Both Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt are yet to reach the necessary votes to be on the Tory leadership ballot (Picture: Getty/REX)
But as it is often the case in Westminster, the race for premiership is all but over, and contenders are doing their best to secure the votes.
According to sources close to the House of Commons, the former PM resulted in asking Ms Mordaunt to drop out and back his campaign.
It is understood the Commons leader turned down his offer, warning him that most of her support would switch to Mr Sunak if she did.
Instead, she put another plan on the table – that Mr Johnson drops out and leave her to face the former chancellor alone, the Telegraph reported.
Currently, Mr Sunak remains the only candidate who has secured the necessary endorsements from Tory MPs, reaching 127.
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Ms Mordaunt appearing on the BBC’s ‘Sunday Morning’ programme today (Picture: AFP)
Just today, he gained several more valuable backers in new home secretary Grant Shapps, work and pensions secretary Chloe Smith and two influential figures on the Tory right – Suella Braverman and Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson who is yet to formally declare he is again running for the top job is believed to have 45 supporters.
His supporters have downplayed the fact he is lagging behind, saying he is ‘clearly’ running.
It comes as the disgraced politician is to face an inquiry into whether he lied to the Commons over the Partygate scandal, for which he was fined by police.
Mr Johnson hurried back from his holiday at the Caribbean, following the resignation of Liz Truss (Picture: PA)
Only 23 MPs have said publicly that they will vote for Ms Mordaunt, despite her previous remarks she is ‘in this to win it’.
Earlier today, the leadership hopeful stressed she was not ‘contemplating how the other camps are organising themselves’.
Appearing on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I am very confident about the progress we are making and I will say to you I am in this to win it.
‘It is important for our party to have a contest and I am very confident about our numbers.
‘The reason why I am doing this is because I think I am best placed to bring the party together. We can’t deliver for people, they are fed up.’
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Ms Mordaunt said she is ‘very confident about our numbers’.