Tom Tugendhat eliminated from Tory leadership race
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Tory MPs left four leadership hopefuls after voting in the contest’s third round last night, with Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak remaining. Tom Tugendhat’s departure will leave his supporters searching for a new candidate to back for Boris Johnson’s job, with the remaining candidates seeking to claim his 31 votes. While four people remain, pundits feel his votes will drift to two of his rivals.
Where will Tom Tugendhat’s votes go?
Mr Tugendhat was the Tory “fresh start” candidate aiming to provide a pallet-cleanser for Mr Johnson after his three controversial years in office.
While they have championed this less, some of his fellow leadership hopefuls have shared a similar platform.
But his political bunkmates on the Tory liberal side will likely take on his vote share tonight.
According to Politico, Mr Tugendhat’s supporters plan to divide their votes between Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt.
Former Chancellor Mr Sunak remains in pole position after last night after receiving 115 votes.
Ms Mordaunt looms just over 30 votes behind him in second place, with 82 votes, and would benefit most from Mr Tugendhat’s floating supporters.
If they voted tactically, his 31 votes would whittle Mr Sunak’s lead to just two, although it is unclear whether Tories will gather en masse behind her.
Although she lags behind the rest, some votes may drift to Ms Badenoch this evening.
The Times reported this morning that Ms Badenoch’s team is confident she will receive some of those votes, which some onlookers believe would go towards toppling Ms Truss, one of Mr Tugendhat’s rivals.
Behind the scenes allegiances from party voters have historically proven tough to measure, so people will have to wait for tonight to see where the remaining votes go.
MPs will vote again in a matter of hours in an earlier ballot this afternoon.
The fourth round of leadership voting commences from 12pm and will give Tories two hours until 2pm to pick which candidates make it into the final three.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the party’s Parliamentary 1922 Committee, will announce the results by 3pm this afternoon.
The current prediction is that, barring significant movement from Mr Tugendhat’s leftover supporters, Ms Badenoch will leave next.
Despite a slight uptick in the third round, she has received the least support in the race so far.
She gained another nine votes to reach 58 in total last night, placing her firmly in last with 13 fewer than Ms Truss.
If they so desired, Mr Tugendhat’s supporters could temporarily lend Ms Badenoch their votes, allowing her to potentially pip Ms Truss tonight.
Regardless of who leaves the competition, they will play a vital part in deciding the final two.
The two MPs should leave with at least 50 votes, meaning an endorsement could dramatically reshape the playing field before Wednesday’s penultimate vote.
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