Tory leadership race: Liz Truss closes in on top two as Kemi Badenoch eliminated

Liz Truss has moved closer to making into the final two of the Tory leadership contest as Kemi Badenoch became the latest politician to be eliminated from the race.

Ms Truss gained an additional 15 votes in today's vote, moving her closer to second placed Penny Mordaunt who gained 10 votes. With Mr Truss now on 86, she is only six votes behind Ms Mordaunt on 92.

Ms Badenoch gained only one extra additional vote to take her to 59, while Rishi Sunak gained a further three votes to take him to 118.

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Ms Truss's camp hope they will benefit from Ms Badenoch's elimination from the party ahead of tomorrow's deciding vote amongst MPs to select the final two. After the top two candidates have been chosen, Tory members will then vote on their favourite with the winner and new Prime Minister being announced on September 5.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is making up ground in the Tory leadership race.Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is making up ground in the Tory leadership race.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is making up ground in the Tory leadership race.

Ms Mordaunt, who remains in second place with 92 votes after the latest ballot of Tory MPs, said she was “so nearly across the finish line”.

In a statement, the Tory leadership hopeful 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.

She also heaped praise on eliminated rival Ms Badenoch, whose votes will be crucial in deciding which candidates make the final two.

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“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.”

Earlier in the day, YouGov polling of Tory members revealed that Mr Sunak is currently on course to lose whoever he faces in the final run-off.

Should he face Ms Mordaunt, current polling suggests she is 51% to 37% in the lead against him, with Ms Truss holding an even stronger lead of 54% to 35%. In the event of the final two being Ms Mordaunt and Ms Truss, the results show a narrow 48% to 42% margin in favour of Ms Truss.

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A YouGov spokesperson said: "The results continue to be bad news for Rishi Sunak. Although almost certain to make the run-off, Sunak loses against his three potential opponents by wide margins under current figures. While he has made ground against Mordaunt, whom he lost by 67% to 28% in the prior poll, he still has a 14pt deficit against the trade minister.

"Against Truss, he has made little improvement. His own score remains unchanged at 35%, although Truss's vote share has fallen five points from 59% to 54%, with the movement to the "don't know" column.

"Although unlikely to be a problem if she is eliminated today, Sunak's score against Badenoch has actively declined. His 40% in the prior poll has fallen to 34% now, while her previous 49% now stands at 56%."

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