Johnson, he has delivered Brexit he got us through [the pandemic].”

Our full piece by Rachael Burford here.

Nadhim Zahawi leadership website leads to... Penny Mordaunt

09:08 , Daniel Keane

Nadhim Zahawi’s campaign appears to be suffering from technical problems - with his website link actually leading to Penny Mordaunt’s leadership video.

As noted by ITV’s Robert Peston, the link for NZ4PM.com actually leads to the homepage for Penny Mordaunt.

Mr Zahawi’s team say that his campaign website is launching tomorrow.

Truss bags two new endorsements

09:16 , Daniel Keane

Liz Truss has bagged two new endorsements from influential Tory MPs Mark Francois and Iain Duncan Smith.

Brexiteer Mr Francois told the Telegraph: “The Foreign Secretary’s tax-cutting agenda is drawing support from right across the Party - from Jacob Rees Mogg through to Vicky Ford.

“She possesses both the experience and leadership ability to unite the Conservative Party in challenging times. I wish her well.”

No magic money tree in my plan, says Zahawi

09:26 , Daniel Keane

Nadhim Zahawi has denied he is relying on the "magic money tree" to fund his pledges to cut tax if he becomes prime minister.

BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Amol Rajan criticised the Tory leadership contender for not revealing how his proposals, estimated to be worth around £36 billion, would be costed.

Mr Zahawi has said he would cut income tax while abolishing VAT and green levies on energy bills, along with the planned corporation tax increase.

In response to Mr Rajan, he said: "I've declared my leadership race for about... it's been two, three days.

"This is a fully costed plan. You will see I demonstrated in every job I've had that I deliver, whether it's vaccines, or the Department of Education.

"I will do the same thing: I will evidence it and you will see it and I will come on your programme and show it to you if I am prime minister."

Watch: Sunak Heads List of Eight Tory Leadership Candidates

09:42 , Daniel Keane

Thatcher ‘the golden ticket’ for Tory hopefuls

09:54 , Daniel Keane

Evoking former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher is a "golden ticket" for those vying to become the next leader of the party, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Speaking about Tory leadership candidates referring to Baroness Thatcher in their campaigns, he told Sky News: "They think she's a golden ticket with the membership.

"I think the memory of Margaret Thatcher is highly regarded within the Conservative Party, and certainly by people like me."

The Brexit opportunities minister also said Rishi Sunak had made decisions more akin to a chancellor from a left-learning party.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: "I think as a chancellor he made decisions which were of the left rather than on the right - he was a tax-increasing chancellor.

"I didn't support the decisions he made; I thought we should have been looking at keeping expenditure under control rather than raising taxes."

Pictured: Protest van urges PM to leave Downing Street

10:08 , Daniel Keane

 (PA)
(PA)

Patel pulls out of Select Committee

10:19 , Daniel Keane

Home Secretary Priti Patel has pulled out of a grilling by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

The Committee confirmed that Ms Patel “declined to attend our session”.

The reasons for why, so far, remain unclear.

Tugendhat takes thinly veiled swipe at Sunak over defence spending

10:30 , Daniel Keane

Tory leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat issued a thinly-veiled swipe at leadership rival Rishi Sunak as he pledged to increase defence spending.

Former Army officer Mr Tugendhat spoke out after Mr Sunak refused to give guarantees about increases in defence funding as a share of national income.

Mr Tugendhat, who has committed to spend 3% of gross domestic product - a measure of the size of the economy - on defence and security said: "We will never put the safety of our country in doubt because of bean counters and spreadsheets.

"Security always comes before spreadsheets."

Asked if he was taking aim at Mr Sunak, he said: "I'm not going to name any names, it's absolutely up to you to look quite hard at where people are talking about different things and see where people are putting their targets."

Pictured: Rishi Sunak leaves for leadership hustings

10:33 , Daniel Keane

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Mordaunt: UK doesn’t need a new role in the world

10:39 , Daniel Keane

Penny Mordaunt has begun a campaign speech at Westminster.

She opens her speech by highlighting the “duty and sacrifice” of those in the British Army who served in the Falklands War.

“We don’t need a new role in the world, we just need to be ourselves,” she says.

 (Sky News)
(Sky News)

British public ‘fed up of divisive politics’, says Mordaunt

10:41 , Daniel Keane

Ms Mordaunt says the British public is “fed up of divisive politics”.

“Whitehall is broken... we need a tighter Cabinet, ministers of state that have clear and timely deliverables that are powerful and reach across Whitehall.”

She pledges to “modernise Government”, and move “at the speed that sience and business needs us to”.

“My key fiscal rule is that debt as a percentage of GDP will fall over time... and my supply side reforms will yield a Brexit dividend.”

Mordaunt: I will address NHS backlog

10:44 , Daniel Keane

Ms Mordaunt promises to address the NHS backlog and the “stagnation” in house-building.

“I want to align Government planning cycles of those in business and the charity sector which are already aligned. This will give us huge opportnities to co-fund and do more for our citizens.”

Tories ‘have stamina’, Mordaunt says

10:46 , Daniel Keane

“My party has been through a lot but we have stamina,” she says, highlighting the stoicism of the British people during the Covid pandemic.

“I can and we will deliver,” she adds.

Mordaunt: I am the candidate Labour fear the most

10:51 , Daniel Keane

“I am the candidate that Labour fear the most,” Ms Mordaunt says.

“I’m one of the best prepared candidatest in this contest. I have served in a huge number of ministerial positions and in the private sector.

“I have thought deeply about where our country is at.”

Mordaunt: I know what a biological woman is

10:57 , Daniel Keane

Asked about whether she will continue the “war on woke”, Ms Mordaunt says she believes the country should be talking about the cost of living crisis.

She references the ongoing debate over her support of trans rights, which has become a significant issue for Tory MPs during the leadership contest.

“Margarat Thatcher once said that every Prime Minister has a w*****. As a woman, I can tell you I do not have one.”

Asked how she would define a woman, she says: “If you have served in the Navy, you understand the biological difference between men and women.”

Braverman: May the best Tory win

11:12 , Daniel Keane

Conservative leadership contender Suella Braverman appeared in a good mood as she arrived at the 92 Group hustings.

"May the best Conservative win," she said as she arrived.

Ms Braverman praised the "great array of talent" and said she was enjoying the contest.

"We will unite behind whoever wins, fairly and squarely."

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Braverman: I am the only authentic Brexiteer running

11:42 , Daniel Keane

Ms Braverman, leaving the 92 Group hustings, said she was the "only authentic Brexiteer" running to replace Boris Johnson.

The Attorney General and her team appeared in a confident mood ahead of the first ballot of the leadership contest.

She said she had received "friendly questions" from the group, which is chaired by Tory MP Bill Wiggin.

"My offering is the most popular among Red Wall voters," she said.

Kemi Badenoch is currently being grilled by the group.

PMQs coming up

11:55 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson has arrived at the House of Commons ahead of today’s PMQs.

He will likely be grilled on Labour’s blocked no confidence vote and whether he should continue in office over the summer.

We’ll have all the latest here.

PMQs kicks off

12:05 , Daniel Keane

PMQs begins with loud heckling of Boris Johnson from two MPs from the Alba party, who are heard shouting about an Indy referendum.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle says he will “not tolerate such behaviour”.

“Shut up and get out!” he says.

He orders Neil Hanvey MP and Kenny MacAskillMP to leave the chamber and they are escorted out of the Commons.

Starmer mocks new Cabinet

12:10 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir Starmer welcomes the new Cabinet following last week’s reshuffle.

“We have a new Northern Ireland minister who once asked if you need a passport to get to Derry, and an education minister who literally gave the middle finger to the public.

“It is truly the country’s loss that they will only be in post for a few weeks.”

Sir Keir asks what Boris Johnson’s opinion is on abolishing non-dom tax status.

He declines to answer the question, instead claiming the Government is protecting the economy.

Johnson calls Sir Keir ‘Captain Crasheroony Snoozefest'

12:13 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir asks whether Mr Johnson agrees with the use of offshore schemes to allow people to pay less tax.

Mr Johnson responds: “I think he is referring to the eight MPs vying to replace me.

“Any one of them will wipe the floor with Captain Crasheroony Snoozefest... in a few weeks time that is exactly what they will do.”

Mr Johnson goes on to say that he believes everybody in parliament pays their fair share of taxes.

Starmer: PM deluded until the bitter end

12:17 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir calls on the Government to explain where they are getting the money for tax cuts.

“They all backed 15 tax rises, now they’re acting as if they’ve just arrived from the moon saying it should never have happened.”

Mr Johnson responds: “All the commitments that I’m listening to are very clear. We will put more police on the street and build 40 new hospitals.”

Sir Keir responds that Mr Johnson is “totally deluded until the bitter end”.

PM: Starmer wouldn’t have come out of lockdown

12:19 , Daniel Keane

Sir Keir highlights how Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has pledged to fund tax cuts by making cuts to the NHS and other public services.

Mr Johnson responds: “This is pitiful stuff from the party that voted against the £39 billion to pay for new nurses and hospitals.

“The reason we’ve got growth now at 0.5 per cent is because we took the tough decisions to come out of lockdown on July 19, which he said was reckless.”

Sir Keir says he will miss Mr Johnson’s “weekly nonsense”.

PM: I will leave with my head held high

12:23 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson says that he is “leaving with my head held high”.

“It’s true that I leave not at a time of my choosing… but I leave with my head held high”.

He claims that Sir Keir has not been as “lethal” as other opposition figures as he “has no plan for the country”.

PM to table confidence motion

12:27 , Daniel Keane

Boris Johnson is combatting Labour's plans to force a no confidence vote by tabling a motion to ask MPs whether they have confidence in the Government.

A Government spokeswoman said: "Labour were given the option to table a straightforward vote of no confidence in the Government in keeping with convention, however they chose not to.

"To remedy this, we are tabling a motion which gives the House the opportunity to decide if it has confidence in the Government.

"The Government will always allow time for appropriate House matters whilst ensuring that it delivers parliamentary business to help improve people's everyday lives."

Blackford: Tory leadership contest is ‘toxic race to the right’

12:33 , Daniel Keane

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, says the Tory leadership candidate has become a “toxic race to the right”.

He says that many of the candidates would make Genghis Khan look like a moderate.

Mr Johnson hits back, saying it will be the last time he will answer a question from Mr Blackford “because he’s going, or I’m going”.

Watch: Boris Johnson tells PMQs: ‘I’ll leave with head held high’

12:39 , Daniel Keane

Hunt positive after leaving hustings

12:47 , Daniel Keane

Away from the Commons, leadership contender Jeremy Hunt appeared positive as he left the 92 Group hustings.

Mr Hunt, who will be among the candidates to face the first ballot of the contest later on Wednesday, said he was asked "good" questions by the right-wing group of Tory MPs.

MPs thrown out of Commons chamber by speaker

12:58 , Josh Salisbury

Two MPs were thrown out of the House of Commons and suspended from the Commons at PMQs.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle named and shamed Alba MPs Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill, who appeared to shout at Boris Johnson about Scottish independence.

Mr Hoyle ordered the Serjeant-at-arms to deal with the two MPs, with Mr Hoyle shouting: “Out now!”

A motion to suspend the two MPs from the business of the Commons was passed after PMQs.

Boris Johnson plans to formally resign on September 6

13:10 , Josh Salisbury

Boris Johnson intends to hand in his resignation as Prime Minister on Septembr 6, No10 has said,

This means that the new leader of the Conservative Party, who will be announced on September 5, would likely take over as Prime Minister the following day.

Government ‘making sure ambulances services prepared’ for heatwave

13:13 , Josh Salisbury

The Government is "making sure that all NHS trusts are prepared" for the heatwave, it has claimed.

Health minister Maria Caulfield is giving a statement in the Commons after an urgent questions about the pressure on ambulance trusts across the country.

She said: "I will be meeting all 11 ambulance trusts over the coming days to make sure that they have the capacity and resilience they need not just to deal with the pressures now, not just to deal with the pressures with the warm weather, but to prepare for the winter pressures that we know will be inevitable and forthcoming."

She said she has set out a heatwave plan for England, published earlier this year, adding: "We are making sure that all NHS trusts are prepared."

Tory leadership hopeful would ‘break up Treasury if elected'

13:19 , Josh Salisbury

Kemi Badenoch, a contender for the Conservative Party leadership, has told journalists she will break up the Treasury if she became prime minister.

According to the Financial Times’s Sebastian Payne, under Ms Badenoch’s plans, economic growth would be run from No10, with a new Office for Economic Growth.

“As Exchequer Secretary I saw first hand the barriers to economic growth - we need to change the way the Treasury works,” she said.

Mordaunt on course to become PM if she makes final ballot - poll

13:29 , Josh Salisbury

Penny Mordaunt is the clear favourite to become the next PM if she makes it onto the final ballot, according to a new YouGov poll.

Under the rules of the contest, the number of candidates will be whittled down by MPs to just two, before being put to a vote by party members.

According to YouGov, Ms Mordaunt - a Trade minister - has a commanding lead over all the other candidates among party members.

Its poll showed that in a choice versus Rishi Sunak, 67 per cent would vote for Ms Mourdant, compared to just 28 per cent for Mr Sunak.

Meanwhile 55 per cent would vote for her in a contest with current Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss.

The survey of more than 800 party members dealt a blow to Rishi Sunak’s campaign, who is currently backed by the most number of MPs, as it found that he would lose to most other candidates in a two-way fight.

It found there was only two candidates Mr Sunak had a poll lead over in a final ballot among Tory party members: Jeremy Hunt and Suella Braverman.

First votes cast for new PM

13:54 , Daniel Keane

The first MPs have voted in the Tory leadership contest, in the first ballot of the race to replace Boris Johnson, with Rishi Sunak the first candidate to cast a ballot.

Tory MPs started queuing just before 1.30pm to vote, queuing in single-file as they waited to enter a Commons committee room.

Mr Sunak, a frontrunner in the contest who is expected to clear the first ballot with ease, smiled and appeared relaxed as he waited in the queue.

Watch: Johnson raises prospect of early exit from No 10

14:08 , Daniel Keane

Two-thirds of votes now cast

14:27 , Daniel Keane

At least two-thirds of Conservative MPs have now voted in the first ballot of the contest to replace Boris Johnson, campaign team observers told the PA news agency.

Suella Braverman voted in the contest after 2pm, after a busy start to proceedings that saw Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove, Ben Wallace, Priti Patel and other senior Tories voting to find a successor to the Prime Minister.

Truss casts ballot

14:42 , Daniel Keane

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, among the contenders to replace Boris Johnson, smiled as she arrived to cast her ballot in the first stage of the contest.

Ms Truss, who dodged the queues as the early rush to vote subsided, said little upon arrival at a Commons committee room.

Around 300 MPs are believed to have voted so far in the contest, campaign observers said.

Breaking: RMT announce fresh strikes

14:53 , Daniel Keane

Workers at rail operators and Network Rail will strike on July 27 in the dispute over pay, jobs and conditions, the RMT union announced.

Steve Baker says ‘every Eurosceptic’s heart is with Suella'

15:12 , Daniel Keane

Steve Baker, a leading supporter of Suella Braverman, said: "As far as I can see every Eurosceptic's heart is with Suella."

But he acknowledged that some Brexiteers had made other "calculations" about who to back.

Explained: Who are the final 8 Tory leadership candidates?

15:30 , Daniel Keane

Voting has closed in first ballot for Tory leader

15:37 , Elly Blake

Former chief whip Sir Gavin Williamson, a supporter of Rishi Sunak, was one of the final MPs to vote.

He turned up at 3.26pm, just four minutes before the polls closed at 3.30pm. Results are due at 5pm.

Penny Mordaunt ‘clear favourite’, according to William Hill

15:48 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt is the “clear favourite” to replace Boris Johnson as the next leader of the Conservative Party, according to William Hill.

The bookmaker has 4/6 odds on the trade minister to win the Tory leadership contest.

Polling suggests Chancellor Rishi Sunak is the second most popular cadndiate, at 10/3, while Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has a 7/2 chance of winning.

William Hill spokesperson, Tony Kenny, said: “After poll results revealed that Penny Mordaunt is the clear favourite among Conservative Party members to replace Boris Johnson, punters have been queuing up to back the Minister of State for Trade.

“Mordaunt is the first candidate to go odds-on in the next Conservative Party leader betting and is now the strong favourite at 4/6, with Rishi Sunak next in the race at 10/3.”

William Hill odds

Next permanent Conservative Leader after Boris Johnson:

Penny Mordaunt - 4/6

Rishi Sunak -10/3

Liz Truss -7/2

Kemi Badenoch -20/1

Tom Tugendhat -28/1

Suella Braverman -100/1

Jeremy Hunt -100/1

Nadhim Zahawi - 200/1

Key dates in the Conservative leadership contest

16:05 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson’s successor will be announced on September 5 with Tory MPs to commence the process of voting for a new leader on Wednesday.

Here is a timetable for the leadership contest.

– Wednesday July 13: First ballot. Any candidate who fails to get at least 30 votes is expected to drop out.

– Thursday July 14: Second ballot. A second ballot will follow on Thursday with further ballots to be held next week until the list of candidates is reduced to a final two – who will then go forward into a postal ballot of party members.

– Friday July 15: First debate. Channel 4 will hold the first televised Tory leadership debate with the remaining candidates at 7pm.

– Sunday July 17: Second debate. ITV will host a TV debate at 7pm.

– Monday July 18: Third debate. Sky News is scheduled to host another debate the following night.

– Friday July 22 onwards: Hustings are to take place around the country over the summer to help party members determine their choice for the new Conservative leader.

– Monday September 5: New Conservative leader announced. The new prime minister will be announced on September 5 when MPs return to Westminster from summer recess.

What’s happening at 5pm?

16:35 , Elly Blake

In less than half an hour, the results of the first ballot for the Tory leadership contest are expected to be announced.

There are eight candidates in the running to replace Boris Johnson as the next leader of the Conservative Party.

These are: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman.

Any candidate who fails to get at least 30 votes is expected to drop out.

We’ll bring you live coverage of the results as soon as we get them.

Tory vice chairman resigns to back Penny Mordaunt

16:48 , Elly Blake

Sir Mike Penning has resigned as a vice chairman of the Conservative Party so he can campaign publicly for Penny Mordaunt, it was revealed on Sky News.

He said: “As vice-chair I was unable to declare who I would want to vote for so I stepped down this afternoon.

“Penny has all the attributes that we’re looking for now, she’s very down to earth, she’s served her country as defence secretary and in the Royal Navy, and particularly in my constituency she will go down very well.”

‘Every vote counts’: 1922 Committee are counting ballot votes ahead of results

16:55 , Elly Blake

Members of the influential 1922 Committee executive have shared a photograph of them with ballot boxes ahead of the results, due at 5pm.

Sir Graham Brady to announce results shortly

17:00 , Elly Blake

Chair of the 1922 Commitee Sir Graham Brady will begin to announce the results of the first ballot of the Tory leadership race shortly.

Eight candidates have put themselves forward to replace Boris Johnson as the next leader of the Conservative Party.

These are: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman.

Any candidate who fails to get at least 30 votes is expected to drop out.

Sir Graham Brady announcing results

17:01 , Elly Blake

Chair of the 1922 Commitee Sir Graham Brady is announcing the results of the first ballot of the Tory leadership race.

We will bring you the results live.

Results announced: Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt get most backers, while Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi eliminated

17:05 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak has topped the ballot, with 88 votes cast in the Chancellor’s favour.

Penny Mordaunt received 67 votes and Liz Truss came in third place with 50.

Two candidates, Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt, have been eliminated from the Tory leadership race after failing to receive the 30 backers required.

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt and Suella Braverman will proceed to the next round.

The results in full:

Rishi Sunak - 88

Liz Truss - 50

Tom Tugendhat - 37

Kemi Badenoch - 40

Penny Mordaunt - 67

Jeremy Hunt - 18

Nadhim Zahawi - 25

Suella Braverman - 32

Second ballot to take place tomorrow

17:10 , Elly Blake

Chair of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady has confirmed a second ballot will take place on Thursday.

Eight candidates have now been whittle down to six after Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt failed to secure the 30 votes needed to proceed to the next round, with the candidates receiving 25 and 18 votes respectively.

The runners and riders still in the contest are Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat.

Tory leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat: ‘I’m delighted'

17:13 , Elly Blake

Senior backbencher Tom Tugendhat, who received 37 votes in the first ballot of the leadership contest, tweeted: “This is a fantastic result.

“I’m delighted to be going through to the next round with the momentum we need to change this country for the better. Our country needs #ACleanStart”

Liz Truss responds to first ballot results

17:16 , Elly Blake

A spokeswoman for Liz Truss said: “Now is the time for colleagues to unite behind the candidate who will cut taxes, deliver the real economic change we need from day one and ensure Putin loses in Ukraine.

“Liz has the experience to deliver the benefits of Brexit from day one, grow our economy and support working families.”

Penny Mordaunt thanks everyone who has supported campaign

17:17 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt has released a video thanking people who have supported her campaign.

“It means a great deal to me,” she said.

Jeremy Hunt warns remaining candidates against ‘smears and attacks’ as he is eliminated

17:21 , Elly Blake

Jeremy Hunt has warned the remaining candidates that “smears and attacks backfire long term” after being eliminated from the first round of the Tory leadership contest.

Mr Hunt will not proceed to the second round of the ballot, which takes place on Thursday, after he secured 18 votes - less than the 30 votes required.

Conceding the results, Mr Hunt tweeted: “I want to thank my incredible team of loyal and talented supporters who put their faith in me. It’s become obvious to me you only get one big shot at this, and I had mine in 2019.

“Nevertheless, it’s clear that our party has an exciting future, with the amazing array of talent on offer in this contest, and I feel confident that we are on track to win back trust.

“A gentle word of advice to the remaining candidates: smears & attacks may bring short term tactical gain but always backfire long term.The nation is watching & they’ve had enough of our drama; be the broad church & unbeatable, election winning machine that our country deserves.”

Jeremy Hunt backer Esther McVey says she will ‘take some time’ before deciding who to vote for in next round

17:26 , Elly Blake

After Jeremy Hunt’s exit from the leadership race, Esther McVey, who was set to become deputy prime minister under the former health secretary should he have been victorious, said the combination of the pair was “clearly not considered the right one”.

“I am extremely grateful to Jeremy for putting so much faith in me, and I have very much enjoyed working with him on his campaign over the last few days,” the former Cabinet member and MP for Tatton said in a statement.

“Clearly the combination of Jeremy and me was not considered the right one, but I very much hope that the Parliamentary Party adopts the spirit of what we were trying to achieve – putting together a programme the party can unite behind to win the next election.

“The remaining candidates all have immense talent and strengths. I will take some time speaking with them all before deciding who to vote for in the remainder of this election process.

“Whoever wins can rely on my loyal support, and I very much hope that will apply to the whole of the Parliamentary Party and the wider Conservative family.

“The only threat to this country comes from Labour and their Lib Dem and SNP soulmates. That is the threat we must all unite to defeat.”

Liz Truss backer Simon Clarke calls for Tory MPs to ‘unite behind Liz’s vision’

17:32 , Elly Blake

A supporter of Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss has called for fellow Tory MPs to unite behind her “vision”.

Ms Truss secured her place in the next round of the contest with 50 votes.

Backing Ms Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, Simon Clarke, told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “I think it’s very important that we unite as much of the party as possible behind Liz’s vision.

“I’m not going to presume how any candidate or their supporters will now respond, but it’s certainly the case that if we want to ensure there is a clear free market vision in the final two to go to the Conservative Party membership, then it is really important that people now look hard at the choice that is in front of them and make sure that we get the right people into that final round.”

Mr Clarke said he was “very pleased” with the result of the vote, which he said showed Ms Truss “is part of a pack of three candidates who’ve really pulled away now from the other contenders”.

Nadhim Zahawi backer Jonathan Gullis: He took a big step forward

17:35 , Elly Blake

Jonathan Gullis, a backer of Nadhim Zahawi who was eliminated from the contest, suggested that other campaigns should consider coalescing around a single standard-bearer for the party’s right wing.

He said: “I think the people who own those campaign teams, whether that be Suella or that be any others, I think we should have a good conversation with each other and figure out – we want to make sure by the end of next week we have two candidates.”

Mr Gullis insisted he was not worried about party unity in the wake of the vote and rejected the suggestion that the result was a career setback for the Chancellor.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a setback.

“At the end of the day he took a big step forward, a brave step forward.

“Many people, including myself, haven’t got the balls to be perfectly frank to put themselves forward. So I respect him massively for having a go at it.”

Suella Braverman thanks Tory MPs for support

17:37 , Elly Blake

Suella Braverman has thanked colleagues for supporting her, as she proceeds to the second round of the Conservative leadership race.

She received 32 votes in the first ballot.

Nadhim Zahawi: My part in the contest has now ended

17:38 , Elly Blake

Nadhim Zahawi has said he is “grateful beyond words” after being eliminated in the first round of the Tory leadership contest.

Mr Zahawi received 25 votes, five short of the 30 backers needed to proceed to the second ballot, which is due to take place on Thursday.

He said he will now “concentrate” on his role as Chancellor and devote his time to tackle the global inflation crisis.

He also said he will not announce his favoured candidate to win now he has left the race.

In a statement, Mr Zahawi said: “Clearly my part in the contest has now ended.

“My priority is my work as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I want to help the lives of hard-working families and devote my time and efforts to tackling the global inflation crisis.

“So with total focus I will concentrate on my key roles as Chancellor and steward of the nation’s finances.

“I couldn’t be more grateful to the amazing team around me, colleagues and volunteers. It’s a privilege and a wonderful feeling to have so many people believe in you, and I’m grateful beyond words.

“I don’t intend to make any further intervention, but I wish all the candidates in the leadership contest the very best of luck!”

Nadhim Zahawi backer Brandon Lewis: I hope contest carried out ‘in constructive spirit'

17:46 , Elly Blake

Brandon Lewis, who was chairing Nadhim Zahawi’s campaign before the Chancellor lost out in the first ballot, said he hopes the “remaining stages of the leadership contest are carried out in a constructive spirit”.

“I am incredibly proud to have chaired Nadhim’s leadership campaign and I must pay tribute to him and the character and decency he has shown throughout,” the former Northern Ireland secretary said in a statement, which did not state who he now intends to support.

“It is my hope that the remaining stages of the leadership contest are carried out in a constructive spirit, in the best interests of our party and the country.

“The British people deserve honourable and effective leadership.”

Tugendhat campaign “quietly confident” of picking up more votes in next round

18:17 , John Dunne

Tom Tugendhat’s campaign team have said they are “quietly confident” of picking up support from backers of both Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi.

They told Sky News he is a “natural fit” given Mr Tugendhat is backed by many ‘one nation’ Conservatives, but also has the support of the chair of Northern Research Group Jake Berry.

Badenoch thanks supporters for getting her through to next round of leadership contest

18:24 , John Dunne

Kemi Badenoch has thanked those voted for her and ensured she progresses to the next stage of Tory Party leadership race.

The former equalities minister, who came fourth securing the backing of 40 MPs in today’s vote, has just tweeted her gratitude for her colleagues’ support.

“To win the next election and deliver Conservative solutions to today’s problems, our party must stand as the party for change,” she says. I have the conviction, the courage, and the clarity of thought to deliver that change.”

Esther McVey calls for unity after Hunt knocked out of election race

18:31 , John Dunne

Esther McVey, who was promised a position of deputy prime minister under Jeremy Hunt, said she hoped that the party could unite as he was knocked out of the tory election race.

She said: “Clearly the combination of Jeremy and me was not considered the right one, but I very much hope that the parliamentary party adopts the spirit of what we were trying to achieve - putting together a programme the party can unite behind to win the next election.”

Mr Hunt left the leadership contest with only 18 votes this afternoon.

‘People underestimate Suella at their peril’ says Steve Baker

19:04 , Elly Blake

Suella Braverman backer Steve Baker has insisted the Attorney General will stay in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, despite only just clearing the minimum number of votes required to continue in the contest.

He said: “We have decided we have not yet begun to fight. People underestimate Suella at their peril.”

Ms Braverman received 32 votes in the ballot on Wednesday evening, just above the minimum requirement of 30.

The result has already prompted calls for the right wing of the party to coalesce around a candidate.

“We are going to battle forwards and we are going to battle forward with a good heart,” Mr Baker told Sky News.

“It is not clear that either Rishi (Sunak) or Liz (Truss) can do it from here.”

He said that among members, Mr Sunak would be a “loser”, adding: “Even Rishi, it is not guaranteed he gets to the last two, and if he does he’ll lose.”

Mr Baker said when it comes to members, the competition is wide open, predicting that Mr Sunak would not win, despite getting around a quarter of votes at the ballot on Wednesday.

‘You’re a great friend’: Tom Tugendhat responds to Zahawi’s elimination

19:46 , Elly Blake

Tory leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat has responded to his rival Nadhim Zahawi being eliminated from the competition.

Mr Zahawi received 25 votes in Wednesday’s ballot, five below the 30 threshold.

Mr Tugendhant praised Mr Zahawi for being a “great man, a great candidate and a great friend”.

“Frontline politics needs you,” he added.

Kemi Badenoch doubles down on criticism of flagship Online Safety Bill

20:21 , Elly Blake

Tory leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch has said the decision to drop the Online Safety Bill from the draft version of government business next week is the “right move”.

Responding to a question for a journalist, Badenoch said: “This would be the right move. The bill is in no fit state to become law.

“If I’m elected Prime Minister I will ensure the bill doesn’t overreach. We should not be legislating for hurt feelings.”

Nadine Dorries claims ‘coup’ brought down Boris Johnson

21:18 , Elly Blake

Nadine Dorries has accused fellow Tory MPs of staging a “coup” against Boris Johnson.

The Culture Secretary has been one of the Prime Minister’s most ardent supporters, sticking by him even as support for his leadership collapsed at Westminster.

Ms Dorries told BBC Panorama: “I was quite stunned that there were people who thought that removing the Prime Minister who won the biggest majority that we’ve had since Margaret Thatcher in less than three years.

“Just the the anti-democratic nature of what they’re doing alone was enough to alarm me.

“And for me it was a coup”.

That’s the end of our live coverage this evening

21:28 , Elly Blake

That’s the end of today’s live coverage of the Conservative leadership contest.

Please join us again tomorrow for more.

Have a good evening!

What happens next?

21:30 , Elly Blake

Six candidates are still in the running to become the next leader of the Conservative Party.

Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat will face a second ballot on Thursday.

It is expected that the contest will be narrowed to two by the end of next week.

After this, around 160,000 Tory members decide which candidate they want to become the next party leader and prime minister.

The result will be announced on September 5.

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