Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt have been knocked out of the race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party – and next prime minister of the UK.

A total of six candidates made it through the first round of voting, with chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, revealing the number of MPs who had supported each of them.

Those who made it through to the next round are:

But Mr Hunt and Mr Zahawi failed to meet the 30-vote threshold, only getting 25 and 18 votes respectively.

Tory MPs will vote again on Thursday as they continue to narrow down the pack.

Politics Hub: Latest reaction from Westminster as field to become next PM narrows

Mr Zahawi, who was appointed chancellor just last week, put out a statement saying his “total focus” would now be on the Treasury as the “steward of the nation’s finances”.

He added: “I stood for the [leadership] because I have a passionate vision for the United Kingdom that I want to see. One where ability, skills and productivity are the key to achieving success and where there is opportunity for all.

“Clearly my part in the contest has now ended. My priority is my work as chancellor of the Exchequer.”

Mr Hunt, who made the final two to run against Boris Johnson in the last leadership election, tweeted to thank his “incredible team”, adding: “It’s become obvious to me you only get one big shot at this, and I had mine in 2019.

“Nevertheless, it’s clear that our party has an exciting future, with the amazing array of talent on offer in this contest, and I feel confident that we are on track to win back trust.”

But the former health secretary also gave “a gentle word of advice” to those still in the race, warning them against “smears and attacks” for “short term tactical gain”.

“The nation is watching and they’ve had enough of our drama,” he added.

(L-R) Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt
Image:
(L-R) Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt

When it came to the winners of the first round, Ms Mordaunt tweeted a thank you video to her supporters, while Mr Tugendhat, who chairs the foreign affairs select committee, called it a “fantastic result” for his campaign.

Ms Braverman, who is the attorney general, also tweeted her thanks, and a spokesperson for Foreign Secretary Ms Truss made a call for MPs to “unite” behind her, saying she will “cut taxes, deliver the real economic change we need from day one and ensure Putin loses in Ukraine”.

There is still further to go in the contest until the final two candidates are reached, with the second round of voting due to take place on Thursday.

Senior Tory backbencher Charles Walker told Sky News the decision over the new threshold to make it through would be decided by the 1922 Committee tonight, but he believed it would fall between 40 and 50 votes.

The final stage is expected to be reached by the end of next week at the latest, leaving the last pair to carry out hustings over the summer and face a vote from the wider Tory party membership – with a result announced on 5 September.

The leadership contest was triggered after Boris Johnson announced his departure from Downing Street last week.

It followed an avalanche of ministerial resignations over his handling of disgraced MP Chris Pincherand accusations he had lied about what he knew regarding the inappropriate behavior of the former deputy chief whip.

Mr Johnson remains in No 10 as a caretaker prime minister while the contest is carried out.

But Labor has been pushing for the PM to go immediately, attempting to call a confidence vote in him and the government – with the potential of triggering a general election.

Instead, the government has called a confidence vote in itselfallowing it to set the wording to make it easier for Tory critics of Mr Johnson to vote in favour.

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Sky News is hosting a live TV debate with the contenders vying to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and therefore prime minister, and you could be in the virtual audience.

The debate will take place on Monday 18 July hosted by Sky News presenter Kay Burley.

If you would like to be a member of the virtual audience and be in with a chance of asking a question, please email NewsDebates@sky.uk.

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