Scoring just 23 votes in the first round, the former Home Secretary came in last. It took him little time to absorb the results before announcing his decision to withdraw from the race. He followed the example of fourth place Peter Lilley and backed the centre-right candidate William Hague.
Mr Howard hit the first hurdle on day one when
pulled out of a deal to be his stablemate on a 'dream ticket'.
That was embarrassing, but worse was to follow when his former prisons minister, Ann Widdecombe, launched a fierce attack on her former boss. It emerged that Howard and Widdecombe had had a serious falling out over his sacking of Derek Lewis as head of the Prison Service in 1995. Widdecome, who is supporting
for the leadership, said that Howard had "something of the night" about him.
The argument became public and turned rather ugly. The row significantly handicapped Mr Howard's bid after Widdecombe criticised her former boss on the floor of the House. Howard always had to battle against the fact that he is not a popular public figure and this seems to be one of the main reasons his campaign was unseated so completely.
Mr Howard campaigned as a no-nonsense, tough-talking candidate. He even tried to turn Miss Widdecombe's criticisms to his advantage claiming that if there
"something nasty" about him, that they may help him to tackle Tony Blair. He has gone head-to-head with Blair at the despatch box on many occasions and his form there is not bad. Blair was his shadow at employment and then at the Home Office.
Howard is one the right of the party and is vehemently opposed to the single currency. He didn't have much exposure during the election campaign as he failed in his bid to make Law and Order a campaign issue for the Tories.
However, Mr Howard's challenge did receive a boost when former health secretary Stephen Dorrell's two chief lieutenants declared they were backing his campaign.
Simon Burns and David Faber, who had been acting as Mr Dorrell's campaign managers until he quit, both declined to follow his example and fall in behind ex-chancellor Kenneth Clarke.
Other Backers included:
Sir Michael Spicer, David Davis, David Maclean, Liam Fox, Chris Chope, Francis Maude, Tim Collins, James Cran, Christopher Fraser, Archie Hamilton, Andrew Lansley, David Liddington, Patrick Nicholls