Penny Mordaunt reacts to her exit and the message is short after Truss surges into last 2

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The Minister for Trade was eliminated from the contest for the next leader of the Conservative party today. 

Liz Truss secured just eight more votes than Ms Mordaunt, beating her with 113 votes to 105.

Rishi Sunak achieved the largest number of votes, meanwhile, reaching 137.

Reacting with a short tweet, Ms Mordaunt simply said: “Thanks to everyone for all your hard work. We go forward together.”

She added in a statement: “I want to put on record my gratitude to party members and constituents who have been in touch to pledge their support. I will continue to work hard to repay the faith they placed in me.”

“I also want to congratulate both Rishi and Liz in getting through to the next stage.

“I pay tribute to anyone who puts themselves forward for such a demanding role. Politics isn’t easy. It can be a divisive and difficult place. We must all now work together to unify our party and focus on the job that needs to be done.

“I am a One Nation, proud Brexiteer. My campaign put forward a positive vision for the country I love so much, remembering who we are here to serve.

“Our mission is not only to deliver on what we promised but to win the fight against Labour at the next general election. I hope to play my part in both”.

This comes moments after an investigation was launched into allegations that material was leaked from within the civil service to supposedly damage the former leadership hopeful’s campaign.

David Davis, one of her most prominent backers within the Tory Party, wrote to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case over the weekend to raise his concerns that damaging information had been leaked.

Ms Mordaunt faced criticism throughout the campaign over her position on gender self-identification after leaked government documents suggested she had supported watering down the legal process for transitioning.

These claims were echoed by both Ms Truss and ex-leadership candidate Kemi Badenoch in last Friday’s TV debate. 

Ms Mordaunt condemned the reports as “smears”, saying while she had ordered a review of the Gender Recognition Act, she was not in favour of self-identification and would “not have divorced it from healthcare”.

Her account was backed by Baroness Williams, who was junior equalities minister at the time, who said the stories were “completely incorrect”.

Despite receiving fewer votes than Mr Sunak, Ms Truss has emerged as the bookies’ favourite to become the next leader of the Conservative party after the vote which saw Ms Mordaunt knocked out of the contest. 

Gambling company William Hill places Ms Truss with 4/7 to win, while giving Mr Sunak odds of 6/4.

The foreign secretary gained 27 votes and Mr Sunak put on 19

Ms Mordaunt, meanwhile, only gained an extra 13 supporters.

There were two spoiled ballots and one individual did not vote.

Ms Truss said if elected as Tory leader she would “hit the ground running from day one”.

Mr Sunak, meanwhile, posted a video message saying he is “the only candidate” who can beat the Labour Party at the next election.

He added: “I won’t let you down”.

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