Liz Truss used her Conservative leadership campaign launch to stress her credentials to become prime minister, pledging that she would be ready from “day one”.

At a speech in central London on Thursday morning, the foreign secretary and MP for South West Norfolk admitted that she did not have a conventional Tory background but promised to deliver Conservative values while in office.

“I will campaign as a Conservative and I will govern as a Conservative,” she said.

“I am ready to be prime minister from day one.”

She opened her speech with a clear message: “We are at a critical moment for our country.

“Now is the time to be bold, we cannot have business-as-usual economic management, which has led to low growth for decades.”

To shouts of “hear, hear”, she said that it was time to deliver on Brexit and “win the fight for freedom, at home and abroad”.

Ms Truss has been South West Norfolk MP since 2010 and is also minister for women and equalities, having also previously held government roles including as justice secretary, chief secretary to the Treasury and international trade secretary.

In Wednesday's first round of voting by Tory MPs, Ms Truss finished third with 50 votes, behind former chancellor Rishi Sunak (88) and trade minister Penny Mordaunt (67).

She was speaking in central London ahead of the second round of votes, with the results confirmed at 3pm - with Ms Truss still in third place, picking up a further 14 votes.

Suella Braverman was knocked out of the contest after picking up 27 votes, leaving five contenders, still led by Mr Sunak (101), Ms Mordaunt (83) and Ms Truss (64), ahead of Kemi Badenoch (49) and Tom Tugenhadt (32).

Ms Truss’s leadership election team claimed she is attracting a wide range of support from across the Tory party, as they indicted Ms Braverman’s supporters should now back the foreign secretary.

A spokeswoman said: “Today’s results show that Liz Truss is attracting a wide range of supporters from across the Conservative Party.

“Suella Braverman ran a campaign that she can rightly be proud.

“As Liz set out in her speech now is the time for MPs to unite behind the candidate who will cut taxes, deliver the real economic change we need, continue to deliver the benefits of Brexit and ensure Putin loses in Ukraine.

“Liz Truss has the experience to deliver from day one, grow our economy and support working families and then beat Labour.”

Quizzed at her launch event on why she had not quit Boris Johnson’s cabinet, Ms Truss said that she was a “loyalist”.

She explained: “I am a loyal person. I am loyal to Boris Johnson. I supported our prime minister’s aspirations.”

However, while she promised to continue the government’s levelling-up ambitions, she also pledged a change of tack on the economy and to reverse the planned rise in national insurance.

Ms Truss dodged questions about worries she could be outflanked by rival Mordaunt, instead stressing the wide array of talent the leadership contest is displaying.

The MPs from our region to have publicly backed Ms Truss are Chloe Smith (Norwich North) and Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal).

George Freeman (Mid Norfolk) and Duncan Baker (North Norfolk) have backed Ms Mordaunt for leader and James Wild (North West Norfolk) has backed Mr Sunak.

The next vote will be on Monday, with TV debates announced for Friday by Channel Four, Sunday by ITV and Monday by Sky News.