Race to be Prime Minister: What happens today as Penny Mordaunt struggles to get 100 backers and Rishi looks set to win

October 23, 2022, London, England, United Kingdom: Former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Conservative Party leadership candidate RISHI SUNAK is seen leaving his campaign office in Westminster., Credit:Tayfun Salci / Avalon

RISHI Sunak is in pole position to be the next Prime Minister as Penny Mordaunt struggles to get 100 backers before the crunch vote.

Mordaunt’s hopes of becoming the next PM were crumbling last night as she struggled to gather supporters and suffered a nightmare TV interview.

Rishi Sunak is in pole position as the race for PM is well underway

Penny Mordaunt is scraping to get the 100 nominations required after a nightmare interview last night

The Commons leader had the publicly declared backing of just 25 MPs — leaving her scrabbling to reach the required 100 nominations by 2pm today.

It comes as Boris Johnson dramatically pulled out of the race last night.

The former Prime Minster insisted he had the numbers to go to  a vote of membership.

But he threw in the towel as MPs broke for former Chancellor Mr Sunak at a rate of more than two to one.

After peace talks between the rival camps flopped, Mr Sunak was tearing ahead with the backing of more than 150 Tory MPs.

The runaway favourite to replace Liz Truss has hoovered up almost half of Tory MPs and bagged some big-name backers from the Brexit wing of the party.

But what exactly happens today in the race for No.10?

2pm – Nominations close

Candidates need 100 nominations by 2pm to make the ballot. If only one candidate has 100 nominations, they will automatically be elected Tory leader and PM.

3.30 to 5.30pm – First vote

Tory MPs vote for their preferred candidate. If three candidates are on the ballot, the loser will be eliminated.

If only two make the ballot, they will both go through to the members and the vote will just be indicative.

The results will be announced at 6pm.

6.30 to 8.30pm – Second vote

A second vote will only be needed if three candidates make the ballot and one is eliminated in the first round.

It will just be an indicative vote to see who Tory MPs vote for. The result will be at 9pm.

If one candidate is miles ahead, their rival could drop out knowing they do not have the support of the parliamentary party.

9pm – Campaigning commences

If there are still two MPs left in the race, they will go forward to a wider vote of Tory party members.

Members will have until 11am on Friday to vote and the result will be announced later that day.