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Live Reporting

Edited by Owen Amos

All times stated are UK

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  1. Thanks for joining us

    We're pausing our live coverage of the Conservative Party leadership contest now, but before we go, here's a summary of what's happened today:

    • Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the final two candidates hoping to succeed Boris Johnson after Penny Mordaunt was knocked out of the contest
    • Sunak topped the vote with support from 137 Conservative MPs, followed by Truss with 113 and Mordaunt with 105
    • The next stage will see 12 hustings across the country between 28 July and 31 August as 160,000 Tory members make their mind up, with their vote closing on 2 September
    • The country's next prime minister will be declared on 5 September
    • Before then, Sunak and Truss will go head-to-head at two live televised debates on the BBC and Sky News
    • Earlier, Boris Johnson took part in his final PMQs where he said his mission was "largely accomplished", bowing out with the words, "hasta la vista, baby".

    Today's page was written by Adam Durbin, Sam Hancock, Aoife Walsh, Richard Morris, Chas Geiger, James Fitzgerald, Marie Jackson, Marita Moloney, James Harness and Andrew Humphrey.

    It was edited by Alex Therrien, Claudia Allen and Owen Amos.

  2. IDS insists there'll be unity once new leader decided

    And on the same theme, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith - who's backing Liz Truss - says the party will unite behind a new leader, whoever it is.

    "Whoever wins this, we'll come back together and support them," he insists.

  3. Truss and Sunak backers hope to avoid 'blue-on-blue'

    As we've just seen, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are keen to avoid so-called "blue-on-blue" attacks (blue being the traditional colour of the Conservative Party).

    MP Ed Argar - a backer of Liz Truss - says both potential leaders have a "clear determination to do what's right for this country with different approaches and nuances on how they would do that".

    "Either of them would make an excellent prime minister", Edgar, a former health minister, adds.

    Meanwhile MP for Hastings and Rye, Sally-Ann Hart, who supports Rishi Sunak, has denied that Sunak has been tarnished by serving as chancellor in Boris Johnson's government.

    "When you look at all Conservatives, whether it's ministers, chancellors, secretary of state, or MPs, you are loyal to your prime minister," she says.

  4. What have the candidates said about 'blue-on-blue' attacks?

    Both candidates have hit back back at claims that "blue-on-blue" attacks - meaning Tories criticising each other - might be a gift to Labour.

    Rishi Sunak said there'd been a "debate about ideas", while Liz Truss said she'd focused on making a "positive case".

    Video content

    Video caption: WATCH: Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak respond to questions about campaign tactics
  5. Members' hustings announced

    The Conservative Party has just announced details of 12 hustings events for members to help them choose between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

    Hustings are meetings in which candidates in an election address voters.

    The events, which will take place across all four nations of the UK and will be streamed on the party's website, are as follows:

    • July 28: Leeds
    • Aug 1: Exeter
    • Aug 3: Cardiff
    • Aug 5: Eastbourne
    • Aug 9: Darlington
    • Aug 11: Cheltenham
    • Aug 16: Perth
    • Aug 17: Northern Ireland
    • Aug 19: Manchester
    • Aug 23: Birmingham
    • Aug 25: Norwich
    • Aug 31: London
  6. A second head-to-head TV debate to take place on Sky News

    The final two Tory leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will take part in a televised debate hosted by Sky News next month.

    The broadcaster has announced that the live one-hour debate will be held at 20:00 BST on 4 August and will be hosted by Kay Burley, with questions from a live studio audience.

    Sunak has already tweeted that he's "looking forward to it".

    Before this, he and Truss will face off in their first live TV debate on Monday which will be broadcast on BBC One from 21:00 and hosted by Sophie Raworth.

  7. Starmer's expletive-laden assessment of Johnson

    Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson
    Image caption: Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson clashed for the last time at Prime Minister's Questions earlier

    Warning - this post includes language some readers will find offensive.

    There’s been an outbreak of pearl clutching among some Conservatives at Westminster, after Sir Keir Starmer turned the air blue when describing Boris Johnson in a podcast interview.

    The Labour leader gave an expletive-laden assessment of the soon to be ex-prime minister’s relationship to the truth and attitude to the public on The Rest is Politics podcast, calling him a “bullshitter”.

    Asked about Sir Keir’s choice of language, the prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “I would not respond with similar language of course. But I obviously wouldn’t agree with the characterisation.”

    The Labour Party denied its normally mild-mannered leader had debased public debate with his outburst.

  8. What happens next?

    • In the space of eight days, Tory MPs have whittled down a field of eight candidates to the final two - Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss
    • The decision on which of them becomes party leader and the country's next prime minister now goes to Conservative members across the country. They are thought to number more than 160,000, around 0.3% of the total electorate
    • On Monday Sunak and Truss will take part in a live TV debate, which will be broadcast on BBC One at 21:00; Sky News will also host a live debate on 4 August
    • A total of 12 hustings events have been scheduled across the UK; the first will take place in Leeds on 28 July
    • Ballot papers will begin landing on members' doorsteps from 1 August
    • Votes can be cast by post or online. The deadline is 17:00 on 2 September
    • The result will be declared on 5 September
    • The following day, 6 September, Boris Johnson will go to see the Queen to resign as prime minister. His successor will be appointed a few minutes later
  9. Analysis

    Why newspapers matter more in this race to be prime minister

    Amol Rajan

    Media editor


    The Conservative leadership contest will be determined by an electorate who are still heavily influenced by newspapers - making it much less of a social media election than recent plebiscites.

    Through the 2015, 2017, and 2019 general elections there was a lot of focus on the use of political ads and viral content on social media - especially Facebook - to target voters.

    This was true of the Brexit and Scottish independence referendums too. And former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was generally thought to have activated a very influential following on social media.

    But Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have to persuade a narrow section of the population that is much more attuned to newsprint than most Britons.

    Being politically active by nature, and generally over 60, Conservative Party members still buy newspapers much more often than most of the public.

    Therefore this is an election which has an almost late-20th-Century feel, in terms of media.

  10. Sunak has the edge - former minister

    Tory MP Andrew Mitchell

    Both remaining candidates are “incredibly gifted”, says Tory MP Andrew Mitchell - but “Rishi has the edge when it comes to experience”.

    Sunak has the skills to tackle the “multiple crises” facing the country, Mitchell tells BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

    He goes on to hail the former chancellor’s decision-making during the pandemic.

    But the former international development secretary also praises Liz Truss as being “charming [and] easy to get on with”.

  11. Leadership contest 'scarily embarrassing', Rayner says

    Angela Rayner

    As we've just reported, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has become the latest Labour figure to take shots at the final two Tory leadership candidates.

    She says on Twitter: "This Tory leadership contest is so scarily embarrassing both candidates pulled out of the TV debate [due to be on Sky on Tuesday].

    "They're hiding from the public and their record. The Tories have no leadership and no answers. They're unfit to govern.

    "Only Labour can provide the fresh start the country needs."

  12. What's been happening?

    Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak

    If you're just joining us, here's a recap of today's main developments:

    • Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the last two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson as the next Tory party leader and prime minister, after Penny Mordaunt was knocked out in the final Conservative MPs' vote
    • Sunak topped the vote with support from 137 MPs, followed by Truss with 113 and Mordaunt with 105
    • The former chancellor vows to "build a team that draws on all the talents and strengths" in the Conservative Party if selected, and insists he is the only candidate who can defeat Labour at the next election
    • Truss also believes she can defeat Sir Keir Starmer, adding she is ready to hit the ground running as the next prime minister
    • After her defeat, Mordaunt - who until today had been second in all previous rounds of voting - says MPs must work together to unify the party and "focus on the job that needs to be done"
    • Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner, meanwhile, says the Tories "have no leadership and no answers"
  13. Truss: I've run a positive campaign

    And here's Liz Truss speaking to reporters - she says she’s been entirely focused on a "positive campaign".

    Video content

    Video caption: Tory leadership: I've run a positive campaign, says Liz Truss
  14. Sunak: I want to be honest about challenges we face

    As we've been reporting, Rishi Sunak says he is the “only candidate” who can beat Labour at the next general election.

    Watch his post-result interview with the media here.

    Video content

    Video caption: Tory leadership: Rishi Sunak on policies to be next PM
  15. Reality Check

    Have candidates pledged £330bn in unfunded commitments?

    We've given you the Labour reaction to Truss and Sunak making the final two - "continuity Johnson" seems to be the main attack line - so now let's look at one of the figures Labour is using.

    At PMQs earlier, Labour leader Keir Starmer told MPs: "Those vying to replace him [Boris Johnson] have racked up £330bn of unfunded spending commitments."

    We've been looking at the cost of the pledges made by the candidates and we can't make it add up to that much.

    We've had a look at Labour's sums and it turns out they include pledges from all the candidates early in the race, most of whom have already been knocked out.

    Of course only one of the candidates can end up as prime minister, but Labour has been counting the same pledge several times.

    For example, they estimate the undertaking to reverse next April's increase in corporation tax at £14.5bn, but then count that pledge from Nadhim Zahawi, Grant Shapps and Liz Truss - so multiply it by three to get a total £43.5bn pledged.

    Then they added another £24bn to cover Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt's plans to get the tax down even further.

  16. Truss refuses to be drawn on blue-on-blue attacks

    Liz Truss

    We've just given you Rishi Sunak's latest interview with the media - and his rival to become new PM, Liz Truss, has also been speaking to reporters at Westminster.

    She avoided questions on whether she's proud of the way the campaigns have been handled. Instead she says the "important" thing to focus on is "delivering for the British people".

    "I want to help struggling families, I want to make sure we unleash all the potential talent across Britain - and that has been the focus of my campaign."

    Pushed on the so-called blue-on-blue attacks, she again avoids the questions - and says only that she's focused on "delivering all the promises we made in 2019".

  17. Sunak 'incredibly humbled' to make final two


    More now from Rishi Sunak, who says he's “incredibly humbled” to have made it to the run-off for the leadership.

    “The question now for our members is who is best to beat Keir Starmer,” he says several times in his interview with broadcasters.

    Asked about his record as chancellor, he replies: “I’ve always said I want to be honest about the challenges we face. I helped get the country through a difficult period over the last couple of years.”

    Finally, Sunak denies his team lent votes to other candidates, in order to manipulate the race, saying: “This has been a really close contest and I am humbled.”

  18. Labour frontbencher uses Johnson to attack Sunak and Truss

    And here's some more Labour reaction - following a similar theme. Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting suggests Labour are pleased with the result of today's vote.

    "Our next prime minister will be someone who propped up Johnson, voted for every one of his 15 tax rises, and parroted his lies," he says.

    "Only Labour offers the fresh start that Britain needs," he says.

  19. Candidates are continuity Johnson, says shadow minister

    Labour's shadow Scotland secretary Iain Murray says Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are "two stooges" of the current government.

    He says Labour would like to see an early general election, and give the public the chance to decide who should be the next PM.

    Both candidates "are not fresh faces and they're not new," Murray says, calling them "continuity Johnson" and "Johnson lite".

    Both Sunak and Truss have ruled out an early election - arguing the public backed the Conservative Party manifesto in the 2019 general election.

  20. Sunak insists only he can defeat Starmer at election

    Rishi Sunak, who's topped every ballot of Tory MPs during the leadership contest, has released a video thanking his colleagues for putting him into the final vote that will be decided by party members.

    His 137 votes today represent 38.6% of the total cast.

    In his video, posted on Twitter, he says he's now the "only candidate” in the contest who can beat Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer at the next election.

    View more on twitter