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James Forsyth

Can Liz Truss close the gap on Penny Mordaunt?

Can Liz Truss close the gap on Penny Mordaunt?
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Tory MPs are getting ready to cast their ballots in the third round of voting. Tom Tugendhat in his remarks to the 1922 Committee hustings has made clear that he is continuing on to the ballot, though he did seem to accept that he is unlikely to progress further.

What Tories are watching today is to what extent does Liz Truss close the gap on Penny Mordaunt, who is currently in second. At the moment Truss is 19 votes behind. But she now has the support of Suella Braverman and her key campaign supporter, Steve Baker. So, how many of the 27 Braverman votes can Truss pick up? Truss would hope to pick up the vast majority of them, given the effectiveness of the ERG whipping operation.

At the same time as closing the gap on Mordaunt, Truss needs to maintain her lead over Kemi Badenoch who is having a very good contest and has been pushing those MPs who voted Braverman to come over to her. She has had some success with John Hayes, chair of the Common Sense Group, coming out for her. But Truss probably did enough last night to hold off Badenoch.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is political editor of The Spectator.

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