Richmond MP Rishi Sunak is the favourite to become the UK’s next prime minister after Boris Johnson announced he was not standing.
The former chancellor could be handed the job as soon as this afternoon if remaining rival Penny Mordaunt fails to meet the required threshold of having 100 MPs backing her when nominations close at 2pm.
Mr Johnson withdrew from the race to succeed Liz Truss on Sunday.
The former prime minister – who was in No 10 until just seven weeks ago – said he had met the threshold required to stand.
However. he said in a statement “you cannot govern effectively unless you have a united party in Parliament”, adding that now was “simply not the right time”.
With Mr Johnson out of the leadership race, several MPs have begun switching their nominations to the two remaining candidates.
This morning, around 180 out of 357 Tory MPs had gone public on who they are backing, with Mr Sunak having support from 155 and Ms Mordaunt securing 25 backers.