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And then there were 5: Rishi Sunak still in the lead amid ongoing Tory leadership race

Suella Braverman was overnight eliminated.

With the second round of voting over in the UK Conservative Party leadership race, Rishi Sunak maintained his position at the top of the ladder, while Suella Braverman has been eliminated.

With 101 votes, Sunak is the first candidate to hit triple digits in the race to determine who will replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party, and therefore also as Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Suella Braverman, who had come in sixth after the first round of voting, has been unable to repeat her success from the first round, and was forced out of the race with only 27 votes. She had previously overtaken Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi and the runner-up in the 2019 leadership race, Jeremy Hunt, in a major upset.

The placement of the candidates remains otherwise unchanged.

Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt, although still in second place, has managed to narrow the gap between her and former Chancellor Sunak, with her 83 votes shrinking the margin from 21 to 18.

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss continues her strong performance, receiving 64 votes. Her chances have been bolstered by an endorsement from Braverman, and the BBC reports that most of her supporters will also vote for Truss.

Kemi Badenoch received 49 votes from her fellow Conservative MPs, with the Minister of State for Equalities increasing her share of the votes by 9.

Tom Tugendhat, the only backbencher still in the race, now sits at the bottom of the ladder, following the elimination of Braverman. With 32 votes, he needs another 18 to catch up to Badenoch.

However, the five candidates will have to wait until Tuesday for the voting to resume. In the meantime, two live TV debates will be held on Friday night and Sunday night UK time. Although ordinary party members will not have a chance to vote until the race narrows to two, this gives the candidates an opportunity to elaborate on their policies.

These TV debates will also allow the public to gain an insight into their potential future Prime Minister. This race has already proven divisive amongst the public.

For example, 6 News understands that when the Scottish Libertarian Party endorsed Badenoch on Twitter, many members expressed concern with their party leader’s decision, given Badenoch’s conservative stance on the culture war.

With Hunt and Braverman out of the race, and picking favourites, the situation will only intensify.

With Braverman supporting Truss, and Hunt joining Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab in endorsing Sunik, factional lines within the party are being drawn, which will shape the party after the race, with a Cabinet reshuffle, influenced by allegiances during the campaign, being likely.

As the dust settles from two intense rounds of voting, Conservative Party MPs now have a few days to consider which of the candidates they want to serve as MPs under.

You can read the latest on the Conservative leadership race here.

Stuart Jeffery is a freelance researcher & digital editor for 6 News. His views on personal social media pages are his & his only, and do not reflect the views of 6 News or our journalists. He abides by 6 News' editorial standards relating to fairness & accuracy.

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