Kemi Badenoch eliminated

19 July 2022

11:10 PM

19 July 2022

11:10 PM

Kemi Badenoch has been eliminated from the Tory leadership contest. Rishi Sunak came first with 118 Tory MPs backing him; Penny Mordaunt was second on 92; Liz Truss came third on 86. Badenoch was supported by 59 MPs. Refresh this page to read the latest:

5.15 p.m. Where will Kemi’s supporters go now?

Now that Kemi Badenoch has been eliminated from the Tory leadership race, the big question is who will her supporters back? Leo Docherty’s endorsement of Liz Truss suggests that at least some of Kemi’s supporters will opt for Truss over the other leadership contenders:


In tomorrow’s ballot I will be voting for @trussliz – I’ve seen at first hand her deep experience & sound judgement and know she has a credible plan for our great country – including greater investment in our armed forces! #LizForLeader 🇬🇧

— Leo Docherty MP (@LeoDochertyUK) July 19, 2022

4.20 p.m. Kemi says thanks

I’m grateful to my colleagues and the party members who have supported me.

This campaign began less than two weeks ago. What we’ve achieved demonstrates the level of support for our vision of change for our country and for the Conservative Party.

Thank you.

— Kemi Badenoch (@KemiBadenoch) July 19, 2022

4.20 p.m. Kemi out. What now?

With Kemi Badenoch eliminated, who will make the final cut? Katy Balls and James Forsyth give their verdict on a special edition of Spectator TV:

4.00 p.m. What the bookies think

Rishi Sunak remains the bookies’ favourite to become prime minister, but Liz Truss is not far behind:

3.35 p.m. Sunak’s ‘divide and conquer’ strategy

Steerpike writes… It’s been a pretty good few days for Team Sunak. Their man gave an assured performance in both debates and has enjoyed a brief respite from the more vituperative elements in the press. His closest rivals Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss have instead come in for heavy criticism; Mordaunt for her (supposedly) woke views and lacklustre work ethic; Truss for her lack of polish. So why then has Sunak only picked up three ballots today?

Tom Tugendhat’s defeat meant that more than 30 votes were up for grabs. Two MPs – Mark Pawsey and Rehman Chishti – already went public to announce they would back Sunak. Can Sunak really have only gained one more vote in the past 18 hours?

Naturally this has led some in Westminster to mutter darkly about ‘vote lending’. They point to Penny Mordaunt, up by 10, despite a faltering few days. Much like Snowball in Animal Farm, the dark hand of Sir Gavin Williamson is suspected at every turn, pulling the strings for a Sunak victory much like he did for Theresa May and Boris Johnson before. Others counter that such talk is merely to destabilise other candidates. One thing is for sure: with Badenoch’s elimination, Sunak is the candidate who has run the most consistent campaign of all those who remain.

3.25 p.m. What Kemi’s defeat means for the Tories

Kate Andrews writes… Today’s ballot doesn’t just remove Kemi Badenoch from the race – it removes a host of policy areas, too. Badenoch fast became the favourite amongst the Tory grassroots, no doubt in part because of her willingness to be more direct about key policy topics. She is the only contender so far to come out against the Online Safety Bill, which threatens to crack down on free and legal forms of speech online. She also was most blunt about the UK’s net-zero targets; committing to the end-goal of zero-carbon emissions, but insisting she’d refuse to ‘bankrupt’ the UK to get there.

Badenoch’s tax approach was closer to Rishi Sunak’s. Both insisted ‘trade-offs’ must be made. Both highlighted the dangers of borrowing lots more money to bring forward tax cuts. If Tory grassroots agree with this economic philosophy, they’re all but certain to have a candidate to pick from over the next few weeks, with Sunak now just two votes away from clinching a place in the final two. And we’re now guaranteed a proper debate on tax-and-spend policy, with Penny Mordaunt (second place) and Liz Truss (third place) ready to make the case for more borrowing for day-to-day costs. But without Badenoch, there won’t be as much pressure to lay out an agenda in other major policy areas, not least because it will suit the others to commit to as little as possible on the path to No. 10.

3.20 p.m. Who will Gove back?

Isabel Hardman writes… Now one of the big questions is who will Michael Gove back? He gave a significant boost to Kemi Badenoch’s campaign by rowing in behind the self-styled ‘wildcard’ candidate. Now the party is really thinking about who is ready to be prime minister and, as Katy Balls says below, who can unite the right of the party. Gove is going to take some time to think about who to support now, though of course ‘some time’ means about half an hour given how frenzied the final 48 hours of this contest are going to be.

3.16 p.m. Is Rishi running out of steam?

Isabel Hardman writes… Rishi Sunak is still not guaranteed to be in the final two, having picked up just three votes to reach 118 today – two short of the 120 that gets him in. Is his campaign running out of steam, having been well-prepared in the run-up to Boris Johnson departing? It’s also worth noting, as I mentioned earlier, that there is a concerted revenge operation underway from team Boris to paint Sunak as duplicitous to wavering MPs. It may also be that the many MPs who’ve ended up thinking they could be Sunak’s chancellor are starting to wonder if they’ve picked up the wrong signals, given so many of their colleagues have the same impression.

3.15 p.m. A good result for Truss

James Forsyth writes… Kemi Badenoch is out after a very strong campaign. She has run a remarkably impressive campaign and to make the final four from outside the cabinet is quite a feat. She’ll now be courted heavily by the remaining leadership candidates.

Liz Truss will be pleased with the result, she has closed the gap on Penny Mordaunt to six votes and will hope that she can pick up more Badenoch votes than Mordaunt. The Mordaunt camp will have been disappointed to have only picked up 10 votes considering how it felt that there was an ideological overlap between them and the Tugendhat camp.

3.10 p.m. Who spoiled their ballot?

Isabel Hardman writes… Graham Brady told the committee room that there was one spoiled ballot paper in this contest and one not cast. Knowing the Tory party, even though this is a secret ballot, it’s unlikely we will have to wait that long until whoever wanted to make a point about the quality of candidates in the contest breaks cover to do so more widely. What’s more interesting – and will always be unknown – is that a secret ballot allows MPs to vote for someone other than the candidates they’ve publicly declared for. This is the most duplicitous electorate in the world, after all.

3.05 p.m. Will Kemi’s voters flock to Truss?

Katy Balls writes… Kemi Badenoch is out and the race is now on between the three remaining candidates for the final two. While Penny Mordaunt has retained second place, the results look good for Liz Truss. She is in third place on 86 votes – but there are now 59 votes up for grabs from Kemi Badenoch’s camp. Some of those – from the right of the party – are likely to go to the foreign secretary. The right finally has a candidate to unite around.

3 p.m. Kemi Badenoch eliminated

The results of the fourth round of the Tory leadership are in:

Rishi Sunak – 118 (+3) 

Penny Mordaunt – 92 (+10) 

Liz Truss – 86 (+15) 

Eliminated: Kemi Badenoch – 59 (+1)

2.40 p.m. When the Tory war is over

Isabel Hardman writes… Yesterday Penny Mordaunt lost one vote from her second round result: today she’s down at least one more after Tobias Ellwood was stripped of the Tory whip for missing the confidence vote in the government. That Boris Johnson acted so fast on a vote that no-one thought he was going to lose is an interesting insight into the state of mind of the outgoing Prime Minister and those around him.

There is also significant bitterness in Team Boris towards Rishi Sunak, who is considered the key reason why Johnson ended up with no choice but to resign. The tension between groups of Johnson loyalists and anyone campaigning for Sunak is palpable in Parliament. At the moment it is very much a case of it being too risky for the two camps to merge in social settings like on the terrace. But once this contest is over, whoever is leader is going to have to work out a way of healing these angry wounds – or they’ll end up festering and causing damage to the new PM too.

2.35 p.m. Could tactical voting backfire?

Katy Balls writes… There’s much talk among MPs today of tactical voting. The idea being that MPs determined to stop Liz Truss progressing to the next round could lend their vote to another candidate in order to make that a reality. However, some of Tom Tugendhat’s backers with this aim are discussing temporarily backing Penny Mordaunt even though they really support Rishi Sunak as their preferred choice. This slightly misses the point. If MPs wanted to thwart Truss in this round, lending votes to Kemi Badenoch (who finished 4th in the third ballot) would be the way to do it. The problem with tactical voting is that it risks being too clever by half.

2.30 p.m. Who’s backing whom?

Conservative leadership ballots remain secret, but many Tory MPs have publicly declared which candidate they are backing. Sunak has the highest number of declared MPs in support with 75, then Penny Mordaunt on 45. Liz Truss comes third with 41 backers followed by Kemi Badenoch on 28. Read the full list here.

2.20 p.m. The results so far

When Tory MPs cast their ballots last night, Rishi Sunak, Kemi Badenoch and Liz Truss all enjoyed a surge in support. Tom Tugendhat, who had the lowest number of MPs backing him, was eliminated from the contest. Will Rishi continue to find the momentum going his way?


2.00 p.m. All to play for

James Forsyth writes… Today is the most unpredictable day of this contest so far. There are all sorts of cross-currents swirling around Westminster: some Tugendhat supporters’ primary objective is to block Truss now their candidate is out of the contest. But there are also those who aren’t fans of Penny Mordaunt – like Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who ran on Tugendhat’s ticket as his deputy, who yesterday said Mordaunt ‘left other ministers to pick up the pieces’ to plan her leadership bid. How this all balances out is hard to judge.

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