Former health secretaries Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have both been knocked out of the race to become the next Tory leader and Prime Minister.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, the former vaccines minister, also failed to get the required backing from fellow MPs.
Mr Javid fell out of the race yesterday, failing to get backing from 20 MPs, while the other two were not backed by 30 MPs in today’s ballot.
A third ballot to reduce the number of contenders is to be held tomorrow, with the winning candidate to replace caretaker Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be announced 5 September.
Mr Hunt had previously unsuccessfully attempted to become Prime Minister following Theresa May’s resignation in 2019.
In this contest, he had argued that he was the right candidate to ‘win back trust’ for the Conservative Party because he had not backed Mr Johnson amid his recent scandals.
Mr Hunt told Pulse editor Jaimie Kaffash in an exclusive interview in April this year that he had ‘not ruled out going back into frontline politics in the future’.
Mr Johnson was ultimately brought down over alleged Number 10 dishonesty regarding what he knew about misconduct allegations prior to appointing his deputy chief whip.
However, discontent had been growing since the news of Mr Johnson having broken his own lockdown rules with Number 10 parties.