MP Jesse Norman’s pick for Conservative party leader and prime minister Nadhim Zahawi was knocked out of the leadership race in the first round of voting. It is as-of-yet unknown who Mr Norman will next endorse for the leadership.

Six candidates now remain:

  • Rishi Sunak,
  • Penny Mordaunt,
  • Liz Truss,
  • Kemi Badenoch,
  • Tom Tugenhat.

Candidates are now preparing for a number of public, televised debates. The final two candidates are expected to emerge by the end of next week and the race will be thrown open to Conservative party members. That second stage of the race will take place over the summer, with televised debates and nationwide campaigns.

At this stage, the race is expected to be between Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak. A recent poll by YouGov has put Ms Mordaunt as the likely win amongst party members, but this is early days and could easily change.

That ballot amongst party members will then decide who will replace Johnson as prime minister, taking the office on September 6.

The Hereford and South Herefordshire MP posted his endorsement on social media over the weekend.

Powering up our economy is fundamentally about aspiration, innovation, competition and entrepreneurship. Four reasons why I’m delighted to be backing the dynamic Nadhim Zahawi to be our next prime minister.

Jesse Norman MP

There were some who wanted Jesse Norman himself to join the race. Professor at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Sarah Garfinkel said on social media: “I hope very much Jesse Norman will be running. A brilliant man with integrity, compassion, and vision. I’m not a Tory , but the past few years has made me appreciate when there is a good one.”

Good to know who Jesse is backing. ‘Cut Taxes’ is clearly this contest’s key slogan, and Trumpian code for ‘shrink the state’. But where we actually need growth is in care, education, ecology, public transport, health, legal services.

Herefordshire councillor Diana Toynbee, who has stood three times as a Green parliamentary candidate in the county

Mr Zahawi, who was born in Baghdad to Kurdish Iraqi parents, briefly became chancellor of the exchequer following the resignation of Rishi Sunak earlier this month, but within 48 hours, Mr Zahawi had himself called on Boris Johnson to step down, which he did shortly afterwards.