Priti Patel MP speaks at the Conservative Voice in Birmingham (Photo: Ian Forsyth via Getty Images)
Priti Patel told the Conservative Party to get behind Liz Truss today, warning that another leadership election would be “divisive”.
The former home secretary launched her first big intervention since returning to the back benches.
She spoke out at the annual Tory party conference in Birmingham against the backdrop of bitter infighting.
Patel resigned as home secretary last month following Liz Truss’s victory in the Conservative leadership contest.
Asked if the Tories should replace Liz Truss and find a new leader who could unite the party, Patel replied: “We’ve just done that, my friend, and nothing would be more divisive I think for the party in the country.”
She said the party was at its best when it was united, adding: “We’ve had yet another leadership campaign and leadership election.
“My message is very clear and very simple. We have a duty to serve our country and serve it well as proud conservatives. We really do.
“It is a privilege to be in government and to be the party in government. Our job is to deliver on our manifesto to deliver on the people’s priorities and just get behind the leadership of our party.”
While telling activists to get behind Truss, she did level thinly veiled criticism at the new prime minister’s unfunded tax cuts.
The MP for Witham said the Conservative Party would “live or die” by its economic credibility.
She accused Truss and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng of “spending today with no thought of tomorrow”.
Kwarteng was forced to perform two U-turns in one day thanks to a Tory backlash against his mini-budget last week, which plunged the markets into turmoil.
Some Tory MPs have been openly critical of the government’s mini-budget and cabinet ministers have also dropped out of events at the conference.
Cabinet discipline disintegrated with frontbenchers openly criticising the prime minister’s U-turn on the 45p tax cut.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.