Lunchtime Campaign Update as Voting Opens

It’s just gone 13.30, which means the ballots have formally opened for the first round of this completely unpredictable election. Penny’s campaign launch went well, despite a typically sweltering and overly-crowded room, and has seen her surge past the 30 required backers needed to make it though today’s round. Rishi comfortably leads the pack on 54, gaining seven new names today including Steve Barclay, Michael Ellis and Stephen Crabb. Liz Truss is thundering towards 30 backers also, certain to make it through.

Tugendhat, Kemi, Zahawi, Hunt and Braverman all remain well below the 30 required in terms of public declarations, and while some believe they have the requisite supporters the rule states whoever gets the lowest number of votes is eliminated. Hard to tell who is going out first

The ballot boxes are open for Tory MPs until 15.30, and we’ll get the result at 17.00. Strap in…

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