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Rishi Sunak v Liz Truss: Last two candidates to be PM remain as Tory leadership race goes to party members

© Jonathan Hordle/ITVRishi Sunak and Liz Truss taking part in the ITV Debate
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss taking part in the ITV Debate

The next few weeks will see Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss battle it out to become the UK’s next prime minister.

Penny Mordaunt was eliminated from the race after five rounds of voting by Tory MPs, leaving the former chancellor and the Foreign Secretary in the top two places.

The decision now rests in the hands of party members, with the winner to be announced on September 5.

In the final round of MPs’ voting, Mordaunt received 105 votes, Sunak 137 and Truss 113.

Truss thanked colleagues for entrusting her with their support, tweeting: “Thank you for putting your trust in me. I’m ready to hit the ground from day one.”

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.

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.”

In a statement after her elimination from the contest, Mordaunt congratulated both candidates.

“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.”