Tory leadership: Rishi Sunak wins support of half of MPs
Rishi Sunak has the support of half of Tory MPs in his bid to become the next leader and prime minister.
The former chancellor has received public backing from around 180 colleagues, with a few hours still to go until the 2pm deadline.
His sole rival Penny Mordaunt is so far refusing to concede, despite having only a quarter of backers she needs to make it onto a ballot paper.
Boris Johnson last night pulled out of the race, despite insisting he had won the support of over 100 MPs.
In a statement, the former prime minister said it would "simply not be the right thing to do". He also said it would not be possible to "govern effectively" without a "united party".
Before pulling out, the number of MPs publicly supporting Johnson was around 60.
Sunak officially confirmed he would enter the race on Sunday, pledging to “fix our economy, unite our party and deliver for our country”.
Mordaunt confirmed she would stand last week, saying she would “deliver the winning 2019 manifesto”.
Nominations close at 2pm on Monday afternoon. If there is only one nominee, they will automatically become leader of the party.
If there are two nominees, the vote will go to the Conservative membership with an online ballot to take place in a matter of days.
The battle for leadership started last week following the dramatic resignation of Liz Truss, who lasted just 45 days on the top job.
She had defeated Sunak in the membership vote over the summer.