Who is backing whom? Tory MPs offer support as six leadership hopefuls remain

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

As of Thursday, the PA news agency had confirmed the intentions of more than 200 Tory Members of Parliament regarding which candidate 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 their intentions directly with PA.

On Wednesday the list of hopefuls was reduced to six when Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi were eliminated after failing to receive 30 votes in the first ballot of Tory MPs – many of whom have not made their support public.

Rishi Sunak – supporters: 56

Conservative Party leadership campaign
Rishi Sunak (Jonathan Brady/PA)

One of the favourites, the former chancellor of the Exchequer launched his campaign with the slogan “Ready For Rishi” and leads the way with 56 public backers and 88 votes in the first round of the leadership contest.

Those supporting Mr Sunak include former fellow contender Jeremy Hunt and ex-education secretary Sir Gavin Williamson, who said Mr Sunak is “by far the strongest performer” of the candidates.

Mr Hunt, who failed to garner the 30 votes needed from Tory MPs to get through Wednesday’s first round of voting, described the former chancellor as having the “highest standards of integrity”.

In a statement Mr Hunt said: “I’ve been around long enough to know that politics is really about character and Rishi is one of the most decent, straight people with the highest standards of integrity that I have ever met in British politics and that’s why I would be proud to have him as my next Prime Minister.”

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, dropped out of the race on Tuesday and put his weight behind Mr Sunak, who he said “has the competence and experience to lead this country”.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab backed Mr Sunak at his official campaign launch in London on Tuesday morning, saying: “While others talk the talk, Rishi this month delivered the biggest tax cut for working people in a decade. He did it because he is a true Conservative.”

Among his other backers are former housing minister Robert Jenrick, ex-secretary of state for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock and former secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden, who said: “Rishi is the best person to lead our country and unquestionably the best person to beat Labour.”

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, Dominic Raab, Lucy Frazer, Gillian Keegan, Grant Shapps, Matt Hancock, James Wild, Rebecca Pow, Steve Barclay, Helen Whately, Alun Cairns, Stephen Crabb, Chris Skidmore, Mark Menzies, Andrew Jones, Simon Baynes, Sir Gavin Williamson, Michael Ellis, Theresa Villiers, Nigel Huddleston, Jeremy Quin, Jeremy Hunt

Penny Mordaunt – supporters: 34

Economic pacts
Penny Mordaunt (Aaron Chown/PA)

Ms Mordaunt has quickly become one of the favourites in the contest, boasting 67 votes in the first ballot and 34 public backers.

Andrea Leadsom, former secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the trade minister “has the values, drive and conviction of her beliefs to move our country forward”.

Outspoken MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant tweeted: “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.”

Veteran MP and former cabinet minister David Davis declared his support for Ms Mordaunt on Tuesday, while Mr Shapps’ former backers James Davies and Trudy Harrison shifted their allegiances to the MP for Portsmouth North on Wednesday.

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, David Davis, Alberto Costa, John Baron, John Penrose, James Davies, Jerome Mayhew, Sir Mike Penning, Mims Davies, Jill Mortimer, Trudy Harrison, Luke Evans.

Liz Truss – supporters: 24

Brexit
Liz Truss (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The Foreign Secretary and minister for women and equalities earned 50 votes in Wednesday’s ballot and has the public backing of 24 parliamentary colleagues.

Among her supporters is 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.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries and Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg told reporters outside Downing Street on Tuesday morning that they were backing Ms Truss as she is a “stronger Brexiteer” than both of them.

Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said Ms Truss “has a clear vision for the country and economy” while former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith pledged his vote saying: “Liz has the experience to be Prime Minister.”

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, James Cleverly, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, Mark Pritchard, Paul Bristow, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Mark Francois, Iain Duncan-Smith, Laurence Robertson.

Tom Tugendhat – supporters: 22

Conservative leader bid
Tom Tugendhat (Niall Carson/PA)

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 22 Tory MPs – and 37 votes in the first ballot of his peers.

“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.

Rehman Chishti, who dropped out of the contest on Tuesday having failed to receive enough nominations, announced on Twitter on Wednesday that he was backing Mr Tugendhat “in line with the vision and values I set out in my leadership campaign calling for a merit-based system of government based on aspirational conservatism”.

Sir Robert Syms, an MP since 1997, 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, Paul Holmes, Simon Fell, Rehman Chishti.

Kemi Badenoch – supporters: 23

Coronavirus – Wed Jan 13, 2021
Kemi Badenoch (House of Commons/PA)

The former minister for equalities secured 40 votes on Wednesday and has the support of 23 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.”

Among Ms Badenoch’s new public backers on Wednesday were Witney MP Robert Courts, who posted on Twitter that Ms Badenoch can be “a leader with conviction and vision”.

Rachel Maclean, who had previously been backing Sajid Javid before the former health secretary exited the race, pledged her support for Ms Badenoch on Wednesday, citing her “vision, fresh approach and integrity”.

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, Alex Burghart, Nigel Mills, Sarah Dines, Marco Longhi, Lucy Allan, Rachel Maclean, Steve Double, Nick Fletcher, Tom Randall, Robert Courts.

Suella Braverman – supporters: 13

Cabinet Meeting
Suella Braverman (James Manning/PA)

The Attorney General’s unlikely leadership bid has been backed by 13 MPs publicly but she scraped through Wednesday’s ballot with just 32 votes.

Her efforts have been 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, Miriam Cates, Greg Smith, Julian Lewis, Bernard Jenkin, Scott Benton.

Nadhim Zahawi – bowed out

Local Government Association Annual Conference
Nadhim Zahawi (Danny Lawson/PA)

Before he was edged out of the contest on Wednesday with 25 votes, the newly appointed Chancellor had the backing of 13 Tory MPs, including Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Michelle Donelan, who was education secretary from July 5 to 7.

Mr Lewis, who had been chairing Mr Zahawi’s campaign, paid tribute to the Chancellor’s “character and decency”, adding that he hopes the “remaining stages of the leadership contest are carried out in a constructive spirit”.

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 – bowed out

Sunday Morning
Jeremy Hunt (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Hunt, who has held a number of cabinet positions such as health secretary, crashed out of the race with 18 votes on Wednesday – having previously been publicly backed by 13 of his colleagues.

After he missed out, Esther McVey, who would have become deputy prime minister under the former health secretary should he have been victorious, said the combination of the pair was “clearly not considered the right one”.

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, Sir Paul Beresford, Philip Davies.

Sajid Javid – bowed out

Sunday Morning
Sajid Javid (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Javid, whose sensational resignation as health secretary kickstarted the end of Mr Johnson’s premiership, withdrew from the race on Tuesday before the first ballot of MPs – having gained the public support of nine of his peers – of whom Steve Double and Rachel Maclean have re-declared their support for another candidate.

After withdrawing from the race, Mr Javid tweeted: “We now have an opportunity to renew and reunite as a party… I look forward to working together and delivering for our great country.”

Mr Javid’s supporters before he pulled out of the race: Rachel Maclean, Chris Philp, Saqib Bhatti, Robin Walker, Mike Wood, Steve Double, Robert Halfon, Pauline Latham, Jeremy Wright.

Grant Shapps – bowed out

Rail and Tube strikes
Grant Shapps (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Secretary of State for Transport exited the race to be Tory leader on Tuesday and threw his support behind Mr Sunak.

He had earned the support of eight Tory MPs to replace Mr Johnson in Number 10, five of whom have re-declared their support for another candidate.

Mr Shapps’ supporters before he left the contest: George Eustice, Robert Courts, Trudy Harrison, James Davies, Mark Pritchard, Graham Stuart, Paul Bristow, Sheryll Murray.

Rehman Chishti – bowed out

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 failed to secure any public backing from fellow Tory MPs and exited the race on Tuesday, later backing Mr Tugendhat.

Priti Patel – did not enter

National Security Bill
Priti Patel (Danny Lawson/PA)

The Home Secretary had garnered public support from seven Tory MPs before she confirmed she was not standing in the leadership race – three of whom have moved their allegiances elsewhere.

In a statement, she said: “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.”

Ms Patel’s supporters before she announced she was not intending to run: Tom Pursglove, Scott Benton, Anna Firth, Greg Smith, Simon Baynes, Shaun Bailey, Laurence Robertson.

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