Conservative leadership race LIVE: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss go through to final two as Penny Mordaunt crashes out

·45 min read
Conservative leadership race LIVE: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss go through to final two as Penny Mordaunt crashes out

Tory leadership rivals Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will go head-to-head in the battle to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader and Prime Minister.

The pair emerged in first and second place in the final ballot of Tory MPs with former favourite Penny Mordaunt crashing out.

In the final ballot, Mr Sunak won 137 votes with Ms Truss on 113 and Ms Mordaunt on 105.

Ms Truss and Mr Sunak now face a ballot of around 160,000 Tory Party members, with the result to be announced on September 5 when MPs return from the summer recess.

It comes after Boris Johnson delivered some words of advice to his successor in his final PMQs on Wednesday.

Speaking to a packed Commons, Mr Johnson said: “Focus on the road ahead, but always remember to check the rear-view mirror.

“And remember above all it’s not Twitter that counts, it’s the people who sent us here.”

Timings for Wednesday

07:19 , Sarah Harvey

Midday: Boris Johnson will stand in the Commons for his last Prime Minister’s Questions

1pm- 3pm: Tory MPs will vote in final round of the Tory leadership contest

4pm: Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers, will announce the final two to go through to a ballot of Conservative members

Mounting cost crisis sees inflation soar to fresh 40-year high

07:35 , Elly Blake

The rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation rose to 9.4 per cent in June from 9.1 per cent in May, the Office for National Statistics has said.

UK inflation has surged to a fresh 40-year high as fuel and energy prices rocketed amid the cost-of-living squeeze.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the ONS, said: “Annual inflation again rose to stand at its highest rate for over 40 years.

“The increase was driven by rising fuel and food prices, these were only slightly offset by falling second-hand car prices.”

Penny Mordaunt offers ‘fresh start’, according to campaign team

07:37 , Elly Blake

Allies of Penny Mordaunt urged Tory MPs to back a “new start” by supporting her because she had not been in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

Ms Mordaunt has been making early-morning calls to supporters of Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch, who have been eliminated from the leadership race, in a last-ditch attempt to gain the support needed to secure a place in the run-off.

A campaign source said: “Today is about continuity versus change for the Conservative Party.

“Penny’s been speaking with colleagues already this morning and so many of Tom and Kemi’s backers are calling out for change.

“As the only one not in Johnson’s cabinet, Penny is the sole MP left in the race who offers a genuine fresh start. Not every candidate would win an election, but time and time again the polls show that Penny is the candidate Labour fear the most.

“MPs have a choice today – the same old or a new start for the Conservative Party.

“Their colleagues, party members, and voters across the country are crying out for something new but only Penny Mordaunt can deliver that.”

Food price rises ‘disaster for poorer households’ says think tank boss

07:43 , Elly Blake

There is “bad news for everyone” in the latest inflation figures, Torsten Bell the chief executive of living standards think tank the Resolution Foundation said.

The ONS said Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 9.4 per cent in June, up from 9.1 per cent in May.

But Mr Bell said food prices were rising faster than that – at 9.8 per cent – which was a “disaster for poorer households”, while soaring petrol prices were hitting wealthier families – fuel costs have increased 42.3 per cent in the last year.

Simon Clarke defends decision to remove Tory whip from Tobias Ellwood

07:44 , Elly Blake

Simon Clarke defended the decision to strip the Tory Party whip from Tobias Ellwood, after he failed to support the Government in the confidence vote on Monday.

Mr Ellwood, a former minister who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, had argued he was unable to travel back from a meeting with the president of Moldova because of “unprecedented disruption”.

Mr Clarke said that Mr Ellwood has made a “very serious mistake”.

“He was in Moldova, rather than Ukraine. He was not on Government work, he is a backbench MP.”

He suggested that Mr Ellwood knew the consequences of missing the vote.

“Look, I’m not a member of whip’s office. What I will say is that there are clear arrangements in place which all MPs understand, which govern the conditions for absence from votes, most especially critical votes like a motion of confidence in the government, which has the potential to trigger a general election,” he told Sky News.

Shadow chancellor: Cost of living crisis leaving families more worried every day

07:49 , Elly Blake

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the inflation figures showed there was a need for more than just “sticking plasters” to fix the economy.

“The cost-of-living crisis is leaving families more worried every day, but all we get from the Tories is chaos, distraction and unfunded fantasy economics,” she said.

“Rising inflation may be pushing family finances to the brink, but the low-wage spiral facing so many in Britain isn’t new.

“It’s the result of a decade of Tory mismanagement of our economy meaning living standards and real wages have failed to grow.”

Tobias Ellwood: Recent weeks a ‘sad chapter' in the history of Conservatives

08:02 , Elly Blake

Tobias Ellwood said that recent weeks have been a “sad chapter” in the history of the Conservatives, warning that the party had “lost our way”.

Mr Ellwood, a former minister who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, lost the party whip after he failed to support the Government in the confidence vote on Monday.

He had argued he was unable to travel back from a meeting with the president of Moldova.

Speaking to Sky News from Odesa, Ukraine, he said: “The nation wants to be impressed and inspired, not demoralised, by what they’re witnessing right now.

“And we need to perhaps exhibit greater decorum, dial the temperature down a bit, showcase the ideas, the vision, focus on those things that are important, that the nation wants to see.

“That’s what will earn us the right to stay in government otherwise, we’re just going to be letting ourselves down and indeed committing ourselves to probably a long spell in opposition.”

Inflation figures show need to ‘act now and not sit on our hands,’ says Mordaunt

08:08 , Elly Blake

Tory leadership hopeful Penny Mordaunt said the latest inflation figures showed the need to “act now and not sit on our hands”.

Ms Mordaunt said: “Today’s news of the latest increase in the annual rate of inflation to 9.4% justifies fully my economic measures of targeted tax cuts which are non-inflationary and help people through this cost-of-living crisis.

“Of the three candidates left in this race I am prepared to take action with timely and targeted fiscal measures that are necessary, non-inflationary and affordable.

“We need to act now, and not sit on our hands by proclaiming we have done enough, during the height of this crisis, and come this autumn, to help people pay their bills.”

Liz Truss ‘stands by commitment to get to net zero by 2050’, says Simon Clarke

08:12 , Elly Blake

Simon Clarke told Times Radio that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, a Tory leadership hopeful, is committed to tackling climate change and backs the net zero target by 2050.

After the UK experienced record-breaking heat levels, the Truss backer was quizzed on her proposal to remove green levies on energy bills

“She does get the seriousness of the climate challenge,” he said.

“Liz is clear she wants to remove the green levy on energy bills for one year as a cost-of-living measure which will save families £150, but she absolutely stands by our commitment in law to get to net zero by 2050.

“And I think the events of recent days only go to reaffirm why is it so important that we do.”

Sadiq Khan: Dominic Raab should become caretaker PM

08:33 , Elly Blake

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said Dominic Raab should become caretaker prime minister so that Boris Johnson can “become Tom Cruise” because he has already “checked out” of the role.

Speaking about the final three potential Tory leaders, Mr Khan told Sky News: “All these candidates are a continuity of Boris Johnson – they supported, defended and enabled him to be Prime Minister for three years, and I think the British public should have a say rather than just those who are members of the Tory party.

“I think Rishi Sunak is the architect of what we have seen over the last two years in relation to our economy; we know Liz Truss is a big ally of Boris Johnson.

“I know less about Penny Mordaunt, but the reality is all three of them have been big supporters, defenders and enablers of Boris Johnson.

“What’s important though is until the new leader is elected, we should have a prime minister doing his job, and I think what Boris Johnson should do is step aside.

“He can have further parties and become Tom Cruise and allow Dominic Raab to become the caretaker prime minister, because we need a full-time prime minister looking after our country rather than somebody who’s checked out.”

Rishi Sunak on ‘ambitious’ energy plan

08:40 , Elly Blake

The UK should be self-sufficient in energy production by 2045, Rishi Sunak said in the latest policy announcement of his leadership campaign.

But the former chancellor said he would scrap a plan to relax the ban on new onshore wind farms in England, instead focusing on offshore turbines.

Under his plan a new “energy sovereignty” target for 2045 would be written in to law.

An energy security committee would co-ordinate action to keep power stations online, protect gas reserves and reform markets to cut consumers’ bills.

A dedicated energy ministry would be formed by breaking up the current Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Mr Sunak said: “As energy bills skyrocket in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it has never been more important that our country achieves energy sovereignty, so that we’re no longer reliant on the volatility of the global energy supply.

“That’s why as Prime Minister I would introduce an ambitious new plan to make the UK energy independent, investing in vital new technologies. “

Sadiq Khan accuses Tory hopefuls of not prioritising climate change

08:41 , Elly Blake

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he is “angry” that the Tory leadership candidates are not prioritising tackling climate change despite the heatwave demonstrating the consequences.

He told Sky News: “One of the things that really makes me angry is that, what we’ve seen in the last few days, this extreme weather, this heatwave.

“At the same time there’s a leadership contest to choose the next prime minister, and no-one’s talking about the elephant in the room, which is climate change causing the heatwave where temperatures are exceeding 40C.

“We’ve got a situation where we have heatwaves every two or three years rather than every 10 or 15 years.

“What we should be doing is dealing with the consequences of climate change and air quality, but also dealing with the causes as well.

“What we’re doing in London is dealing with the causes of climate change and air quality by having policies that reduce carbon emissions, reduce particulate matter – like the Ultra Low Emission Zone – planting record numbers of trees, having water fountains across our cities, air-conditioned new trains, but what we need is support from the Government as well, because we can’t do it alone.”

Do not have BBQs today, pleads Sadiq Khan

08:42 , Elly Blake

Londoners have been urged not to have barbecues on Wednesday despite temperatures dropping, because the grass is still dry and will allow fire to spread rapidly if it catches alight.

The capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, told Sky News: “These are exceptional times and, because of the ease with which grass is catching fire and the speed at which it spreads, we are advising people not to have barbecues – not to have barbecues on your balcony, parks, or in your private garden for today.

“None of us wants to be a party pooper, but how would you feel if you had a barbecue in your back garden, and some of the grass, which is like hay, caught fire and it spread, damaged your property and spread to your neighbours?

“Our firefighters are working incredibly hard, they were the heroes yesterday, and they need some respite as well.

“A very simple thing we can do is just another day without a barbecue, and please also, if you’re near water, don’t be tempted to jump in, whether it’s the Thames, whether it’s a canal, or whether it’s other forms of water.”

It comes after more than 40 properties were destroyed and 16 firefighters injured as fires swept across London amid extreme 40C heat on Tuesday.

Read the full story here.

Simon Clarke talks about inflation as it hits 40-year high

08:57 , Elly Blake

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said people should trust the Government when it says a real-world pay cut is necessary to curb inflation.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme whether the public should trust Government ministers who appear to flip-flop on tax rises and tax cuts, he said: “Yes.

“However you slice it, inflation is inflation, and there is no issue that you can address better than inflation than through the mechanism of wider discipline.”

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt set out their pitch for Tory leadership

09:04 , Elly Blake

The remaining three Tory leadership candidates will be whittled to two on Wednesday as the race for No 10 heats up.

The top two will then face a ballot of Conservative party members, with the winner announced on September 5.

Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt have set out their stall for the leadership.

(PA)
(PA)

Read more here.

In Liz we Truss: Simon Clarke on why he’s backing the foreign sec for PM

09:14 , Elly Blake

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke was asked on LBC why he is backing Liz Truss for leader and not his former boss, Rishi Sunak.

He said he is supporting the Foreign Secretary for “positive” reasons.

“I think she has the most exciting plan for economic growth and she set out a compelling plan to lower the burden of taxation.”

“I have very high regard for Rishi Sunak,” he insisted.

“I am here to make the case for what I think is the right future step in terms of where we go from here and that is for a Government led by Liz Truss.”

Which Conservative MPs are backing the remaining candidates?

09:22 , Elly Blake

As the race to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party picks up steam, many Tory MPs have publicly revealed who has their backing.

On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, Kemi Badenoch was eliminated from the race, leaving just three candidates in the running for the role.

The votes will continue over the summer with the result being announced on September 5, 2022.

MPs are understood to have shown their backing where they have declared as much on social media, been quoted in the press or confirmed their intentions directly with PA.

Here are the supporters for each of the candidates.

Cost of ingredients and energy bills driving up food prices, according to trade body

09:23 , Elly Blake

The cost of ingredients and energy bills are driving up food prices, the industry’s trade body said.

Chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation Karen Betts said: “It’s very concerning to see food price inflation hit 9.8 per cent in today’s ONS figures.

“Food and drink companies are doing everything they can to contain inflation and to limit price rises for hard-pressed households, but the situation is undoubtedly very challenging, with the cost of ingredients and energy still rising and labour shortages biting.”

She called for “bold new policies” from the new prime minister to boost productivity and competitiveness.

Liz Truss backed to overtake Penny Mordaunt to make final two in Tory leadership contest, according to bookmakers

09:29 , Elly Blake

Liz Truss is odds-on at 2/9 to overtake Penny Mordaunt to make final two in Tory leadership contest on Wednesday, according to the bookmakers Betfair Exchange.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak, who leads the way with 118 votes in the previous ballot, is almost guaranteed to be in the final two at 1/100.

Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom said: “Ahead of the final Tory leadership ballot on Wednesday, punters on Betfair Exchange are backing Liz Truss (86) to surpass Penny Mordaunt (92).

"Truss is 2/9 to make the final two, while Mordaunt is 7/2. Support continues to grow for Truss, who has been backed into Evens from 6/5 overnight to be the next Tory leader, with Rishi Sunak trailing behind at 13/8.”

Robert Jenrick: ‘Rishi is in favour of a sensible and credible plan to net zero'

09:38 , Elly Blake

Tory MP for Newark, Robert Jenrick, has defended leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak’s green credentials, describing him as “in favour of a sensible and credible plan to net zero”.

This comes after Mr Sunak warned that if progress on the green agenda is “too hard and too fast” it would lose public support.

Mr Jenrick, a former housing minister who is supporting Mr Sunak’s leadership bid, told Sky News: “What he has said is that this is a big and expensive and logistically difficult journey for the country, and we’ve got to make sure we keep the public with us on that path.

“When we’re thinking of new pledges – whether that’s the introduction of electric vehicles, or mandating that homes have to have ground-source heat pumps – we’ve got to think about the pound in people’s pocket, so that these are affordable and sensible steps that people can get behind.

“Because if the public lose faith in this, then we’re only going to set back our path to net zero.

“So I think that Rishi is in favour of a sensible and credible plan to net zero, building on the good work that he did as Chancellor.”

When will the winner be announced?

10:10 , Elly Blake

The final two candidates in the Tory leadership contest will be chosen at 4pm.

Following this, hustings for members of the party will then be held around the country. They will start on July 22.

Ahead of the winner to be announced on Monday, September 5, a postal ballot will be completed by around 160,000 Conservative party members.

There will also be a televised debate between the final two candidates on Monday, July 25.

Pressure on next prime minister to act on rising inflation

10:17 , Elly Blake

The next prime minister needs to “get their house in order” and focus on tackling inflation, a business group said as the cost of living crisis deepened.

With a new prime minister set to replace Boris Johnson in September, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said it was vital for the Government to demonstrate that “despite political upheaval” it can still manage the economy.

Opponents of Mr Johnson claimed he was leading a “zombie government” at a time of national crisis.

The Tory leadership race will continue throughout the summer, with the Prime Minister remaining in office until his successor is elected.

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi insisted “we are working alongside the Bank of England to bear down on inflation” and acknowledged the difficulties being caused by rising prices.

Official data showed that Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rose to 9.4 per cent in June, up from 9.1 per cent in May and remaining at the highest level since February 1982.

Kemi Badenoch: ‘I’m not declaring who I’m backing’

10:21 , Elly Blake

Kemi Badenoch, who was eliminated from the Conservative leadership race on Tuesday, said she is “not declaring” who she will be backing.

She told broadcasters: “I’m not declaring. I’m absolutely not declaring who I’m backing. I know who I’ll be voting for.

“But I think the right thing for me to do now is to make sure whoever wins in the end is supported fully, and so I won’t be declaring.”

She added that she was “disappointed” by the result, after gaining the fewest votes in yesterday’s ballot, “but mainly for all the people who backed me.”

“I was happy to finally get a chance to have my say.”

Kemi Badenoch (PA Wire)
Kemi Badenoch (PA Wire)

PMQs to start in just under half an hour

11:33 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson will face his final session of Prime Minister’s Questions in just under half an hour.

Pictured: Boris Johnson leaves No 10 for PMQs

11:46 , Elly Blake

 (PA)
(PA)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Boris Johnson starting his final PMQs

12:04 , Elly Blake

The prime minister is starting his final PMQs, going head-to-head against Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer for the last time.

Boris Johnson arrived in the House of Commons chamber to a short burst of cheers from the Tory benches.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle paid tribute to the PM and how he led the House during the pandemic.

“I would like to wish him and his family all the best for the future,” he said.

Boris Johnson praises ‘heroic’ firefighters

12:05 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson has praised the “heroic” firefighters and frontline workers who have responded to the extreme heat in recent days.

Addressing the fact it was his last PMQs, Mr Johnson said it was “certainly” his final time at the despatch box.

PM asked how he will restore trust in politics in final days

12:07 , Elly Blake

Kim Leadbeater has asked Boris Johnson how he will work to restore trust in politics in the final days of his post as PM.

He responded that he would be using the next few weeks to drive forward with delivering the Conservative Party’s agenda.

Sir Keir Starmer wishes PM ‘best for the future’

12:10 , Elly Blake

Sir Keir Starmer started his questioning by saying that traditionally the relationship between the leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister is “never easy”, adding that theirs was no exception to the rule.

However, the Labour leader said that he wished Boris Johnson, his wife and his family the best for the future.

He said: “I start by saying to the Prime Minister, that I do know that the relationship between the prime minister and leader of the opposition is never easy.

“This one’s proved no exception to the rule. But I would like to take this opportunity to wish him, his wife and his family the best for the future.”

He also praised “courageous” firefighters for battling wildfires in extreme temperatures.

Sir Keir Starmer: Tory leader candidates pulled out of TV debate because they realised it was a ‘disaster’

12:18 , Elly Blake

The Labour leader has accused Tory leadership candidates from pulling out of the third TV debate because they realised it was a “disaster”.

He asked Boris Johnson if he agreed with Rishi Sunak that the other contenders’ tax plans are “fantasy economics”.

Boris Johnson defends his record

12:20 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson has defended his record saying “we got the country through Covid” and has “led the world on the international stage” during the Ukraine invasion.

He thanked his colleagues for the work he has achieved during his premiership.

Starmer ‘a pointless plastic bollard’, says Boris Johnson

12:21 , Elly Blake

Sir Keir Starmer attacked the PM and the candidates vying to replace him over Covid loan fraud and the cost of living crisis.

Mr Johnson retorted that no one can name “a single Labour policy”.

“He’s a pointless plastic bollard you find on the side of the motorway,” Mr Johnson added.

PM not following Tory leadership race ‘particularly closely'

12:22 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson claimed he has not been following the Tory leadership contest closely, as he faced questions about the candidates pulling out of a televised debate.

He said: “I am not following this thing particularly closely, but my impression is that there has been quite a lot of debate already and I think the public are having an ample opportunity to view the talent.”

Mr Johnson added that any of the candidates would “wipe the floor” with Sir Keir, likening them to “some household detergent”.

SNP leader Ian Blackford: PM has driven support for Scottish independence to new heights

12:25 , Elly Blake

SNP leader Ian Blackford has started his questioning by going through Boris Johnson’s record in office.He said: “I would like to thank the Prime Minister for driving support for (Scottish) independence to new heights.”

In a scathing attack, Mr Blackford added: “As well as a record-breaker, he is also a rule-breaker.”

“This is how the people of Scotland will remember this Prime Minister”, he added, before saying: “Downing Street is no place for a law breaker”.

Mr Johnson responded by saying: “I hope he will reflect on his long-running campaign to break up the greatest country in the world”.

He added that this campaign for Scottish independence was “pointless”.

Sir Ed Davey calls for a general election

12:27 , Elly Blake

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has called for a general election, saying that if the Tory leader hopefuls wanted a fresh start they would seek a new mandate from the British people.

Mr Johnson responded that if a general election were to be called, the Liberal Democrats would get “thrashed”.

“The only risk is there could be a crackpot coalition” between Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP, adding the Conservative Party “must prevent” this.

Boris Johnson: What London needs is another Conservative mayor

12:28 , Elly Blake

Kensington MP Felicity Buchan asked the PM about Sadiq Khan’s record as London Mayor.

She said Mr Khan is cutting officers and selling off police stations.

“London once had a mayor who cut crime and built twice as many affordable homes as the current mayor, she said.

The prime minister responded by telling MPs, “what London needs is another Conservative mayor” to cheers from the Tory backbenches.

PM and Sir Keir Starmer clash over economic strategy

12:30 , Elly Blake

Sir Keir Starmer said: “Every Labour pledge made under my leadership is fully costed. Those vying to replace him have racked up £330 billion of unfunded spending commitments.”

He added: “What about his Foreign Secretary, she was withering about the Government’s economic record. She said, again her words, here they are ‘if Rishi has got this great plan for growth, why haven’t we seen it in the last two-and-a-half years at the Treasury?’ That’s a fair question isn’t it Prime Minister?”

Boris Johnson replied: “What you saw in the last two-and-a-half years was, because of the pandemic, the biggest fall in output for 300 years which this Government dealt with and coped with magnificently by distributing vaccines faster than any other European Government, faster than any other major economy which would not have been possible if we had listened to him.”

“That is why we have the fiscal firepower that is necessary to help families up and down the country, making tax cuts for virtually everybody paying national insurance contributions.”

Watch: Sir Lindsay Hoyle wishes Boris Johnson luck on his final PMQs

12:36 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson has urged people to not use BBQs on dry grass

12:38 , Elly Blake

Conservative MP Caroline Nokes has called on Boris Johnson to ban disposable barbecues and Chinese floating lanterns in a bid to cut down on fires after a number of blazes raged yesterday during the record heat.

Boris Johnson said “the key thing is for people to behave responsibly first with the use of these things”.

He added: “It’s clearly insane to take a disposable BBQ onto dry grass.”

Mr Johnson has previously been accused of “clocking off”as Prime Minister after he did not attend Cobra meetings about the heatwave.

PM and Labour leader clash over inflation after it reached 40-year high

12:39 , Elly Blake

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Inflation is up again this morning and millions are struggling with a cost of living crisis, and he’s decided to come down from his gold wallpapered bunker for one last time to tell us that everything’s fine, I am going to miss the delusion.

He added: “She (Liz Truss) also said the former chancellor’s 15 tax rises are leading the country into recession and (Penny Mordaunt) was even more scathing. She said, again her words, ‘our public services are in a desperate state, we can’t continue with what we’ve been doing because it clearly isn’t working’. Has the Prime Minister told her who’s been running our public services for the last 12 years?

Boris Johnson replied: “This is the Government that is investing £650 billion in infrastructure, in skills, in technology… What really matters to the people of this country right now is getting their appointments, get their operations, fixing the Covid backlogs, that’s what we’re doing.

“Fixing the ambulances, that is what he should be talking about, that’s why we voted through, that’s why we passed the £39 billion health and care levy which they opposed… Every time something needs to be done, they try to oppose it, he’s a great pointless human bollard, that’s what he is.”

PM challenged on ‘levelling up’ agenda

12:42 , Elly Blake

Conservative MP Jake Berry said the prime minister can “rightfully reflect this summer” on the government’s work on levelling up and tackling inequality.

He appealed to the Tory candidates to continue to work on investment in the north.

Boris Johnson said there is “inequality of opportunity” which levelling up hopes to tackle.

Sir Tony Lloyd, the Labour MP, said very few people in the north believe that the levelling up agenda has achieved anything, calling it “a shambles”.

Johnson says the government has introduced projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail which “no other government has done”.

Sir Edward Leigh thanks PM for his service

12:48 , Elly Blake

Sir Edward Leigh has said: “On behalf on the House, may I thank the PM for his three years of record service”.

Thanking Mr Johnson, he referred to the vaccine rollout and getting Brexit, as well as the UK’s response to the Ukraine invasion.

“For true grit and determination, keep going and thank you,” he said.

Focus on the road ahead: Boris’ advice to successor during final PMQs

12:50 , Elly Blake

Mr Johnson closed PMQs by saying he wanted to “give words of advice” to his successor.

“Focus on the road ahead but remember to check the rear-view mirror,” he said.

He finished by saying, “hasta la vista, baby” before a standing ovation from the Tory benches.

Boris: to new PM: ‘Stay close to Americans, cut taxes’

13:06 , Miriam Burrell

In his final words of advice to the next prime minister, Boris Johnson said: “Number one: Stay close to the Americans, stick up for the Ukrainians, stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere.

“Cut taxes and deregulate wherever you can to make this the greatest place to live and invest, which it is.

“I love the Treasury but remember that if we’d always listened to the Treasury we wouldn’t have built the M25 or the Channel Tunnel.”

Boris says being PM ‘greatest privilege of my life’

13:12 , Miriam Burrell

Boris Johnson told MPs that his time as prime minister had been the greatest privilege.

He said “the last few years have been the greatest privilege of my life and it’s true that I helped to get the biggest Tory majority for 40 years and a huge realignment in UK politics”.

Finishing his speech at the despatch box, Mr Johnson said: “Mission largely accomplished for now.”

His speech prompted sustained clapping, cheers and a standing ovation from many MPs as he departed the Commons chamber.

SNP MPs call for second Scottish independence referendum

13:18 , Miriam Burrell

Several SNP MPs called for a second referendum on Scottish independence during Boris Johnson’s final Prime Minister’s Questions.

They included Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan and SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald.

The Prime Minister replied that Scotland was protected by the “massive fiscal firepower” of the UK Treasury.

“This is the country that secured furlough, that delivered the vaccine across the whole of the UK, while the SNP gets on with overtaxing to the tune £900 million – that is what they are overtaxing in Scotland – and we had a referendum in 2014.”

Pictured: Standing ovation for Boris Johnson

13:24 , Miriam Burrell

 (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)
(PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

Final round of voting opens in leadership contest

13:45 , Miriam Burrell

The final round of voting has begun among Tory MPs to decide who the remaining two leadership candidates will be.

Ballot boxes are open until 3pm, with the final contenders to be revealed at around 4pm.

Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss are fighting for the two places.

Watch: Boris signs off as PM

13:53 , Miriam Burrell

No 10 clarifies Boris Johnson’s remark about Twitter

14:02 , Elly Blake

Boris Johnson does not blame Twitter for the collapse of his premiership, his press secretary said.

Giving advice to his successor at PMQs, Mr Johnson said: “Focus on the road ahead, but always remember to check the rear-view mirror, and remember above all it’s not Twitter that counts.”

Asked about his remarks on checking the rear-view mirror, his press secretary said: “I’ll let his words speak for themselves.”

Pressed on whether he blames Twitter for his downfall, she said: “No, I think the point he was making there was every member of Parliament is here to serve the public, and that is what they should be focused on.”

Things are heating up ahead of crunch vote at 4pm

14:15 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said “we won’t have long to wait” when asked if she was optimistic about her chances as she voted in the final round of the leadership contest’s Westminster stage.

The race between Ms Mordaunt and Liz Truss for a place on the ballot paper appears to be tight.

A supporter of Kemi Badenoch, who was eliminated in the last round, said they expected her backers to split between Ms Truss and Rishi Sunak.

The MP said they were voting for Ms Truss “to have two grown-ups in the final round”.

In full: Boris’ final words at PMQs

14:20 , Elly Blake

“I want to use the last few seconds to give some words of advice to my successor whoever he or she may be.

“Stay close to the Americans, stick up for the Ukrainians, stick up for freedom and democracy everywhere.

“Cut taxes and deregulate wherever you can to make this the greatest place to live and invest. I love the Treasury, but remember, if we’d always listened to the Treasury we wouldn’t have built the M25 or the Channel Tunnel.

“Focus on the road ahead but always remember to check the rear view mirror. And remember above all, it’s not Twitter that counts. It’s the people that sent us here.

“The last few years have been the greatest privilege of my life and it’s true that I helped to get the biggest Tory majority for 40 years and a huge realignment in UK politics.

“We’ve transformed our democracy and restored our national independence. I’ve helped to get this country through the pandemic and helped save another country from barbarism.

“And frankly that’s enough to be going on with. Mission largely accomplished for now.

I want to thank you Mr Speaker, I want to thank all the wonderful staff at the House of Commons, I want to thank all my friends and colleagues, I want to thank my right honourable friend opposite, Mr Speaker and, I want to thank everybody here and...

“Hasta la vista, baby.”

Tobias Ellwood has Conservative whip temporarily restored

14:38 , Elly Blake

The decision to temporarily restore the Conservative whip to Tobias Ellwood was to ensure the neutrality of the Whips Office “can not be questioned”, a spokesperson said.

A Whips Office spokesperson said: “From the start of the leadership contest the Whips Office took a neutral position.

“After Tobias Ellwood MP failed to attend an important vote he had the Conservative Party whip suspended.

“To ensure that the Whips Office neutrality in the leadership contest can not be questioned, the Whip has been temporarily unsuspended from Tobias Ellwood MP.

“Upon the conclusion of today’s leadership contest, Tobias Ellwood MP will have the whip suspended.”

Voting has ended in final secret ballot

15:01 , Elly Blake

Voting has ended in the final secret ballot of Conservative MPs to decide who they would like to be the next leader of the party.

The result will be announced at 4pm, when the final two candidates will be revealed.

Tory MPs cast final votes in bitter battle for No 10

15:31 , Elly Blake

Tory MPs have cast their final votes in a bitter leadership contest that has seen Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt battle it out to face Rishi Sunak in a run-off to be the next prime minister.

All that is left of the Westminster stage of the race to replace Boris Johnson is for Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers, to read out the results before the final two face their next electorate: the Tory membership.

Mr Sunak, the former chancellor, appears certain to achieve the votes required from colleagues in the Commons to guarantee his name will be on the ballot that goes to party members over the summer.

But Foreign Secretary Ms Truss and trade minister Ms Mordaunt are scrambling to secure votes in the contest for the second spot on the ballot on another significant day in Westminster, as Mr Johnson rounded off his final Prime Minister’s Questions by hailing the successes of his time in office.

Members of the 1922 Committee tease results

15:46 , Elly Blake

Members of the 1922 Committee have teased the results of the secret ballot ahead of them being announced at 4pm.

Results to be announced shortly

16:00 , Elly Blake

The chair of the 1922 Committee will announce the result of the final secret ballot shortly.

Breaking: Penny Mordaunt eliminated from the Tory leadership race

16:02 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt has been knocked out of the Conservative leadership contest after receiving the fewest votes from Tory MPs.

She had pitched herself as a "fresh start" and break with the previous premiership.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will now go head-to-head as the final two candidates in the race.

Around 160,000 Conservative Party members will now vote in a postal ballot on their next leader and the next Prime Minister, with the result announced on September 5.

Votes in full

Penny Mordaunt - 105

Rishi Sunak - 137

Liz Truss - 113

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss make final two

16:03 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will fight it out to become the next Prime Minister after Penny Mordaunt was narrowly eliminated from the race on Wednesday.

The former Chancellor received 137 votes from Tory MPs to be their next leader, while the Foreign Secretary was endorsed by 113 colleagues.

Ms Mordaunt was knocked out with 105 backers.

Focus now shifts to next Monday when BBC One will host a live TV debate with the final two candidates, at 9pm, presented by Sophie Raworth.

The pair have to woo some 200,000 Conservative party members who will vote for their favourite to become PM.

Ballots are being sent out to the membership who have until September 2 to vote.

Penny Mordaunt: We go forward together

16:04 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt has tweeted after being knocked out of the race.

Keeping it short, she said: “Thanks to everyone for all your hard work. We go forward together.”

In Liz we Truss: I’m ready to hit the ground from day one

16:06 , Elly Blake

Liz Truss has thanked Conservative MPs for “putting your trust in me” after making it into the final two candidates in the Tory leadership race.

Following the results, which saw her receive 113 votes in the final secret ballot, she added: I’m ready to hit the ground from day one. #LizforLeader”.

She will now face Rishi Sunak before the Conservative Party members who will vote for their next leader and PM, with the result to be announced on September 5.

Mordaunt says politics can be ‘divisive’ as she congratulates final two candidates

16:16 , Elly Blake

In a statement after her elimination from the contest Penny Mordaunt congratulated Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

“I pay tribute to anyone who puts themselves forward for such a demanding role,” she said.

“Politics isn’t easy. It can be a divisive and difficult place. We must all now work together to unify our party and focus on the job that needs to be done.

“I am a One Nation, proud Brexiteer. My campaign put forward a positive vision for the country I love so much, remembering who we are here to serve.

“Our mission is not only to deliver on what we promised but to win the fight against Labour at the next general election. I hope to play my part in both.”

Race frontrunner Sunak has ‘clear mandate’, says his campaign team

16:16 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak’s campaign said he had secured a “clear mandate” from Tory MPs and will now “work night and day” to win the backing of the Conservative membership after he made it onto the final ballot for the leadership contest.

A statement read: “This is a really strong result with a clear mandate from MPs.

“He will now work night and day to get the mandate from the wider Conservative party family to beat Labour, protect the Union and seize the opportunities of Brexit.

“The choice for members is very simple: who is the best person to beat Labour at the next election? The evidence shows that’s Rishi.”

Michael Fabricant backs Liz Truss

16:18 , Elly Blake

Tory MP Michael Fabricant said he was sad Penny Mordaunt had not made onto the final Tory leadership ballot, and announced he was now backing Liz Truss.

He tweeted: “It was close. I’m sad Penny didn’t make it.

“I now back Liz Truss. She stayed loyal to the end and didn’t plot and scheme against #Boris.”

Labour reacts to results

16:19 , Elly Blake

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting tweeted: “Our next prime minister will be someone who propped up Johnson, voted for every one of his 15 tax rises, and parroted his lies.

“After 12 years of Conservative failure they expect to more time to fail. Their time is up. Only Labour offers the fresh start that Britain needs.”

Penny Mordaunt pictured after hearing news she was eliminated

16:21 , Elly Blake

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Liz Truss says she is ‘incredibly proud’ after making it into final two

16:22 , Elly Blake

Liz Truss embraced the opportunity to travel around the UK to sell her vision for tax cuts and growth to Tory members who will pick the next prime minister.

In a statement, the Foreign Secretary said: “I would like to thank each and every one of my colleagues who have supported me throughout this stage of this contest.

“I would also like to pay tribute to every candidate who stood for the leadership. Each of them has contributed enormously to the Conservative Party and to public life.

“I am excited to now take to the country to make the case to the Conservative Party about my bold new economic plan that will cut taxes, grow our economy and unleash the potential of everyone in our United Kingdom.

“As Prime Minister I would hit the ground running from day one, unite the Party and govern in line with Conservative values.

“I am incredibly proud to be a part of the Conservative and Unionist Party and am excited to spend the next few weeks proving to all of our brilliant members exactly why I am the right person to lead it, and our great nation.”

Liz Truss ‘can’t get enough of hustings'

16:34 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss was cheered by supporters after making it into the Tory leadership contest run-off.

The Foreign Secretary posed for photographs in Westminster with backers, including Attorney General Suella Braverman, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey.

When someone said it meant more hustings for Ms Truss, she quipped: “I can’t get enough of hustings.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Watch: Rishi vows to work ‘night and day’

16:40 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak is promising to work “night and day” and told the public “I won’t let you down” in a video following the vote.

He claimed to be the only Tory candidate who can beat Keir Starmer at the next general election.

Winner appointed PM on Sept 6

16:46 , Miriam Burrell

Either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss will be appointed prime minister on September 6.

Take a look at the timeline for the next few months.

 (PA)
(PA)

Dominic Cummings calls Truss ‘truly useless'

16:50 , Miriam Burrell

The prime minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings has slammed Liz Truss in a Tweet following the voting results.

He called her a “a truly useless Remainer”.

Labour’s Angela Rayner: Contest ‘scarily embarrassing'

17:06 , Miriam Burrell

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the leadership contest is “so scarily embarrassing”.

She points out that both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss pulled out of the Sky News televised leaders debate earlier this week.

Pictured: Liz Truss with supporters

17:12 , Miriam Burrell

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

Watch: Liz Truss ‘not complacent at all’

17:24 , Miriam Burrell

Leadership contestant Liz Truss said she is not “complacent at all”.

She told broadcasters: “ I can win against Keir Starmer in 2024, that’s my message to our members.”

Truss, Sunak are Boris Johnson’s ‘most fierce loyalists’

17:32 , Miriam Burrell

Labour MP Jess Phillips said Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are Boris Johnson’s two “most fierce loyalists”.

She claimed both Tory leader hopefuls “let [Christopher] Pincher waltz into his job, both defended Johnson on Partygate”.

Watch: Keir Starmer responds

17:39 , Miriam Burrell

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has tweeted a video of his speech during Prime Minister’s Questions in response to the leadership results.

Previous Tory leadership elections

17:47 , Miriam Burrell

In two recent Tory leadership elections, the candidate who won the most votes among MPs went on to win the members’ vote.

In 2019, the final ballot of MPs ended with Boris Johnson in front on 160 votes, while Jeremy Hunt won 77 and Michael Gove won 75.

Mr Johnson went on to win the ballot of party members by 66 per cent to Mr Hunt’s 34 per cent.

There was a similar pattern in 2005, where David Cameron came top of the final ballot of MPs with 90 votes, followed by David Davis on 57and Liam Fox on 51.

Mr Cameron beat Mr Davis in the members’ ballot by 68 per cent to 32 per cent.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss agree to Sky News debate

18:15 , Miriam Burrell

Sky News will host a debate between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss on August 4, the broadcaster has announced.

Both candidates have confirmed they will take part in the live one-hour debate hosted by Kay Burley with questions from a live studio audience, to be broadcast from 8pm.

Mr Sunak said he was “looking forward to it”.

The pair earlier this week pulled out of a Sky News debate with other contestants.

Public hustings kick off in Leeds

18:26 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are touring the UK for questioning.

The first of the 12 official public hustings organised by the Tory party in the leadership contest has been set for July 28 in Leeds.

Tory members are expected to receive postal ballots by August 5, with the ballot shutting at 5pm on September 2 ahead of the final announcement.

The candidates will also attend hustings in Exeter, Eastbourne, Northern Ireland, Manchester and London during their tour.

 (PA)
(PA)

Scottish Conservatives leader congratulates candidates

18:30 , Miriam Burrell

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglass Ross has said both candidates vying for the top job “are fully up to the task of being our next prime minister”.

He said he will “work with whoever emerges victorious”.

Watch: Our profile of Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss

19:03 , Daniel Keane

Election model shows Labour coming close to majority

19:22 , Daniel Keane

An election model created by Britain Elects shows the Labour party would win 325 seats at the next General Election.

The Tories are set to lose 141 seats, with the Liberal Democrats on course to gain 15 MPs.

Ellwood has whip removed again

19:41 , Daniel Keane

Tobias Ellwood has again had the Tory whip removed after Conservative MPs cast their final ballots in the leadership contest.

A whips office spokeswoman said: "Tobias Ellwood MP has had the Conservative whip suspended."

Scot Tory ‘will work with whoever comes next'

20:56 , Daniel Keane

Douglas Ross has pledged to work with whoever wins the keys to Number 10, with the Scottish Conservative leader having described both candidates "fully up to the task of being our next prime minister".

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were named as the final two in the battle for Downing Street on Wednesday, and will now face Conservative Party members across the country in their bid to replace Boris Johnson.

Mr Ross has not backed either candidate, but said: "As Scottish Conservative leader, I will work with whoever emerges victorious from the vote by party members."

21:41 , Robert Dex

That is the end of our coverage tonight. Thanks for reading.