Tory leadership debate: Final five to face off as Rishi Sunak once again becomes bookies' favourite

conservative leadership debate 2022 tv penny mordaunt rishi sunak - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
conservative leadership debate 2022 tv penny mordaunt rishi sunak - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The Conservative leadership candidates face off in the second televised debate tonight as time runs out to make their pitches to their party.

Rishi Sunak - the bookmakers' favourite once again - takes on Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat in an hour-long ITV debate from 7pm.

Mr Tugendhat was seen by the public to have won Friday's first debate, but there was no 'game-changing' moment despite hopefuls trading blows on tax and trans issues.

Tory MPs will vote again tomorrow and then on Tuesday, with the candidates who receive the fewest votes eliminated - leaving just three in the race by Tuesday night.

Follow the latest - and get involved in the comments section to let us know your thoughts.

06:16 PM

Sunak seeks to regain momentum

Rishi Sunak, the former Chancellor, went into the campaign as the early favourite but this week found himself usurped by Penny Mordaunt’s run and attacks over tax from Liz Truss.

rishi sunak tory leadership teesside - Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
rishi sunak tory leadership teesside - Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

He confidently defended his record on Friday and accused Ms Truss of “fairy tales” on the economy, insisting there will be no tax cuts until inflation is brought under control. He still remains very likely to make the final two.

06:13 PM

Will the Penny drop further?

Penny Mordaunt, the international trade minister, has faced a bruising week since she emerged as a surprise frontrunner and the initial favourite in grassroots polling.

Penny Mordaunt Tory leadership contender - Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Penny Mordaunt Tory leadership contender - Victoria Jones/PA Wire

She has sought to clarify her position on transgender issues - which has been a bone of contention among many in her party’s ranks - and, following something of an underwhelming performance on Friday, she will be hoping to regain momentum in this second showdown.

06:08 PM

The bookies fancy Sunak's chances

After a week in which Penny Mordaunt's surging popularity sent shockwaves through Westminster, Rishi Sunak is once again the bookmakers' favourite to become Tory leader.

Polling on Monday and Tuesday suggested Ms Mordaunt was the grassroots pick to enter Downing Street, but she has faced a punishing week as scrutiny stepped up over her seemingly shifting position on transgender issues.

Mr Sunak is now most likely to become PM for the first time since Tuesday, current odds show.

06:01 PM

Good evening

Dominic Penna here, the Telegraph’s political reporter, guiding you through the second of three live and televised Conservative leadership debates.

Kemi Badenoch, Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat set out their stall from 7pm after a week that has been dominated by toxic briefings as much as policy pledges.

Penny Mordaunt Liz Truss Kemi Badenoch Rishi Sunak Tom Tugendhat - Getty Images
Penny Mordaunt Liz Truss Kemi Badenoch Rishi Sunak Tom Tugendhat - Getty Images

With two candidates eliminated tomorrow and Tuesday respectively, tonight is their last chance to impress the MPs who will ultimately decide whether they progress to the final two.