By Connor Steel
SUELLA BRAVERMAN has been eliminated from the Conservative Party leadership contest and will not be the country’s new Prime Minister in early September, finishing last in the second round of voting on Thursday afternoon before backing her rival candidate Liz Truss in an unpredictable race for the top job in UK politics.
The results were announced at 3pm by Sir Graham Brady as he confirmed the Fareham MP and Attorney General had finished with 27 votes, coming last out of the six candidates behind backbench colleague Tom Tugendhat (32), Kemi Badenoch (49), Liz Truss (64), Penny Mordaunt (83) and favourite Rishi Sunak (101).
Under rules of the contest announced on Monday, Braverman was automatically eliminated from the race; finishing with five fewer votes than the first round on Wednesday where she received 32. She joins Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi in exiting the leadership contest after both failed to meet a threshold of 30 votes.
The Attorney General launched her campaign to replace outgoing Boris Johnson, entitled Suella4Leader, on Saturday (July 9) and promised a range of policy overhauls; covering tax-cuts, education, the “woke society”, completing Brexit, the Northern Irish Protocol and issues with the European Court of Human Rights (ECMR).
Speaking to Sky News after exiting the contest, the Fareham MP said: “Obviously it’s disappointing to be knocked out of the contest to become the next prime minister, but I must say I am absolutely blown away by the support that I got from lots of members of parliament. If not in their votes, then definitely in their hearts”.
Another message posted on Twitter said: “Thank you to everyone who voted for me and to all the supporters across the country who have been in touch. I wish the other candidates all the very best. The crucial thing now is for the party to unite behind a candidate who’ll deliver on the promises that won us the election.”
And following a coy answer to the media earlier in the day, it was announced that Braverman had backed Liz Truss in the race to become Prime Minister; with her supporters such as Steve Baker, Sir Desmond Swayne and Dr Julian Lewis set to back the Foreign Secretary as she looks to close on 2nd place Penny Mordaunt.
All five remaining candidates will now participate in televised leadership debates over the weekend, before the third round of voting takes place on Monday afternoon with results at approximately 8pm. Daily votes will be held throughout Tuesday and Wednesday until the final two are decided before the deadline on July 21.
Ballots will then be sent out to the almost 200,000 Conservative Party members during the six week summer recess which may see the final two battle for votes in a series of events such as rallies, hustings or debates. The winner of the contest will be announced on September 5 with a handover of Prime Minister taking place.
The Government have furthermore announced that a new vote of no confidence will be held “in itself” and parliamentary time has been allocated for debates next week, which comes just 24 hours after a Labour motion was rejected by ministers as the opposition push for a general election to be held later this year.
By tabling the confidence vote in themselves and not the Prime Minister individually, the Government have been able to control the wording of the motion and any amendments in a bid to stave off rebels. It is separate to a party vote of no confidence in leadership or PM, which was won by Boris Johnson back in early June.
The previous vote of no confidence in the Government was held in January 2019, which came as then-PM Theresa May lost the first of three attempts to push her Brexit deal through Parliament. On that occasion the Government were victorious with a vote of 325-306, although Mrs May resigned her role in June that year.
Readers can follow live updates on the Conservative Party Leadership contest by visiting BBC News and other mainstream media platforms. Alternatively they can also check the official Conservative Party website featuring profiles and campaign messages from all five candidates, alongside voting and ballot information.
PICTURED BY ISTOCK: The famous door of Number 10 Downing Street stands closed for Fareham MP.