• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Eight go forward into first round of voting in the Tory leadership race

·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Eight contenders will be on the ballot paper when Tory MPs begin voting on Wednesday to elect a successor to Boris Johnson, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has announced.

Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman all secured the 20 nominations from fellow MPs needed to enter the contest.

Moments before the announcement in a Commons committee room, former health secretary Sajid Javid said he was pulling out having apparently failed to attract enough support.

Earlier Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that he was abandoning his bid and would be supporting Mr Sunak, the former chancellor.

Backbencher Rehman Chishti – seen as the rank outsider – also said that he was dropping out having failed to get enough nominations.

The eight candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race, (top row left to right), Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, and Liz Truss, (bottom row left to right) Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch
The eight candidates in the Conservative Party leadership race, (top row left to right), Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Nadhim Zahawi, and Liz Truss, (bottom row left to right) Tom Tugendhat, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch (UK Parliament/PA)

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

Many supporters of the Prime Minister remain furious with Mr Sunak for the role he played in bringing him down, with his decision last week to quit helping to trigger a further slew of resignations.

The Foreign Secretary’s campaign also received a potential fillip with the announcement by Home Secretary Priti Patel, a fellow right winger, that she would not be standing, giving Ms Truss a clearer run.

Ms Dorries accused Mr Sunak’s team of “dirty tricks” after claims that one of his supporters – ex-chief whip Gavin Williamson – had been trying to “syphon off” votes for Mr Hunt so he would make it to the final run-off with Mr Sunak.

“This is dirty tricks/a stitch up/dark arts. Take your pick. Team Rishi want the candidate they know they can definitely beat in the final two and that is Jeremy Hunt,” she tweeted.

The claim was denied by Mr Hunt, who told LBC radio: “We are running completely independent campaigns.

“It’s a very dangerous game to play and so I think most people would be very wary before doing that sort of thing. I’m not saying it never happens.”

Backers of Mr Hunt believe that he will be able to amass the required minimum of 30 votes in the first ballot.

Allies of Mr Sunak also hit back at the claim by Ms Dorries.

A source close to Mr Sunak’s supporters said: “It’s complete nonsense, Mel Stride is running the whipping operation and that sort of behaviour just isn’t happening.

“It’s a dirty story being spread by anti-Rishi people.”

Other developments in another hectic day in Westminster included:

– Labour angrily accusing the Government of “running scared” after it refused to allow parliamentary time for a Commons vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson and his administration.

– Former equalities minister Ms Badenoch launching her bid, vowing not to enter a tax cut “bidding war” and arguing others had been trying to “have your cake and eat it”.

– Mr Tugendhat, the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee promising to slash fuel duty by 10p as he kicked off his campaign, dismissing rivals’ criticism over his lack of ministerial experience.

– Mr Zahawi, the Chancellor, brushing off a rebuke from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey for setting out tax proposals during the campaign, saying he was setting out his stall to be prime minister and his plans were “fully costed”.

In an increasingly bitter war of words allies of Mr Johnson have rounded on Mr Sunak, branding him a “high tax chancellor” who had failed to spot the waring signs that inflation was on the rise.

Conservative leadership bid
Rishi Sunak at the launch of his campaign (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Launching his campaign, Mr Sunak insisted it was a matter of “when not if” he started cutting taxes but that he would not do so until inflation was under control.

Backed by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, he said it was “not credible to promise lots more spending and lower taxes”, in a swipe at rivals who have proposed multibillion-pound tax cuts immediately.

“We need a return to traditional Conservative economic values and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairytales,” he said.

Mr Zahawi criticised his predecessor’s hesitancy, insisting it is not a “fairytale” to cut taxes to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

The current Chancellor also used an appearance before Conservative MPs to declare his strong support for the family – something he said had gone out of fashion.

“Family has become a taboo word in Westminster, and this has to change. Children thrive when they grow up in happy and healthy home environments, and we shouldn’t be shy about recognising that,” he said.

Mr Tugendhat also sought to flag his defence credentials, committing to spending 3% of GDP on defence as part of a 10-year economic plan.

Under the rules set out by Sir Graham, candidates who fail to get 30 votes in the first ballot will be eliminated, with a second vote expected on Thursday.

The process is then likely to continue into next week, with candidate with the lowest vote dropping out, until the list of candidates is whittled down to just two.

They will have the summer recess to win the support of the Tory membership, which will ultimately chose the next prime minister, with the final result due on September 5.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting