‘If we can’t rebuild trust, our party is doomed’: Tugendhat’s warning as he is knocked out of leadership race

Politics

Tom Tugendhat has become the latest candidate to be knocked out of the Conservative leadership race.

In the third round of voting by Tory MPs, the contenders received the following votes:

  • Kemi Badenoch, 58
  • Penny Mordaunt, 82
  • Rishi Sunak, 115
  • Liz Truss, 71
  • Mr Tugendhat, 31

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Following the announcement, Mr Tugendhat tweeted: “Although it wasn’t to be today, I am immensely proud of the positive vision we put forward for our country. Thank you to all those who supported me and believed in #ACleanStart. This is only the beginning!

“This evening, I spoke to the 1922 Committee on the future of our country. One thing is clear – if we cannot rebuild trust, our party is doomed. Not just for now, but for a generation or more.

“To win an election we need the country behind us. Our values, our conservative values, can only be achieved in government.”

And in a video posted on the social media platform he added: “I’m not going to be talking about any candidates at the moment, I’ll listen to what they have to say and I’ll be making my judgment later.”

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And he thanked his campaign team and supporters.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team, I’m incredibly grateful to all the supporters who have been with me at some – if not all – stages of the race we fought for a clean start because we know that that’s what the country is crying out for.

“We’ve seen that in the response to the two debates, we’ve seen that in the engagement we’ve had from people.”

Following the vote, Rishi Sunak tweeted: “I want to thank all the colleagues who supported me tonight.

“Together we can rebuild our economy, keep Brexit safe and defeat Labour.”

Penny Mordaunt said: “My vote is steady and I’m grateful to my colleagues for all their support and thrilled to be in second place once more.

“MPs know that I’m a strong candidate, running a truly clean campaign and putting forward a positive vision for the party and our country.”

And Kemi Badenoch tweeted: “On to the next vote. Thank you to all my colleagues for their support. It’s all to play for.

“Continued momentum, closing the gap, I am the only change candidate left in the race. I’m in it to win.”

Two more votes are due to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday until two candidates remain.

They will then face a summer of campaigning and hustings before a vote by the wider party membership, with the winner expected to be announced on 5 September.

The remaining runners will not face each other in a debate that had been planned by Sky News for Tuesday after Mr Sunak and Ms Truss refused to take part.

Conservative MPs are said to be concerned about the damage the previous debates have done to the image of the party after exposing disagreements and splits between the leading candidates.

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Sir Keir Starmer criticises candidates for pulling out of Sky News’ debate.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “astonished that those that want to be prime minister of the United Kingdom are pulling out of debates and out of scrutiny”.

Exchanges between the candidates have been feisty during the two TV debates that have taken place, with rows focused over their plans for tax.

Although Mr Sunak, the former chancellor, has insisted now is not the time to reduce the tax burden, others have said they would take immediate action.

In the ITV leadership debate on Sunday, Mr Sunak accused Ms Truss of peddling “something-for-nothing” economics after she said he would “choke off growth” by raising taxes to their highest level in 70 years.

There were further furious exchanges between Ms Mordaunt and Ms Badenoch on Friday’s Channel 4 debate over the issue of self-identification for trans people.

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The contenders battled over tackling the cost of living and their experiences in government.

The contest was triggered after Boris Johnson announced he would be leaving Downing Street after an avalanche of ministerial resignations over his handling of the Chris Pincher scandal.

He will remain as prime minister until his successor has been named.

Mr Johnson has come under scrutiny this week for not attending three emergency COBRA meetings about the heatwave.

A Number 10 source said the prime minister had been in contact with relevant ministers all weekend.

Kit Malthouse, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who chaired the meetings, insisted Mr Johnson was “right across” the situation.

Lisa Nandy, the shadow communities secretary, said the prime minister has “clearly clocked off” since announcing his resignation, urging him and all his ministers to “turn up for work”.

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