Politics

Tory leadership rivals face further vote as Johnson holds last cabinet

The last four runners in the Conservative leadership contest will face another round of voting later, as the party decides who will replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street.

Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch made it through Monday’s ballot to continue in the race, while Tom Tugendhat was knocked out.

But as the prospective leaders vie for the last minute support of their fellow Tory MPs, their outgoing boss held his final cabinet meeting in Number 10.

Politics Hub: Sunak on top as field narrows in Tory leadership race

Chairing the meeting, Mr Johnson discussed the heatwave with his ministers – after he faced criticism for missing three emergency COBRA meetings on the matter in recent days.

Mr Johnson defended his government’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions as Britain baked in a heatwave.

He told ministers: “Who can doubt that we were right to be the first major economy to go for net zero?

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“It may be sometimes unfashionable to say this but it is the right thing to do.”

Mr Johnson received first edition copies of Winston Churchill’s books on the Second World War as a gift from his cabinet colleagues on Tuesday.

The books by Churchill, a hero of Mr Johnson, were presented to the prime minister by his entire Cabinet, a Downing Street spokesman said.

Mr Johnson’s final cabinet meeting came after his administration survived a confidence motion, which the government brought against itself after rejecting a Labour attempt to do so.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre left) holds a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London. Picture date: Tuesday July 19, 2022.
Image:
Boris Johnson holds his final cabinet meeting in Number 10

Also today, Nadhim Zahawi will deliver his first speech as chancellor in the City.

How much policy he is able to lay out is unclear, given the uncertainty surrounding his future in the job.

The remaining candidates to replace the prime minister were due to take part in a Sky News debate this evening, but it was cancelled after Mr Sunak and Ms Truss refused to participate.

They have no choice about facing the ballot, though, which will see the leadership hopeful with the lowest number of votes eliminated from the contest.

Latest poll shows Sunak unlikely to win against remaining candidates


Sam Coates

Sam Coates

Deputy political editor

@SamCoatesSky

Rishi Sunak will struggle to win over the Tory membership if he faces any of Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt or Kemi Badenoch, according to a new YouGov poll of Tory members which gives a boost to the foreign secretary.

Penny Mordaunt’s strong lead from last week’s members poll has fallen, now narrowly losing to both Truss and Badenoch.

This comes amid frantic horsetrading of support as the result of the fourth round of voting will be announced at 3pm today.

The YouGov members’ poll was conducted yesterday and today – so after the second of the two TV debates on Sunday night.

Truss beats Sunak by 53% to 35% and beats Mordaunt 48% to 42% but would be beaten by Badenoch 43% to 46%.

Sunak not only loses to Truss, but to Mordaunt by 37% to 57% and Badenoch 34% to 56%.

Mordaunt would lose to Truss 42% to 48% and loses to Badenoch 43% to 48%.

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Former chancellor Mr Sunak continued to lead the pack last night by securing 115 votes in the third round, while Ms Mordaunt remained in second place with 82 votes.

Foreign Secretary Ms Truss won the support of 71 MPs, Ms Badenoch had the backing of 58, and Mr Tugendhat, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, received just 31 votes.

The candidates will now be hoping to win over Team Tugendhat and edge their numbers up in the fourth round of voting, with a result expected at 3pm – cutting another candidate from the field.

One supporter of Mr Tugendhat’s campaign told Sky News they are talking to all candidates in deciding who to vote for.

They added: “For some, it’s anyone but Liz.”

The last three will face one more ballot on Wednesday, with the final two confirmed by the end of the day.

Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday morning, Mr Sunak supporter Grant Shapps said he has “no doubt at all that there’ll be further public TV debates” – despite both the former chancellor and Ms Truss refusing to take part in the Sky News leadership debate.

“I’m sure when it goes up to the last two, there’ll be opportunity for more debates. No doubt Rishi and others will join that debate,” the transport secretary said.

He added that he “can’t commit Rishi’s time to Sky News specifically”.

The final two candidates will carry out hustings over the summer before a vote by the wider party membership, and the final result is expected to be announced on 5 September.

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