Penny Mordaunt will succeed Boris Johnson, exclusive leadership poll suggests

Penny Mordaunt at the launch of her campaign to be Conservative Party leader on Wednesday. Credit: PA

Penny Mordaunt will succeed Boris Johnson as the next leader of the Tory party, an exclusive Conservative leadership election forecast unveiled on ITV's Peston suggests.

The Portsmouth North MP will gain the most votes from her fellow Conservative MPs, according to the poll produced by Patrick Flynn, political analyst at betting exchange Smarkets.

The forecast predicts that the trade minister will finish in first place, with 133 MP votes. Rishi Sunak is predicted to finish in second place with 129 MP votes, and Liz Truss is predicted to come in third with 96 MP votes.

Attorney General Suella Braverman will be the next hopeful to be knocked out, followed by senior backbencher Tom Tugendhat, former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in later stages, it predicts.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana revealed the exclusive forecast on ITV's Peston on Wednesday evening.

The forecast is calculated by modelling MPs’ endorsement patterns based on who they nominated in 2019, when they were elected, their EU referendum position, their voting record, whether they served in Boris Johnson’s cabinet and a variety of constituency level variables.

On Wednesday, ex-health secretary Jeremy Hunt and Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi were knocked out of the race to succeed Mr Johnson in the first round of voting by Tory MPs.

Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee overseeing the contest, read out the results of Wednesday’s vote in a crowded Committee Room 14 in the House of Commons. Mr Sunak was on 88, Ms Mordaunt on 67, Ms Truss, 50, Ms Badenoch, 40, Mr Tugendhat, 37, and Ms Braverman squeaked through on 32. Mr Zahawi, brought in by Boris Johnson after Mr Sunak’s resignation, got 25 and Mr Hunt only 18.

So far in the leadership race, Ms Mordaunt has performed well - gaining public declarations of support from Conservative colleagues to help her progress through the first phases of the race. She has also performed strongly in the limited polling of the Tory membership available, putting her firmly alongside Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former chancellor Rishi Sunak as favourites. A YouGov snap poll of 876 Tory members carried out over Tuesday and Wednesday saw 27% respond that they would favour Ms Mordaunt as Mr Johnson’s replacement. Former minister Kemi Badenoch was second on 15%, while Mr Sunak and Ms Truss were tied on 13%. The current size of the Conservative membership is unknown, but at the last leadership election in 2019 there were around 160,000 members, and insiders expect it to have grown since then, meaning the poll is not representative of the party as a whole.

Watch ITV's Peston from 10:45 pm on Wednesday live on Twitter, on ITV and on the ITV Hub afterwards

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