Sunak and Mordaunt lead Conservative leadership race as four remain

Tom Tugendhat was the latest to be eliminated in an increasingly fractious leadership contest.

Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt lead Conservative leadership race as Tom Tugendhat eliminated

Rishi Sunak remains the frontrunner after the third round of the Tory leadership contest, with Penny Mordaunt still in second place amid an increasingly bitter contest.

In the third ballot of the Tory leadership contest on Monday evening, Sunak got 115 votes, Mordaunt 82, Liz Truss 71, Kemi Badenoch 58 and Tom Tugendhat 31.

Attorney General and right-winger Suella Braverman, who was knocked out of the contest last week, had thrown her weight behind Truss.

That endorsement, however, appears to have not been enough to push the Foreign Secretary into second place.

The ballot came after another fraught day of campaigning in the Tory Party leadership contest, despite concerns being expressed publicly about the growing divisions within the party over the contest.

In a sign of the concern about the way the leadership race is being conducted, Sunak and Truss confirmed they did not want to take part in a Sky News debate planned for Tuesday – prompting the broadcaster to cancel the show.

“Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative Party, exposing disagreements and splits within the party,” a Sky statement said.

The leadership contenders – Sunak, Truss, Mordaunt and Badenoch – have already taken part in debates on Channel 4 and ITV which have seen the would-be prime ministers taking primetime pot shots at each other.

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