Rishi Sunak, Kemi Badenoch and Liz Truss battle it out before one more chopped in vote TONIGHT

Conservative party leadership contenders Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, before the live television debate for the candidates for leadership of the Conservative party, hosted by Channel 4. Picture date: Friday July 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story POLITICS Tories. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

TORY leadership hopefuls will spend today battling for backers as one more contender is set to be knocked out of the race to be PM.

Conservative MPs will vote for their favourite leadership contender late this afternoon, with the result of the ballot announced at 8pm tonight.

Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak are hoping to make the top two of the Tory leadership contest

There are five MPs still in the race to be PM: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat.

Tonight the field will be whittled down to just four as the contender with the lowest votes gets the axe.

Tomorrow another ballot will take place narrowing the contest to three before the top two contenders are decided on Wednesday.

The hot favourite to win the leadership race so far is Mr Sunak.

The former Chancellor has the support of 100 MPs.

Ms Mordaunt has the next highest number of backers at 82.

As contenders get knocked out of the race, where their supporters go next will be crucial in determining who makes the top two.

Ms Truss is currently in third place with 66 MPs vying for her to be PM.

The Foreign Secretary, who has pitched herself as the race’s Thatcherite candidate, will be hoping to win over as many of Ms Badenoch’s right wing backers as possible.

Mr Sunak and Ms Mordaunt will hope to gain the support of Mr Tugendhat’s followers, as the backbench MP is unlikely to proceed much further in the race.

Last night all five remaining candidates knocked heads on live TV during the feisty ITV leadership debate.

Mr Sunak tore into Ms Truss for voting Remain in 2016 and for previously being a Lib Dem.

He cheekily asked her which of the two she most regrets.

Ms Truss hit back at the former Chancellor saying that her state school did not provide the same educational standards as the exclusive Winchester College where Mr Sunak was a pupil.

Ms Mordaunt was savaged for her record on trans rights.

Ms Badenoch accused Mr Sunak of not adequately tackling Covid fraudsters who lied about the state of their business to get financial support from the government during the pandemic.

Kemi Badenoch and an aide arrive at the ITV leadership debate last night

Liz Truss arrives at last night’s Tory leadership debate with an aide

Penny Mordaunt arrives at last night’s debate with an aide