Penny Mordaunt reacts to her exit and pays tribute to rivals – Statement in FULL

The Minister for Trade was eliminated from the contest for the next leader of the Conservative party at 4pm today. Liz Truss secured eight more votes than Ms Mordaunt, beating her with 113 votes to 105 while Rishi Sunak achieved the largest number of votes – reaching 137.

Reacting with a short tweet, Ms Mordaunt simply said: “Thanks to everyone for all your hard work. We go forward together.”

She added in a statement: “I want to put on record my gratitude to party members and constituents who have been in touch to pledge their support.

“I will continue to work hard to repay the faith they placed in me.”

“I also want to congratulate both Rishi and Liz in getting through to the next stage.

This comes moments after an investigation was launched into allegations that material was leaked from within the civil service to supposedly damage the former leadership hopeful’s campaign.

David Davis, one of her most prominent backers within the Tory Party, wrote to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case over the weekend to raise his concerns that damaging information had been leaked.

Despite receiving fewer votes than Mr Sunak, Ms Truss has emerged as the bookies’ favourite to become the next leader of the Conservative party after the vote which saw Ms Mordaunt knocked out of the contest. 

Gambling company William Hill places Ms Truss with 4/7 to win, while giving Mr Sunak odds of 6/4.

In the latest result, the Foreign Secretary gained 27 votes and Mr Sunak put on 19.

Ms Mordaunt only gained an extra 13 supporters.

There were two spoiled ballots and one individual did not vote.

Ms Truss said if elected as Tory leader she would “hit the ground running from day one”.

A recent opinion poll placed her as more popular than either Mr Sunak or Ms Mordaunt among Tory grassroots.

The YouGov poll of Tory members, carried out before Monday’s fourth round ballot, gave Mr Sunak a 35 percent share of support compared with 54 percent for Ms Truss in a straight choice between the two.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who is backing Ms Truss, said the Foreign Secretary now “has the momentum” in the race.

He said Ms Truss has “garnered a wide range of support” among Tory MPs.

Ahead of today’s crunch final knockout round, Ms Truss told the Daily Express: “I’m ready to unite the Conservative Party and lead the nation as the next Prime Minister.

“People can trust me to deliver the bold economic reform that’s required to reduce bills for families and unleash the full potential of our United Kingdom.

“I’m ready to deliver the opportunities of Brexit and help lead the free world in standing up to authoritarians.”

Following the result, Mr Sunak posted a video message saying he is “the only candidate” who can beat the Labour Party at the next election.

He added: “I won’t let you down”.

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