Tory leadership: Two MPs pull out (Image: GETTY)
The candidate list had ballooned to 13 at the beginning of the week following the announcement that Sam Gyimah would run but that same list has now been reduced following the withdrawals of James Cleverly and Kit Malthouse. The two ministers were considered as two of the weaker candidates with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove surging ahead as the two leading contenders to become the Prime Minister. On the announcement of his withdrawal from the race, Mr Malthouse admitted that there was an “appetite for this contest to be over quickly”.
Although he insisted that he thought he could make a significant impact on the race, Mr Malthouse added that there was a desire “for the nation to have a new leader in place as soon as possible”.
The move from both MPs comes as the Conservative party confirmed changes to limit the numbers of MPs proceeding through the latter stages of a contest which has been labelled as “shambolic” by Ken Clarke.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Cleverly was forced to admit that he would “progress to the final two candidates”.
The Brexit Minister’s announcement comes less than a week after he announced his desire to run in the race.