Liam Fox has said he is "disappointed" not to be in the final two after being knocked out of the Tory leadership race in a ballot of MPs.
He said he had given the other candidates "a great run for their money" and hoped he had helped shape the future agenda of the Tory party.
"It has been a great contest," said Dr Fox, who polled 51 votes.
David Cameron, who polled 90 votes and David Davis who got 57, now have six weeks to convince party members.
Speaking outside the House of Commons, Dr Fox said: "Naturally I'm disappointed not to be in the final pairing but that's politics.
"I would like also to thank my team. We came from behind all the way through and provided everyone with a great run for their money.
"It's been a great contest I've thoroughly enjoyed it. We've set out a very clear agenda in a very uncompromising way. I set out what I believed in and I will continue to do that.
"Now of course with two candidates left they will be looking for an endorsement and I will be listening with very great interest in the coming weeks to see what the candidates have to say."
He said he would endorse the candidate who most closely endorsed "the programme I have set out in the past few weeks".
That meant promoting a "prosperity agenda" and "standing up for British interests in Europe".