The six remaining Tory leadership hopefuls are preparing for the final sages of the contest with the results of the second ballot at 3pm today.
Three clear frontrunners have emerged after the first round, with Rishi Sunak receiving 88, Penny Mordaunt on 67 and Liz Truss on 50.
This comes amid disastrous polling from YouGuv which placed Mordaunt 67 at per cent among party members and Sunak on just 28 per cent.
Yesterday Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt were eliminated, while outsiders, Demi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat and Suella Braverman remain in the race.
Speaking on Sky News this morning, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Thérèse Coffey, said she is backing Liz Truss for leader, who is launching her bid formally today.
She said she’d “always been impressed” with the foreign secretary, as she urged Braverman and Badenoch supporters to lend their votes to Truss, if they are eliminated from the contest.
Responding to comments made yesterday by leader of the pack Rishi Sunak, who said he’d run the country like Margaret Thatcher, Coffey said “Liz truss is Liz Truss and doesn’t meed to be a copycat of anyone”.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Care and Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, explained why she is backing Penny Mordaunt.
Mordaunt, who launched her campaign on Wednesday, gained significant support from the party as polls suggested she would beat all other candidates in a straight run-off at the moment.
Caroline Nokes, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said it as “absolute nonsense” to claim Mordaunt didn’t have enough government experience to be Prime Minister.
“Penny has a breadth of experience across government that I would say is unrivalled by any of the other contenders”, she said.
Ahead of the next ballot results today, Keegan said she was backing Rishi Sunak in the race. She said the ex-chancellor is determined to cut taxes but at the same time “you get the hand you are death with”.
“You make the decisions based on the times you are in” she said. She said Thatcher “didn’t have to deal with the pandemic.. or exactly the same situation with the war in Ukraine.”
She said the comparison to Thatcher meant Sunak, who wants to raise corporation tax from 19 to 25 per cent, would mean he’d run it “sensibly.”