Clarke out in Tory leadership race

Kenneth Clarke has been eliminated in the first round of voting in the Conservative leadership race.

The departure of the former Chancellor leaves David Davis, David Cameron and Dr Liam Fox still in the running to replace Michael Howard as Tory party leader.

Mr Clarke had been the favourite to be eliminated in the first MPs ballot.

On Monday, Mr Clarke had remained confident of his chances of making it through to the second round. Speaking after the hustings, organised by the party’s 1922 Committee, he said: “I actually sense that what the membership want is David Cameron and myself to go forward at the end.”

The former Chancellor, who has a large amount of support among the party’s membership, had also said that he felt there would be “a great deal of ill feeling” if he did not make it through to the final round of the contest.

Shadow Education Secretary David Cameron is the current bookie’s favourite to replace Michael Howard as party leader.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis had previously been the favourite to replace Mr Howard until his poorly received conference speech at the Conservative party conference two weeks ago.

Mr Cameron, on the other hand, received much praise for his speech and has also managed to survive a potential scandal over his refusal to answer allegations of possible hard drugs use in his youth.

The three surviving contenders will face another MPs ballot on Thursday, where another contender will be eliminated. The final two contenders will have a month of campaigning, before the final vote in December. All 300,000 members of the Conservative party will be able to cast their vote to decide who the next party leader will be. The result will be announced on December 6.


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