News, Politics

First Tory authority hopefuls will be killed TODAY: Rishi Sunak gets the help of Boris partner Steve Barclay as he’s blamed for filthy stunts to make triumph look ‘inevitable’… while Nadim Zahawi says he would give the previous PM a task

Rishi Sunak has secured an endorsement from new Health Secretary Steve Barclay as his campaign pushes to make victory look 'inevitable'. But his seven rivals are increasingly turning their fire on the front runner, accusing him of 'dirty tricks' by lending votes to candidates he is confident of beating and paying lip service to policies such as scrapping the BBC licence fee. One source on a rival camp told MailOnline that Mr Sunak's team including former chief whip Gavin Williamson were trying to 'bounce' the party and it could 'backfire'. 'There's nothing people like less than feeling like they are being bounced into something over which they don't have any control,' the source said. 'It could massively backfire. Our MPs also really really dislike the idea that they are being played quite so obviously - which is clearly what Gavin and crew are up to.' As the temperature rose again today, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi risked a backlash by suggesting he would offer Mr Johnson a Cabinet job if he wins. Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been gaining backers, and trade minister Penny Mordaunt is due to launch her campaign officially later.

Rishi Sunak has secured an endorsement from new Health Secretary Steve Barclay as his campaign pushes to make victory look ‘inevitable’. But his seven rivals are increasingly turning their fire on the front runner, accusing him of ‘dirty tricks’ by lending votes to candidates he is confident of beating and paying lip service to policies such as scrapping the BBC licence fee. One source on a rival camp told MailOnline that Mr Sunak’s team including former chief whip Gavin Williamson were trying to ‘bounce’ the party and it could ‘backfire’. ‘There’s nothing people like less than feeling like they are being bounced into something over which they don’t have any control,’ the source said. ‘It could massively backfire. Our MPs also really really dislike the idea that they are being played quite so obviously – which is clearly what Gavin and crew are up to.’ As the temperature rose again today, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi risked a backlash by suggesting he would offer Mr Johnson a Cabinet job if he wins. Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been gaining backers, and trade minister Penny Mordaunt is due to launch her campaign officially later.

Rishi Sunak has been embraced by Boris Johnson partner Steve Barclay as he piles up help from Tory MPs
Previous Chancellor’s group is supposed to be attempting to make triumph look ‘inescapable’ with gigantic number of supporters
He is among eight hopefuls who have caused the primary round of casting a ballot today however not all will to endure the polling form
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries the previous evening blamed Team Sunak for the ‘dull expressions’ and ‘filthy stunts’ on Twitter
Rishi Sunak added a key Boris Johnson partner to his roll call of sponsor today as Tories prepare for more blood draining in the main round of casting a ballot.

The Chancellor has gotten a support from new Health Secretary Steve Barclay as his mission pushes to make triumph look ‘inescapable’.
In any case, his seven adversaries are progressively turning their fire on the leader, blaming him for ‘messy stunts’ by loaning votes to up-and-comers he is sure of beating and offering empty talk to approaches, for example, rejecting the BBC permit charge.

One source on an opponent camp told MailOnline that Mr Sunak’s group including previous boss whip Gavin Williamson were attempting to ‘bob’ the party and it could ‘misfire’.

Who has endured to the main Tory polling form?
Kemi Badenoch

Proposed: Lee Rowley

Favored: Julia Lopez

Suella Braverman

Proposed: David Jones

Favored: Miriam Cates

Jeremy Hunt

Proposed: Esther McVey

Supported: Anthony Mangnall

Penny Mordaunt

Proposed: Andrea Leadsom

Supported: Craig Tracey

Rishi Sunak

Proposed: Dominic Raab

Supported: Mel Stride

Liz Truss

Proposed: Simon Clarke

Supported: Therese Coffey

Tom Tugendhat

Proposed: Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Supported: James Daly

Nadhim Zahawi

Proposed: Brandon Lewis

Supported: Amanda Milling

‘There’s nothing individuals like not as much as feeling like they are being bobbed into something over which they have no control,’ the source said. ‘It could hugely blow up. Our MPs additionally super aversion that they are being played so clearly – which is obviously what Gavin and team are doing.’

As the temperature climbed again today, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi gambled with a reaction by proposing he would extend to Mr Johnson a Cabinet employment opportunity in the event that he wins.

In the interim, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been acquiring benefactors, with Brexiteers Iain Duncan Smith and Mark Francois arranging behind her.

Exchange serve Penny Mordaunt is because of send off her mission formally later.

Mr Sunak has gone under weighty fire for excusing the possibility of prompt tax reductions, however attempted to paint himself as a Thatcherite today.

He let The Telegraph know that his financial vision added up to ‘sound judgment Thatcherism’ and demands ‘you need to acquire what you spend’.

Yet, Nadine Dorries the previous evening blamed Mr Sunak for ‘dim expressions’ and ‘filthy stunts’ in the midst of cases that a few allies had been told to assist Jeremy Hunt with passing the primary obstacle.

Jacob Rees-Mogg was one more partner of Mr Johnson to attack the ‘traitorous’ Mr Sunak, guaranteeing that his decision Ms Truss had ‘reliably in Cabinet went against his assessment climbs’ as of late.

Alongside Mr Sunak, Ms Mordaunt, Ms Truss, Mr Zahawi and Mr Hunt, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman, and Kemi Badenoch made the assignments limit.

The principal vote will be start at 1.30pm, with the outcomes due soon after 3.30pm.

The applicants require backing from somewhere around 30 MPs out of the 358 all out to get by into the second round on Thursday.

Essentially the most reduced put competitor will be killed in each polling form until two remain.

They will then be placed to party individuals in a postal polling form, with hustings held across the UK during August.

The new pioneer will be reported on September 5, becoming PM the next day.

Cautioning of Mr Sunak’s financial arrangement yesterday, Mr Hunt told LBC radio: ‘Rishi Sunak is… expanding enterprise duty and it will be higher than America or Japan, yet France and Germany too.

‘Furthermore, I’m concerned that on our ongoing direction, we’re going into downturn, and we’ll show up for a really long time…

‘I was exceptionally stressed when he reported his financial plan… What struck me was this cutting of the development conjecture for the following year.’

Previous wellbeing secretary Sajid Javid – who set off the upset against Boris Johnson by leaving last week – exited the previous evening subsequent to missing the mark concerning the 20 supports from Conservative MPs expected to highlight in the primary round.

Home Secretary Priti Patel likewise pulled out and wouldn’t say who she will back, yet her exit is a possible fillip to Ms Truss’ mission.

Shock up-and-comer Rehman Chishti additionally surrendered rout right away with maybe some time to spare in the wake of getting no allies.

As the political show accumulates pace at Westminster today:

Mr Zahawi has conceded that tax breaks shouldn’t occur until wild expansion is managed;
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng guaranteed

‘even the Prince of Wales was keen on’

the Tory initiative political decision as he blended at a beverages gathering at Buckingham Palace;
The UK economy challenged fears of an approaching downturn by flooding 0.5 percent in May.

Liz Truss

Rishi Sunak
Mr Sunak, seen as one of the favourite candidates to replace Mr Johnson, has said his economic vision amounted to ‘common sense Thatcherism’
As the temperature rose again today, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (pictured) risked a backlash by suggesting he would offer Mr Johnson a Cabinet job if he wins

Rishi claims to be ‘grown up option’ as he launches leadership charge

The contest to be crowned the new Tory leader – and become Boris Johnson’s replacement as Prime Minister – will formally begin today.

Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the Conservatives’ 1922 Committee, has revealed that the winner will be known on 5th September.

But how will the party choose, between now and then, from the long list of contenders?

Here’s how the election process will work…

Today – The first ballot of Tory MPs will take place between 1.30pm to 3.30pm, with a result to be announced later in the day. Any candidates who receive fewer than 30 votes in this first ballot will be automatically eliminated. If all candidates meet the 30-vote threshold, then the candidate with the lowest number of votes will be knocked out the contest.

Tomorrow – A second ballot of Tory MPs will be held which will see the candidate with the lowest number of votes eliminated.

Next week – Further rounds of ballots among Tory MPs will continue, as necessary, until the list of contenders is whittled down to a final two. The lowest-scoring candidate will drop out each time.

21st July – MPs will head away from Westminster for their summer break, meaning this is the deadline for a final pairing to be decided in the parliamentary stage of the leadership election.

Late July and August – CCHQ will assume responsibility for leadership election and will send out ballot papers to around 200,000 Conservative Party members. The Tory grassroots will be asked to decide between the final two candidates, with hustings events to be held across the UK.

5th September –  The result of the membership ballot is announced, with the candidate receiving more than 50 per cent of the vote being declared the new Tory leader and Boris Johnson’s replacement as Prime Minister.

6th September – The new Tory leader is likely to be formally appointed as PM during a visit to the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

7th September – The new PM is set to be quizzed in the House of Commons in their first ever Prime Minister’s Questions.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay became the latest big-name backer for Mr Sunak, saying ‘he has all the right attributes to take our country forward’.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has been out batting for the front runner on the airwaves, saying he was

‘clearly a guy who is fiscally conservative, wants to get the debt and deficit down, who wants to get the debt falling as a proportion of the overall economy – the idea that this is a socialist is clearly not true’.

Mr Sunak used a Daily Telegraph interview to claim his economic vision amounted to

‘common sense Thatcherism’.

He insisted that he would take a more responsible approach to tax cuts.

‘We will cut taxes and we will do it responsibly. That’s my economic approach. I would describe it as common sense Thatcherism. I believe that’s what she would have done.’

Mr Sunak also indicated that he would not lift the ban on new grammar schools nor the hunting ban.

And he declined to back an increase in defence spending – something that other hopefuls including Mr Tugendhat and Mr Hunt have been pushing.

Mr Zahawi was questioned about his plans to cut taxes, denying he was relying on a ‘magic money tree’ to fund his plan.

The Chancellor has pledged to reduce basic rate income tax by 1p to 19p in 2023 and then again to 18p in 2024.

He has also promised to scrap a planned increase in corporation tax and remove VAT and green levies from energy bills for two years.

‘This is a fully costed plan,’

Mr Zahawi told BBC Radio 4’s Today. ‘You will see I demonstrated in every job I’ve had that I deliver, whether it’s vaccines, or the Department of Education.

‘I will do the same thing: I will evidence it and you will see it and I will come on your programme and show it to you if I am prime minister.’

He acknowledged that Mr Sunak is the frontrunner in the leadership race, but insisted he could still make up ground on his rival.

‘Colleagues will be making their minds up… a lot of undeclared colleagues remain. Rishi out in the lead, no doubt. He is a very talented man, he would make a great prime minister,’

he told Sky News.

‘But I think I can deliver. I am the man who has a track record of operational competence. I have the track record of delivering the (Covid) vaccine.’

Mr Zahawi also suggested he would offer Mr Johnson a job if he wins the keys to Downing Street.

He told LBC radio: ‘Boris Johnson is a friend of mine of 30 years. If he wishes to serve in Cabinet, I would certainly offer him a job.

‘He has been probably the most consequential Prime Minister of his generation. He has delivered Brexit.’

Mr Hunt described claims he had been lent support by Mr Sunak as

‘absolute nonsense’.

He pointed to how each of his 20 supporters had to sign his nomination form – and so he would have been aware of any who had not been previous supporters.

After some speculation that he might not make it through to tomorrow’s first ballot, Mr Hunt revealed he had reached the threshold of 20 MPs ‘quite comfortably’ in the end.

Sources close to Mr Sunak described the Ms Dorries’ accusations as ‘complete nonsense’ and a

‘dirty story being spread by anti-Rishi people’.

As the mudslinging intensified, Business Secretary Mr Kwarteng attended an event hosted by Charles for recipients of The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise at the palace.

The Conservative MP was among a line of people who greeted Charles as he arrived, and as they chatted Mr Kwarteng appeared to make the remark.

Asked about the exchange later on, Mr Kwarteng said: ‘It’s kicking off, the leadership, even the Prince of Wales is interested in the Tory leadership.

‘We do this every three years – but there you go.’

And speaking on his podcast for the ConservativeHome website, Mr Rees-Mogg insisted there was ‘a problem with the timescale of the leadership election’ as he took a swipe at Mr Sunak.

‘Those who have been disloyal to the PM have had plenty of time to set up their campaigns,’

the Cabinet minister said.

‘Those who have undermined the PM, sometimes by actually running – dare I say it – not a very successful economic policy, have had six months or more where they have been cogitating, mulling, considering their next steps.

‘Where people who have been loyal to the PM, of course, haven’t.

‘Because people who have been loyal to the PM wanted him to carry on and therefore weren’t considering a leadership campaign.

‘And I think there is a difficulty that haste favours the disloyal, rather than the loyal.’

A ConservativeHome survey has suggested that Mr Sunak would lose to his main rivals in a head-to-head run-off

A ConservativeHome survey has suggested that Mr Sunak would lose to his main rivals in a head-to-head run-off

Sir Graham Brady (fourth from left) chairman of the 1922 Committee, announces in the Houses of Parliament, which MPs have gained the support of the 20 MPs required to go into the Conservative Party leadership contest

Sir Graham Brady (fourth from left) chairman of the 1922 Committee, announces in the Houses of Parliament, which MPs have gained the support of the 20 MPs required to go into the Conservative Party leadership contest
Meanwhile, announcing his withdrawal on Tuesday evening, Mr Javid tweeted: ‘I have withdrawn from the Conservative leadership race. We now have an opportunity to renew and reunite as a party.

‘In the last few days we have already seen an abundance of talent and ideas. I look forward to working together and delivering for our great country.’

Earlier, Home Secretary Priti Patel also withdrew, with signs that MPs who had been in her group are now shifting to Ms Truss.

The Foreign Secretary has gained the endorsement of prominent Boris Johnson loyalists Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries and James Cleverly, in what is being seen as a concerted move to prevent Mr Sunak entering No 10.

But Mr Sunak was well over the threshold as he formally launched his campaign this morning, introduced by deputy PM Dominic Raab and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

At a second hustings event on Tuesday, hosted by the Common Sense Group of Tory MPs, candidates were each allotted 12 minutes to take questions.

Asked how she had fared after speaking before Mr Hunt at the event this evening, Penny Mordaunt said:

‘Alright, no one threw anything!’

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also left the room declaring: ‘It’s hot!’

When Tom Tugendhat departed to the traditional sound of the banging of desks, he said:

‘Lots of banging, who doesn’t like banging?’

An MP on Suella Braverman’s campaign team said they had already been approached tonight by supporters of those candidates who dropped out of the contest today.

Although she appeared last at the second hustings of the night, Ms Mordaunt quipped she was

‘first in our hearts’.

And, asked if she was ready for a grilling by Tory MPs, she added:

‘Still afloat, ready to return fire!’

One MP, speaking after the hustings had ended, said there was ‘not a weak candidate’ among the eight who remain in the contest.

They predicted that the final three would be Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss.

Another MP revealed they had quizzed each candidate on the Channel migrants crisis, with a number of them telling the hustings event they would keep open the option of leaving the European Convention of Human Rights.

The MP added that, although their colleagues would be choosing candidates who most closely aligned with their views, they were also deciding based on who they thought would do best against Labour at a general election.

Although the MP is supporting Kemi Badenoch, they predicted Ms Mordaunt could also prove popular with the wider public.

Chishti honestly reveals he did not believe he would become PM

There are signs that some previous supporters of Priti Patel are moving to Liz Truss after she withdrew

There are signs that some previous supporters of Priti Patel are moving to Liz Truss after she withdrew

Mr Sunak already appears to be well over the threshold as he formally launched his campaign this morning, introduced by deputy PM Dominic Raab and Grant Shapps

Mr Sunak already appears to be well over the threshold as he formally launched his campaign this morning, introduced by deputy PM Dominic Raab and Grant Shapps

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab (pictured) today gave his backing to Mr Sunak’s campaign to become the next Tory leader and Prime Minister

Earlier, at his launch this morning, former Chancellor Mr Sunak again batted away calls for tax cuts before inflation is under control, saying

‘we need to have a grown up conversation’.

At the event in Westminster, he also heaped praise on Boris Johnson, describing him as ‘one of the most remarkable people I have ever met’ who has a ‘good heart’ – but it was ‘not working’ any more.

Mr Sunak – who only took a few questions from the media while journalists asking combative points were heckled by the crowd – said his plan was to ‘tackle inflation, grow the economy and cut taxes’.

‘I want to have a grown up conversation where I can tell you the truth,’

he said.

Mr Raab said before the speech: ‘We need a leader who can win… he is the only one who can win.’

In news that will cause alarm in Mr Sunak’s camp, a ConservativeHome poll has found that he would lose to his main rivals in the run-off ballot of Tory members.

Announcing the end of her leadership bid, Home Secretary Ms Patel said in a statement: ‘I am grateful for the encouragement and support colleagues and Party members have offered me in recent days in suggesting that I enter the contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs.

‘As Home Secretary I have always put the security and safety of our country and the national interest first and my focus is to continue working to get more police on our streets, support our amazing security services to keep our country safe and control our borders.

‘As a lifelong and committed Conservative, I will always make the case for freedom, enterprise and opportunity and work with colleagues to deliver these values in Government.

‘Like all Conservative MPs and Party members, I will be listening to cases being put forward by the candidates standing for the leadership of the Party and trust the contest will be conducted in a good spirit that brings our Party together.’

Nominations for the first vote will be held at 1.30pm tomorrow.

Those who made the first ballot will now require backing from 30 MPs out of the 358 total to survive into the second round on Thursday.

At least the lowest-placed contender will be eliminated in each ballot until two remain. They will then be put to party members in a postal ballot, with hustings held across the UK during August.

The new leader will be announced on September 5, becoming PM the following day.

At his launch, Mr Sunak delivered a sharp barb at his rivals, suggesting their tax plans are ‘not credible’ as he said he would only reduce them after inflation is under control.

The former chancellor said: ‘It is not credible to promise lots more spending and lower taxes.

‘I had to make some of the most difficult choices of my life as chancellor, in particular how to deal with our debt and borrowing after Covid. I have never hidden away from those, I certainly won’t pretend now the choices I made and the things I voted for were somehow not necessary.

‘While that may be politically inconvenient for me, it is also the truth. As is the fact that once we’ve gripped inflation, I will get the tax burden down. It is a question of when, not if.

Mr Sunak said that Mr Johnson is ‘flawed’ like all politicians and they often disagreed.

But he added: ‘I will have no part in a rewriting of history that seeks to demonize Boris, exaggerate his faults or deny his efforts.

‘I am running a positive campaign focused on what my leadership can offer our party and our country. I will not engage in the negativity you have seen and read in the media. If others wish to do that, then let them. That is not who we are. We can be better than that.’

He also flatly dismissed the idea he was in cahoots with maverick ex-No10 chief Dominic Cummings – as some rival camps have alleged.

‘Dominic Cummings has had absolutely nothing to do with this campaign and will have absolutely nothing to do with any government that I’m privileged to lead,’

he said.

‘For the record, I’ve not communicated with Dominic Cummings since the day he left Downing Street.’

But despite Mr Sunak’s slick campaign event, the ConservativeHome survey suggests he still has work to do to win over members.

Although it is not scientific, the grassroots polls are closely watched.

And they show Mr Sunak would lose to Ms Mordaunt by 58 per cent to 31 per cent, and Ms Truss by 51 per cent to 34 per cent.

The findings contrasted with an Opinium poll of Tory members for Channel 4 News, which found Mr Sunak would beat both Ms Truss and Ms Mordaunt in a run-off.

Ms Truss has warned the Tory Right it risks handing Mr Sunak the keys to No10 unless it unites behind her.

The Foreign Secretary‘s allies urged her rivals on the Thatcherite wing of the party to end their campaigns and back her.

Jacob Rees-Mogg insists Liz Truss is the ‘right candidate’

A poll has shown that Mr Sunak would lose to Ms Mordaunt by 58 per cent to 31 per cent, and Ms Truss by 51 per cent to 34 per cent

At a speech today, Mr Tugendhat (pictured) promised to slash fuel duty by 10p if elected as prime minister

At a speech today, Mr Tugendhat (pictured) promised to slash fuel duty by 10p if elected as prime minister

Ms Dorries and Mr Rees-Mogg said they are backing Ms Truss in the leadership contest as she is a ‘stronger Brexiteer’ than either of them.

Speaking to reporters in Downing Street after a Cabinet meeting, Ms Dorries said: ‘I have sat with Liz in Cabinet now for some time.

‘[I’m] very aware that she’s probably a stronger Brexiteer than the both of us.

‘She has consistently argued for low tax policies and I’m particularly concerned about the 14 million people who voted for a manifesto and voted for a Government that the candidate that we select, for me it’s Liz who I’m going to back, will continue with those manifesto policies and will continue to deliver for the Government and the Conservative Party moving forward.’

At a speech today, Mr Tugendhat promised to slash fuel duty by 10p if elected as prime minister.

The Tory leadership candidate said: ‘I am here to make the case that our economy can only prosper if we believe that people—and not Westminster—know best how to spend their money.

‘I know the pain families are feeling now. That is why my first pledge is to take fuel duty down by 10p a litre. My second is to reverse the national insurance rise. This isn’t about percentages. It’s about jobs. That’s why I didn’t vote for the increase then, and I wouldn’t now.’

Mr Tugendhat has dismissed criticism of his lack of ministerial experience after Dominic Raab said it was ‘no time to learn on the job’.

He said: ‘The reality is that the job of prime minister is unlike every other job in government. It’s not a management job, it’s not a departmental job. It’s a job that demands vision and leadership, it demands a willingness to serve and to throw everything in the duty of serving the British people.

‘This is no time to learn. What this is, is a time to look at a record of service and a record of delivery in some of the most difficult and trying conditions around the world, and to see that this isn’t learning on the job, this is putting all that experience to work on the job.’

He has also pledged 3 per cent of GDP on defence spending, adding: ‘Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine shows we face the most severe national security threats of a generation.

‘A sudden u-turn on defence spending would undermine our credibility in NATO.’

Meanwhile, in a swipe at Mr Sunak, Mr Zahawi said ‘cutting taxes isn’t a fairytale’.

The now Chancellor also shrugged off criticism from Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey that he should not be making commitments on tax.

He told BBC Breakfast:

‘I’m setting out my stall as prime minister and I have fully costed these pledges, and I’ll be saying more about the way we’ll pay for that in the coming days.’

He also said in a leadership campaign video that he would reform education to give pupils

‘the tools they need to succeed in life’.

‘Faced by Russia and China it is clear we must increase our spending on defence,’

he added.

‘And of course we need to reduce the burden of tax. I believe cutting taxes isn’t a fairytale but rather a critical step to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.’

Contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party were seen out at a 1922 Committee summer reception last night after Sir Graham Brady announced the timings.

Ms Truss, Mr Sunak, ex- Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, Ms Patel and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Mr Tugendhat, enjoyed wine and chat on the Terrace at the Houses of Parliament.

Also present at the drinks reception were Former Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock, Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi and Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee Nus Ghani

During the 2019 Tory leadership race, there were suspicions that Mr Johnson’s campaign team asked some backers to lend votes to Jeremy Hunt to ensure he got into the final two because they believed he would be easier to beat.

Sir Gavin Williamson, who was a leading figure on Mr Johnson’s team, is now working on Mr Sunak’s campaign.

A Tory source said:

‘Gav will try and get another no-hoper on the ballot with his man … he could even make sure it is Jeremy again.’

Mrs Braverman’s team last night joined calls for the Tory Right to unite behind a ‘Stop Rishi’ candidate, but she declined to withdraw herself.

The Attorney General stole a march on her rivals by announcing her candidacy live on TV last Wednesday.

An ally said:

‘The Right of the party need to come together on a single person who both backed Brexit and who party members actually really like. It would be a catastrophe if they can’t.’

Mr Baker, who is Mrs Braverman’s campaign manager, said it was

‘a nonsense to have candidates standing all over the place’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: ‘There’s a danger of fragmentation. Kemi Badenoch has decided to stand, I’m afraid as much as I am fond of Kemi, it’s a bit improbable.

‘She hasn’t been in the Cabinet; Suella has been in the Cabinet.’

The runners and riders in the race to succeed Boris Johnson

Rishi Sunak
  • Super-rich father of two 
  • Married to Indian heiress
  • Chancellor throughout the Covid pandemic
  • Oversaw huge public spending
  • Has pledged to cut taxes only when inflation and the economy are under control 
  • Bookies odds: 6/4 Favourite (William Hill odds)

In a slick campaign video launched on Friday, Mr Sunak announced his leadership bid with the message:

‘Let’s restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country.’

One of the main front-runners the former chancellor’s rise from relative obscurity to household name came as he turned on the spending taps to protect jobs through the furlough scheme when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

His calm and measured delivery during televised Covid briefings, and his viral declaration of love for a popular soft drink, will have endeared him to those perhaps not always plugged in to the political goings-on, as well as his resignation on matters of principle on Tuesday.

A Brexit supporter from the off, he has attracted more than 30 declared supporters so far from within the Tory ranks, including from serving and ex-ministers Mark Spencer, Oliver Dowden and Robert Jenrick.

Sunak doesn’t have working class friends he says in old documentary

He has become the man to beat in the leadership race, and has already been the focus of concerted mud-slinging.

There have been claims that allies of Mr Johnson are aiming to stop Mr Sunak winning the Tory leadership contest over his ‘treachery’ in resigning from Government on Tuesday night – a move that precipitated the PM’s downfall.

According to the Telegraph, a 424-word criticism of Mr Sunak is being widely shared across Tory WhatsApp groups.

As well as claiming ‘there is nothing Conservative about the ‘Big Tax and Big Spend’ agenda of Rishi Sunak’, Mr Sunak is also branded a ‘liar’ and accused of

‘schoolboy errors’.

The ex-chancellor has also witnessed a TV clip of himself, from 20 years ago, talking about his circle of friends being ‘err… not working class’ go viral on social media.

Rishi Sunak was forced to deny links to ‘toxic’ former No10 adviser Dominic Cummings last night.

Mr Cummings has posted ‘poisonous’ claims online about Mr Sunak’s rivals for the Tory leadership, but the former Chancellor’s team insisted he had not spoken to the controversial adviser since he left No 10 in late 2020.

A rival Tory leadership campaign source said Mr Sunak should ‘come clean’ about whether his team had any links to Mr Cummings – or if they had been in contact with him.

Penny Mordaunt
  • Former defence secretary
  • Appeared on reality TV show Splash!
  • Current trade minister
  • Divorced Royal Naval Reservist 
  • Odds: 9/4 

Ms Mordaunt’s campaign got off to an awkward start on Sunday with her launch video hastily edited to remove several identifiable figures including athlete Jonnie Peacock and jailed Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius.

Announcing her bid, the international trade minister said the UK’s leadership

‘needs to become a little less about the leader and a lot more about the ship’.

Ms Mordaunt was Ben Wallace’s predecessor as defence secretary, and the first woman to hold the post before being sacked by Mr Johnson shortly after he became Prime Minister in 2019.

The trade minister has many strings to her bow as a Royal Navy reservist and former reality TV contestant, having appeared on the Tom Daley-fronted diving show Splash.

She played a prominent role in the Leave campaign in the 2016 Brexit referendum, and enjoys the backing of Dame Andrea Leadsom and Michael Fabricant.

Mordaunt's bid was promoted on her Twitter page, where she has hit back against critics trying to depict her as 'woke' amid a row over her stance on transgender rights, insisting she has 'fought for women’s rights all my life' as she hit back at opponents

Mordaunt’s bid was promoted on her Twitter page, where she has hit back against critics trying to depict her as ‘woke’ amid a row over her stance on transgender rights, insisting she has ‘fought for women’s rights all my life’ as she hit back at opponents

Ms Mordaunt’s bid was promoted on her Twitter page, where she has hit back against critics trying to depict her as ‘woke’ amid a row over her stance on transgender rights, insisting she has ‘fought for women’s rights all my life’ as she hit back at opponents.

Her position as one of the bookies’ favourites to become the next Tory leader has led to a furious row over her stance on trans issues, including her past claim that

‘trans women are women’.

She has been accused of being

‘a committed warrior for the trans lobby’ and of risking ‘enormous harm to women’s rights and children’.

But Ms Mordaunt, a Royal Navy reservist, used a series of Twitter posts in the early hours of this morning to push back at opponents.

As well as highlighting her past work in Government, including when she was women and equalities minister under Theresa May, Ms Mordaunt also stressed there was a difference between ‘biological women’ and those who are

‘legally female’.

Liz Truss
  • Foreign Secretary
  • Remainer turned Brexit hardliner
  • Negotiating with EU over NI
  • Loves posing for pictures on Instagram 
  • Odds: 7/2 

The Foreign Secretary kept her powder dry as the Tory top brass turned on the mortally wounded Prime Minister, despite being a Johnson loyalist, though she did cut short a foreign trip to Indonesia to head back to Westminster as he announced his resignation.

But she confirmed long-standing expectations that she would throw her hat into the already crowded ring on Sunday, pledging to reverse the national insurance hike.

Ina video released today she vowed to return to ‘proper Conservative policy’ with tax cuts ‘from day one’ and business rates reforms. She suggested that the £2trillion debt mountain should be put on a ‘longer-term’ footing in order to give immediate wriggle-room.

In her video, she played up her experience at the top levels of government and said the party needs to ‘deliver, deliver, deliver’ to win the next general election.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has already come out in support of Liz Truss
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has already come out in support of Liz Truss

Writing in The Telegraph on Sunday, Ms Truss, who has been cultivating support among Tory MPs and enjoys the backing of Julian Knight, Jackie-Doyle Price and Chloe Smith, said she could be

‘trusted to deliver’.

Social media aficionado Ms Truss has made little secret of her leadership ambitions, with a series of high-profile interventions and photo opportunities in which she appeared to be channelling late PM Margaret Thatcher.

She has the experience of working across many Whitehall departments, while her hard line on Ukraine, insisting Russian forces must be driven from the country, and threats to tear up the Northern Ireland Protocol with the EU play well with sections of the party.

Nadhim Zahawi
  • Made Chancellor after Sunak quit last week
  • Urged Boris to quit within a day of appointment
  • Born in Iraq to Kurdish parents and came to Uk as a child
  • Made millions by founded the YouGov polling company 
  • Questions over his tax affairs 
  • Odds: 50/1 

Mr Zahawi’s bid, also announced in The Sunday Times, is rooted in lower taxes and a ‘great education’ for all, promising to ‘steady the ship’ and ‘stabilize the economy’.

He also appeared to suggest a hard-line stance on so-called culture war issues, claiming he would protect children from what he claimed was

‘damaging and inappropriate nonsense from radical activists’.

The newly appointed Chancellor argued Britons must be trusted ‘to do what is best for themselves’, as he warned the country had lost a sense of ‘boundless optimism and opportunity’ that he traced back to Margaret Thatcher’s tenure.

An outside bet among the bookies, the Iraqi-born former education secretary was a successful businessman and came to wider prominence as vaccines minister during the pandemic.

Former Education Sec Zahawi to honour 9% pay rise for junior teachers

There have been claims that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is probing Mr Zahawi after civil servants raised a red ‘flag’.

But Mr Zahawi, who founded polling firm YouGov and is believed to be worth around £100million, dismissed the suggestion and said he will

‘not apologise for being a successful businessman’.

Today he lashed out at ‘smears’ as he insisted he is ‘not aware’ of any investigation into his financial affairs.

The new Chancellor also attempted to turn the tables by vowing to publish his tax return annually if his Tory leadership bid is successful.

He also refused to give any estimate for his personal wealth saying he would

‘probably get it wrong’ and ‘these things move around’

with changes to investment values.

Tom Tugendhat
  • Former soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Married father of two 
  • Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Russia and China hawk 
  • Remain-voting long-term Boris critic 
  • Has never held a ministerial post
  • Odds: 12/1 

 Not a household name, but among the early contenders.

The multi-lingual chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee became the first to announce his intention to stand for leader should Mr Johnson be turfed out, with his declaration made in January, a position he repeated in Friday’s Daily Telegraph, saying he was putting together a ‘broad coalition’ offering a ‘clean start’.

His odds shortened almost immediately as a result.

The former soldier wrote in the paper:

‘I have served before, in the military, and now in Parliament. Now I hope to answer the call once again as prime minister.’

A Remainer in 2016, he has been a trenchant critic of Mr Johnson, a stance that would appear to have cost him any chance of ministerial preferment under the current leadership.

Yesterday he provided a punchy response today when – asked about the ‘naughtiest thing’ he’d ever done – the Tory leadership candidate replied:

‘Well, I invaded a country once.’

The former British Army officer looked to draw on his experience in the military – during which he served in both Iraq and Afghanistan – as he pushed forward his case to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Although considered an outsider in the race for Number 10, as he has not previously been a Government minister, the 49-year-old insisted he had a wealth of experience as a ‘leader’.

Mr Tugendhat, the chairman of the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, vowed to be tough on Russia and China.

He also promised to reverse a hike in National Insurance and to take action on ‘crippling’ fuel duties.

Suella Braverman
  • Attorney General and hardline Brexiteer 
  • British daughter of Indian parents from Goa
  • Has vowed to rewrite Brexit deal on Northern Ireland
  • Also pledged to tackle ‘woke’ social issues
  • Odds: 50/1 

The Attorney General launched an unlikely leadership bid as support for Mr Johnson crumbled around him on Wednesday night.

But a surprise endorsement from prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker, who had earlier said he was considering running, has lent weight to her standing.

Steve Baker MP says he backs Suella Braverman to be next PM

A Suella Braverman for PM Twitter account has nonetheless sprung up, with Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne being the first to tweet his support for her bid.

Jeremy Hunt
  • Former foreign, health and defense secretary
  • Lost to Johnson in 2019 leadership election
  • Remainer turned Brexit supporter
  • Long seen as the moderate, anti-Boris candidate 
  • Father of two whose wife is Chinese
  • Odds: 50/1 

Mr Hunt confirmed his widely anticipated leadership bid in The Sunday Telegraph, making similar tax-cutting pledges to fellow ex-health secretary Mr Javid.

The foreign secretary, whose Remainer background may have been part of what ruled him out of the running in 2019, has been a persistent critic of Mr Johnson.

Seen by some as a bit of a Thatcher reboot, Mr Hunt might appeal to those who want a sensible choice of leader after months of instability.

As chairman of the Commons Health Committee, he has used his position to make a number of critical interventions on the Government’s handling of the pandemic, although his strong support for lock-down measures will not have pleased all Tory MPs.

Hunt backer denies claims candidate struggled to reach threshold

Kemi Badenoch
  • Former equalities minister who fought against ‘woke’
  • A 42-year-old banker with Nigerian heritage
  • Has received the shock backing of Michael Gove 
  • Odds: 12/1 

Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch threw her hat into the ring with a plan for a smaller state and a government

‘focused on the essentials’.

The MP for Saffron Walden said she supported lower taxes

‘to boost growth and productivity, and accompanied by tight spending discipline’.

Writing in The Times, the 42-year-old former banker, who grew up in the UK, US and Nigeria, also hit out at ‘identity politics’ and said Boris Johnson was

‘a symptom of the problems we face, not the cause of them’.

Ms Badenoch may be considered an outsider for the leadership given the Tory grandees already in the running, but her profile was boosted by an endorsement from Michael Gove on Sunday.

Writing in the Sun the former minister said:

‘As I reflect on what it takes to deliver in government – on the mistakes I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, the progress I helped secure – I know one thing is true above all. If you want to drive change, empower the right people. Kemi Badenoch has the Right Stuff.’

He went on to say the party needed a leader with ‘Kemi’s focus, intellect and no-bulls*** drive’.

Leave a Reply