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Newmarket MP Matt Hancock quits Tory leadership race

Matt Hancock MP....Picture Mark Westley. (12339917)
Matt Hancock MP....Picture Mark Westley. (12339917)

Newmarket MP Matt Hancock has dropped out of the Conservative leadership race.

Yesterday he won just 20 votes in the first ballot of Tory MPs, scraping through to the next round where he faced an uphill battle to progress further in the race.

But today the health secretary announced he would quit the battle for Number 10.

Could Matt be going for Gove? Matt Hancock pictured with Michael Gove in 2016.
Could Matt be going for Gove? Matt Hancock pictured with Michael Gove in 2016.

"I'm incredibly grateful for all the support I've received throughout this campaign and I'm really proud we've set the agenda in fighting for values of free enterprise and a free society and trying to make sure the Conservative Party is focused on delivering for people and winning the centre ground of politics," said the West Suffolk MP.

"I put myself forward as the candidate of the future but it's increasingly clear the party is understandably looking for a candidate for the unique circumstances that exist now.

"So I've decided to withdraw from this race and find other ways to advance the values I hold so strongly - the need for the Conservative Party to be pro-business, pro-enterprise, open, outward looking, gregarious and engage supporting every individual to make the best that they can in life.

"I will be talking to all the other candidates and see how best we can promote those values in the days to come in this contest and then through Government over the months and years ahead."

Those still in the race are Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Rory Stewart.

They go through to the next round on Tuesday followed by further ballots of MPs.

Conservative Party members will decide between the final two.

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