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Tory leadership race latest news: MPs to choose final two candidates as Liz Truss gains in a runoff against Rishi Sunak

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Watch: Boris Johnson’s government wins confidence with 349 votes

Supporters of Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss are hopeful that she will be given a boost by the elimination of Kemi Badenoch ahead of the final round of voting by MPs over who should succeed Boris Johnson.

Claiming that “most of the people attracted to Kemi would not be attracted to” Penny Mordaunt, influential Tory MP Steve Baker said he was “hopeful” Ms Truss could gain their support but that “one must never take anything for granted” – as the Truss campaign urged those MPs to “unite behind” her.

Rishi Sunak retained a lead over his fellow candidates in Tuesday’s ballot with 118 votes, while Ms Truss inched closer to drawing level with Penny Mordaunt, receiving 86 and 92 votes respectively.

But an earlier members’ poll had suggested the former chancellor would be beaten soundly by Ms Morduant, Ms Truss and Ms Badenoch in the final vote by Tory Party members – spurring claims his supporters had voted “tactically” to ensure that he faces an easier rival in the final round.

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Black Labour staff suffer under party’s ‘hierarchy of racism’

Labour has failed to tackle anti-Black racism and Islamophobia which has resulted in staff members leaving the party, according to the long-awaited Forde report.

The Forde Inquiry, set up to look into allegations detailed in a party dossier leaked in April 2020, found that while Labour had made “some progress” on areas such as sexism, fewer improvements had been made where racism is concerned.

Some Labour staffers raised concerns about a “hierarchy of racism” and felt some forms of discrimination were taken more seriously than others.

Many staff members said they felt the “overwhelmingly white” Labour Party was an unwelcoming place for people of colour, the report found.

Our race correspondent Nadine White reports:

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Tory MP has whip removed ‘for failure to support’ Boris Johnson’s government

Senior Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood has had the whip removed after “failing to support” Boris Johnson’s government in a confidence vote last night.

It comes after the prime minister won the vote with a majority of 111 – 349 to 238 – after announcing a fortnight ago he will resign from No 10 upon a new Tory leader being elected by the party’s membership in September.

But a spokesperson for the Tory whips’ office said: “Tobias Ellwood MP has lost the Conservative Party whip following his failure to vote in support of the government in the confidence vote last night.”

Mr Ellwood, a frequent critic of Mr Johnson who had called for him to resign, posted on social media on Monday that he was in Moldova meeting the country’s president Maia Sandu.

Read more in this joint report from Ashley Cowburn and Anna Isaac:

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Tory MPs to choose final two candidates as Liz Truss support surges

A final vote of Tory MPs today will select the two candidates to be put to the party’s membership in the race for No 10.

Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt are battling to win over Kemi Badenoch’s supporters after she was knocked out of the contest, and face frontrunner Rishi Sunak in the run-off.

The foreign secretary received a surge in support in the penultimate ballot, putting her within touching distance of Ms Mordaunt as the right of the party appears to be coalescing around her.

Conservative MPs will cast their votes in their party’s leadership contest with the eventual winner expected to be announced on 5 September 2022

(Getty Images)

The momentum of her latest result now puts her favourite to face Mr Sunak in the head-to-head competition to win a ballot of Conservative members, with that result being announced on 5 September.

Ms Truss picked up 15 votes to command the support of 86 Tory MPs on Tuesday, after 31 votes were freed up by the elimination of Tom Tugendhat a day earlier.

Ms Mordaunt increased her share by 10 to sit on 92, while Mr Sunak gained an extra three votes to put him in 118, just shy of the number effectively guaranteeing him entry to the final phase.

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Chancellor promises post-Brexit ‘big bang’ for City in move to ditch EU finance laws

Nadhim Zahawi has promised to repeal hundreds of pieces of EU finance law on UK statute books, part of government push to deregulate the City of London in a post-Brexit “Big Bang”.

The chancellor told the annual Mansion House bankers’ dinner that he wanted to replace Brussels rules with a more “agile approach” to financial regulation.

Mr Zahawi confirmed that the financial services bill will be introduced in parliament on Wednesday – claiming it would “unleash growth” in the banking sector.

It is partly aimed at allowing reform of Solvency II regime which governments the insurance market across Europe, aimed at give insurers more flexibility to invest in infrastructure.

My colleague Adam Forrest has more:

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Nurses, teachers and police get pay rises of 4-5%

Millions of public sector workers have been awarded pay rises of between 4 and 5 per cent – prompting unions to prepare for autumn strike action, as chiefs lashed out at ”brutal” below-inflation increases.

About 2.5 million staff across Britain will soon see a hike in their pay packets after the government accepted “fair and sustainable” increases recommended by state review bodies.

But unions warned that they would ballot members on industrial action, pointing out that the “kick in the teeth” settlements will not keep pace with soaring inflation – currently running at 9.1 per cent.

Most full-time nurses in the NHS will only get a basic pay rise worth 4 per cent, a salary increase of about £1,400, though new nursing staff will see starting pay rise by 5.5 per cent to £27,055.

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‘Anti-Corbyn Labour officials covertly diverted election funds away from winnable seats’

Anti-Corbyn Labour officials secretly diverted 2017 election resources to candidates hostile to the leadership and away from “winnable seats”, a party inquiry has found.

The long-awaited Forde report, which has been seen in full by The Independent ahead of its publication, says senior staff hostile to Jeremy Corbyn set up a parallel operation to “covertly divert money and personnel” to their favoured candidates.

The report, commissioned by Keir Starmer in the early days of his leadership, found that a “toxic” atmosphere prevailed in Labour HQ, with staff communicating via “WhatsApp ‘echo chambers’”, which amplified hostility and “allowed the boundaries of acceptable conduct to become blurred”.

The Forde inquiry was set up to look into allegations detailed in a party dossier leaked in April 2020 which contained transcripts of private WhatsApp messages from staff suggesting officials worked to politically undermine the party’s leadership.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more:

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Sunak reallocating votes to Truss claims senior Tory

Former minister David Davis has accused Conservative leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak’s team of “reallocating” votes to Liz Truss because he believes he can beat the foreign secretary in the run-off.

The senior figure – a key backer of Penny Mordaunt’s campaign to become prime minister – claimed it was the “the dirtiest campaign” he had ever seen, and revealed he had asked for an inquiry.

Mr Davis said he had urged cabinet secretary Simon Case to examine into whether government resources had been used to help Ms Mordaunt’s rivals, claimed she had been subjected to “brutal” smears.

“It’s been the dirtiest campaign I’ve ever seen,” he told LBC. “I’ve written to the cabinet secretary, asked him to do an inquiry of the use of government resources in some respects.”

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Liz Truss odds-on to replace Boris Johnson, say bookmakers

Liz Truss is now the bookies’ favourite to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, as the Tory leadership race approaches its final stages.

Despite receiving the lowest number of votes of the three candidates to survive Tuesday’s ballot of Conservative MPs, the foreign secretary narrowed the gap between her closest rival Penny Mordaunt to just six – gaining more new votes than her two remaining rivals combined.

Her campaign team is now hoping to hoover up support from backers of newly-eliminated rival Kemi Badenoch ahead of the fifth ballot on Wednesday. They are urging their colleagues to “unite behind a candidate who will govern in a Conservative way and who has shown she can deliver time and again”.

Read the details in this report from Andy Gregory:

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Social housing tenants living in homes ‘unfit for human habitation’, MPs warn

Social housing in England has deteriorated so badly that some homes are now “unfit for human habitation”, according to group of MPs calling on the government to improve conditions.

MPs on the levelling up, housing and communities committee urged ministers to commit more funding for regeneration projects, and demanded that social housing providers “up their game”.

In a damning report, the committee said too many social landlords were stigmatising their tenants and leaving them in “appalling conditions and levels of disrepair”.

Social housing providers should face tougher action from a far more active regulator, MPs said – calling on the government to give the ombudsman the power to award far higher levels of compensation to tenants.

The cross-party group recommended that the government empower the sector’s regulator to order providers to award compensation of up to £25,000.

Read the full story from Adam Forrest here:

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Boris Johnson presented with books by hero Churchill as farewell gift at final cabinet meeting

Boris Johnson was presented with a set of books by his hero Winston Churchill as a farewell present from ministerial colleagues as he chaired his final cabinet meeting today.

Cabinet ministers – who paid for the first edition copies of Churchill’s six-volume history of the Second World War out of their own pockets – applauded the PM as he concluded the weekly meeting for the last time.

Addressing ministers on the first anniversary of the lifting of Covid restrictions, Mr Johnson set out what he clearly hopes will be seen as his legacy as PM, stating that the swift rollout of vaccines and early move out of lockdown had allowed the UK’s economy to recover faster than other countries.

But there was no reflection on the complaints over his performance and behaviour which forced his resignation two weeks ago.

Mr Johnson is expected to divide his time between No 10 and his country residence Chequers until he hands over to a successor on 5 September. No details have yet been released of any summer holiday plans.

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