Who is backing who? Tories nail colours to the mast in leadership contest

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(Daniel Leal/PA) (PA Wire)
(Daniel Leal/PA) (PA Wire)

As the race to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party picks up steam, many Tory MPs have revealed who has their backing.

As of 6pm on Monday, the PA news agency had confirmed the intentions of more than 150 Tory Members of Parliament regarding which of the candidates and likely further contenders they support.

MPs are understood to have shown their backing where they have declared as much on social media, been quoted in the press or confirmed by PA.

Rishi Sunak – supporters: 37

(Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
(Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

One of the heavyweight favourites, the former chancellor of the Exchequer launched his campaign with the slogan “Ready For Rishi” and leads the way with more than 30 backers.

One of his supporters is former housing minister Robert Jenrick, who said: “I saw up close in Cabinet the leadership which Rishi Sunak demonstrated during the pandemic.”

Former secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden said: “Rishi is the best person to lead our country and unquestionably the best person to beat Labour.”

Dr Liam Fox, who most recently worked as secretary of state for International Trade, wrote: “Our next Prime Minister must tell the truth to the British people about our economic challenges, and have a credible conservative plan for growth and lower taxes. Rishi is the only candidate with the experience, integrity and vision to do this.”

Full list of supporters: Mark Harper, Jacob Young, Angela Richardson, John Glen, Laura Trott, Mark Spencer, Paul Maynard, Robert Jenrick, Claire Coutinho, Liam Fox, Oliver Dowden, Mel Stride, Sir Bob Neill, Andrew Murrison, Bim Afolami, Louie French, Simon Jupp, Simon Hoare, Kevin Hollinrake, Fay Jones, Peter Gibson, Helen Whately, Maria Caulfield, Craig Williams, James Cartlidge, Robert Goodwill, Simon Hart, Gareth Davies, Siobhan Baillie, Anthony Browne, Greg Hands, Ruth Edwards, Gary Streeter, Alex Chalk, Laura Farris, Victoria Prentis.

Penny Mordaunt – supporters: 23

(Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
(Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Despite an awkward start to her campaign, in which her launch video had to be edited to remove several identifiable figures, Ms Mordaunt boasts 20 backers.

Andrea Leadsom, former secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: “@PennyMordaunt has the values, drive and conviction of her beliefs to move our country forward. I’m backing her to be our next Prime Minister.”

Outspoken MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant wrote: “Penny Mordaunt shares my socially liberal views but, like me, will ensure there will be no compromise on the British wish for a clean break with the #EU.

“She was also a 1st rate Armed Forces Minister and will be tough with #Russia.”

Full list of supporters: John Lamont, Nicola Richards, Michael Fabricant, Kieran Mullen, Alicia Kearns, Craig Tracey, Robbie Moore, Harriet Baldwin, Caroline Ansell, George Freeman, Derek Thomas, Elliot Colburn, Damian Collins, Maria Miller, Andrea Leadsom, Theo Clark, James Sunderland, Duncan Baker, James Gray, Caroline Dinenage, Sarah Atherton, Kate Griffiths, Bob Seely

Tom Tugendhat – supporters: 19

(Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
(Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Tugendhat has never held ministerial office but chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, and his promise of a “clean start” has earned him the backing of 16 Tory MPs.

“Tom is the clean start we need to rebuild trust,” tweeted Damian Green, who has been MP for Ashford since 1997 and serves on two DCMS committees.

Another MP since 1997, Sir Robert Syms, said: “I’m backing Tom as he’s the best person for the party and the country. As someone who voted Leave, I have no doubt he will deliver the Brexit dividend this country deserves.”

Full list of supporters: Damian Green, Aaron Bell, John Stevenson, Stephen Hammond, Sir Robert Syms, Mark Logan, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Chris Green, Nickie Aiken, Damien Moore, Karen Bradley, Anne Marie Morris, Jake Berry, Mark Pawsey, James Daly, Neil Hudson, Jo Gideon, Robert Largan, Ben Spencer

Liz Truss – supporters: 15

(Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
(Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

The Foreign Secretary and minister for women and equalities launched her leadership by writing: “I have a clear vision for our country and economy – and the experience and resolve to deliver it.”

She has been publicly backed by 15 MPs from her party, including Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who told The Sun: “What we can’t do is simply load our economy with lots of different taxes. I think there has to be a reset and there has to be a new path. Liz’s basic instinct on tax is right.

“She doesn’t think people should be paying increasingly higher taxes to pay for higher spending.”

Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, tweeted: “Proud to be backing my friend @trussliz to be our next Prime Minister. We need a leader who can unite the Red and Blue Wall, has a clear vision for the country and economy, and has the skills and experience to get the tough decisions right.”

Full list of supporters: Alec Shelbrooke, Dehenna Davison, Jackie Doyle-Price, Rob Butler, Julian Knight, Chloe Smith, Dean Russell, Marcus Fysh, Darren Henry, Simon Clarke, Therese Coffey, Kwasi Kwarteng, Ranil Jayawardena, Wendy Morton, Vicky Ford.

Kemi Badenoch – supporters: 13

(House of Commons/PA) (PA Archive)
(House of Commons/PA) (PA Archive)

The former minister for equalities has secured the support of 13 Tory MPs, none bigger than Michael Gove, who told The Sun he has “no hesitation in saying our next PM should be Kemi Badenoch”.

He said: “I’ve worked with Kemi since before she became an MP and served alongside her in Government. She is brave, principled, brilliant and kind.”

The former levelling up secretary’s Twitter profile is full of retweets showing support for Ms Badenoch.

Full list of supporters: Julia Lopez, Eddie Hughes, Tom Hunt, Ben Bradley, Justin Tomlinson, Gareth Bacon, Caroline Johnson, Andrew Lewer, Neil O’Brien, Michael Gove, Leo Docherty, Lee Anderson, Lee Rowley.

Nadhim Zahawi – supporters: 13

(Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
(Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

The newly appointed Chancellor has the backing of 12 Tory MPs, including Michelle Donelan, who held the post of secretary of state for education from July 5 to 7, having previously held other ministerial roles in education.

“I’ve worked with @nadhimzahawi in the Department for Education, and around the cabinet table over the last 10 months,” she tweeted.

“I’m backing him to be our next Prime Minister because he gets things done and delivers just like he did as Vaccines Minister.”

Full list of supporters: Jonathan Gullis, David Johnston, Brandon Lewis, Michelle Donelan, Jesse Norman, Tobias Ellwood, Paul Scully, Amanda Milling, Mark Fletcher, Mark Jenkinson, Jack Brereton, Maggie Throup, Ben Everitt.

Jeremy Hunt – supporters: 11

(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Hunt, who has held a number of cabinet positions such as health secretary, has been publicly backed by 10 of his Tory MP colleagues.

Esther McVey told GB News that although “many people will be shocked”, she would be supporting Mr Hunt for leader.

She cited “protecting Brexit and fixing the Northern Ireland Protocol” as well as “cutting taxes” among her reasons. Mr Hunt billed himself as the most “experienced” hand in the leadership contest and announced Ms McVey would be deputy prime minister if he won.

Full list of supporters: Steve Brine, Oliver Heald, Anthony Mangnall, Crispin Blunt, Esther McVey, Daniel Kawczynski, Andrew Mitchell, Philip Dunne, Dan Poulter, Jonathan Djanogly, Sir Peter Bottomley.

Suella Braverman – supporters: eight

(James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)
(James Manning/PA) (PA Wire)

The Attorney General’s unlikely leadership bid was given a little more weight by prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker, who had considered running himself.

“I considered standing for the leadership. My priorities were delivering against our manifesto with our mandate, cutting taxes and seeing through Brexit,” he tweeted.

“Happily I no longer need to stand. @SuellaBraverman will deliver these priorities and more.”

Full list of supporters: Sir Desmond Swayne, Jason McCartney, Robin Millar, Steve Baker, Danny Kruger, David Jones, Henry Smith, Sir John Hayes.

Sajid Javid – supporters: seven

(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)
(Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

His sensational resignation kickstarted the end of Mr Johnson’s premiership, and Mr Javid now has the support of seven MPs in his own leadership bid.

Former parliamentary under-secretary for the Home Office and the Department for Transport Rachel Maclean is one of them, tweeting: “There are only two people who the public think would be a good PM. One is a tax-cutter with the broad experience to hit the ground running, and the backstory to relate to people.

“And that’s why I’m #teamsaj. It’s not just about this leadership election but who can unite the party and win the next General Election.”

Full list of supporters: Rachel Maclean, Chris Philp, Saqib Bhatti, Robin Walker, Mike Wood, Steve Double, Robert Halfon.

Grant Shapps – supporters: eight

(Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
(Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

The Secretary of State for Transport has earned the support of seven Tory MPs as he seeks to replace Mr Johnson in Number 10.

His Cabinet colleague George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “Grant has always shown good judgement and an ability to handle anything thrown his way.

“We have challenges ahead as we wrestle with the consequences of the pandemic and that is why I am backing Grant to be our next Prime Minister.”

Mr Eustice told GB News: “We need somebody who’s a good campaigner and a good communicator,” citing Mr Shapps’ appearances on various media outlets in recent years.

Full list of supporters: George Eustice, Robert Courts, Trudy Harrison, James Davies, Mark Pritchard, Graham Stuart, Paul Bristow, Sheryll Murray.

Priti Patel – supporters: seven

(Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
(Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

One of the big hitters, Ms Patel has yet to announce her own leadership bid but has the support of six Tory MPs including Tom Pursglove, Home Office and Ministry of Justice minister.

“During my time as a @ukhomeoffice Minister, I have witnessed first hand @PritiPatel’s ability to deliver solutions to the most complex problems facing our country – from the Rwanda deal to stop the small boats, to getting serious violence and burglary down,” he tweeted.

“Her tenacity, leadership and competence would make her a brilliant Prime Minister and I am urging her to consider standing in this leadership contest.”

Full list of supporters: Tom Pursglove, Scott Benton, Anna Firth, Greg Smith, Simon Baynes, Shaun Bailey, Laurence Robertson.

Rehman Chishti – supporters: zero

The newly appointed Foreign Office minister made an unlikely bid for the Tory leadership on Sunday evening in a video posted on Facebook.

However, the MP for Gillingham and Rainham has yet to win any public backing from fellow Tory MPs.

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