Kit Malthouse has withdrawn from the Tory leadership race.
The housing minister became the second candidate to pull out of the running to become Conservative Party leader, following Brexit minister James Cleverly’s decision to end his bid earlier on Tuesday.
Some 11 candidates remain, with Boris Johnson currently the favourite to succeed Theresa May.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Malthouse said: “I have decided to withdraw from the contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Thank you to all those who have supported me.”
He added: “When I announced my intention to seek the leadership of the Conservative Party, I did so believing that I could make a real difference in delivering a Brexit that would command the support of the House of Commons.
“After 20 years in front line politics as a councillor, Deputy Mayor, MP and Minister, I also wanted to lead a new generation of Conservatives stepping forward at a time of profound change in our country.
“But that experience has also made me a realist and the last few days have demonstrated that there is an appetite for this contest to be over quickly and for the nation to have a new leader in place as soon as possible.
“As such, it seems right to me that I withdraw my candidature and wish those remaining the very best, always recognising there are going to be very challenging times ahead.”