Would-be PMs need 20 backers by TONIGHT to keep their dream alive

Would-be PMs need 20 backers by TONIGHT to keep their dream alive: Liz Truss begs Tory right to unite behind her as she wins support from Boris allies Rees-Mogg and Dorries to take on Sunak – but Jeremy Hunt struggles to make the threshold

  • Rishi Sunak, Priti Patel and Tom Tugendhat socialised on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament
  • Foreign Secretary’s allies urged her rivals on Thatcherite wing of party to end their campaigns and back her 
  • Dramatic plea came as Priti Patel debated whether to join a crowded field of contenders from the Tory Right 
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg rumoured to stand but ruled himself out, saying he did not want to ‘further fracture Right’ 
  • Tory hopefuls are frantically fighting for MP backers today with Liz Truss begging the Tory right to unite behind her so she can take on Rishi Sunak.

    Would-be PMs have just hours left to rack up the 20 nominations needed to feature in the first round of the contest, with voting due to start tomorrow.  

    Rishi Sunak, the front runner, already appears to be well over the threshold as he prepares formally to launch his campaign this morning, again batting away calls for tax cuts before inflation is under control. Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat also seem to have reached the mark. 

    But other big names are struggling, with Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi, Priti Patel and Grant Shapps all short of declared backers. 

    Foreign Secretary Ms Truss has been boosted by support from Cabinet colleague and Boris Johnson ally Jacob Rees-Mogg, with Nadine Dorries also expected to join her team.   

    Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 committee, announced last night that nominations will close at 6pm tonight, with the first vote to be held at 1.30pm tomorrow. 

    Even those who make the first ballot will need 30 MPs out of the 358 total to back 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. 

    In other twists and turns in the fight for the soul of the Conservative Party today:

    • Ms Mordaunt has topped a poll of activists on the ConservativeHome website. Although the survey is not scientific it is closely-watched by MPs and ministers; 
    • Ms Patel is expected to go ahead with a leadership bid despite warnings that the votes on the party’s right are being split; 
    • Mr Zahawi has insisted he has secured the 20 nominations needed to make the ballot, with allies saying he is also over the 30 mark; 
    • Tory grandees have cautioned that a bidding war between candidates pledging tax cuts could put the party’s reputation for economic management at risk; 
    • Keir Starmer is pushing for a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson‘s government to happen in Parliament tomorrow. 
    Frontrunner Rishi Sunak left his London home this morning ahead of his official campaign launch today

    Frontrunner Rishi Sunak left his London home this morning ahead of his official campaign launch today

    Liz Truss

    Nadhim Zahawi in Westminster today

    Contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party have been out and about today, including Nadhim Zahawi (right) and Liz Truss (left)

    Would-be PMs have just hours left to rack up the 20 nominations needed to feature in the first round of the contest, with voting due to start tomorrow

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured), Home Secretary Priti Patel and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat, were at a 1922 committee reception at Parliament last night

    Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured), Home Secretary Priti Patel and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat, were at a 1922 committee reception at Parliament last night

    Home Secretary Priti Patel was spotted laughing and joking with two men at the 1922 Committee summer reception

    Home Secretary Priti Patel was spotted laughing and joking with two men at the 1922 Committee summer reception 

    Former British Army officer and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat chatted away on the balcony

    Former British Army officer and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat chatted away on the balcony

    Former joint minister for Levelling Up and Equalities and MP for Saffron Walden Kemi Badenoch attended the party

    Former joint minister for Levelling Up and Equalities and MP for Saffron Walden Kemi Badenoch attended the party

    Contenders for the leadership of the Conservative Party were seen out at a 1922 Committee summer reception on Monday evening after Sir Graham Brady announced that the country would have a new Prime Minister on September 5.

    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 

    It comes after Liz Truss last night warned the Tory Right it risks handing Rishi 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. 

    The dramatic plea came as Priti Patel debated whether to join a crowded field of contenders from the Tory Right – it already includes Nadhim Zahawi, Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch. 

    Jacob Rees-Mogg had been rumoured to be set to stand but last night ruled himself out, saying he did not want to ‘further fracture the Right’. Leading backbencher Steve Baker has warned colleagues on the Brexiteer wing over the ‘grave danger of fragmentation’. 

    A poll of the Tory grassroots last night put Penny Mordaunt, who has faced controversy for her views on trans rights, as their new favourite. The shock result raises the prospect of her facing Mr Sunak in the final run-off vote by party members.

    Ms Truss fears no one on the Conservative Right will make the last two if support is split too thinly among them all. 

    An ally said: ‘The Right of the party needs to make its mind up fast. If the Right don’t want Rishi Sunak to be prime minister then they need to unite behind a single candidate and that candidate is Liz. Liz is the only one who can keep the PM’s 2019 coalition together, who will take us back to properly Conservative principles on the economy and who has the experience to hit the ground running.

    ‘But there is a real concern that if the Right splinters then Rishi and his supporters will be able to manipulate the contest and ensure that he faces someone to the Left of him in the final two.’ 

    Miss Patel was still last night debating whether to stand to replace Boris Johnson. But she told hardline Brexiteers that she was the best candidate to win the ‘hearts and minds of the party’. 

    Mr Sunak is poised to officially launch his bid to be Tory leader and PM today, while unveiling former chancellor Lord Lamont as backer. Despite a blizzard of tax-cutting pledges by some of his rivals, Mr Sunak will insist he won’t start to cut taxes until inflation has been ‘gripped’ and brought under control. In response to attacks on his economic record, he will insist he had to make some of the ‘most difficult choices in my life’.

    In the next nine days, Tory MPs will whittle down the candidates to the two who will go on the ballot paper for party members. 

    TORY LEADERSHIP RACE – TIMETABLE

    TUESDAY JULY 12 – NOMINATIONS 

    Nominations formally open and close at 6pm. Candidates must have the support of at least 20 MPs to enter the ballot. 

    WEDNESDAY JULY 13 – FIRST ROUND OF VOTING 

    Candidates must have the backing of at least 30 MPs to stay in the contest, and the person with the fewest votes will also be eliminated. 

    THURSDAY JULY 14 – SECOND ROUND OF VOTING 

    The last-placed candidate will again be ejected from the candidate, and more could opt to step down if it becomes clear they cannot win. 

    THURSDAY JULY 21 – PARLIAMENTARY RECESS 

    By this point further ballots will have whittled the candidates down to a final two. 

    JULY-SEPTEMBER – TORY MEMBERS VOTE 

    Assuming neither candidate pulls out, hustings will be held across the UK for Conservative members, who will vote by post.

    SEPTEMBER 5 – NEW LEADER ANNOUNCED 

    The Conservative Party announces who has been elected as the new leader. 

    SEPTEMBER 6 – THE LEADER TAKES OVER AS PM 

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    Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi could be seen socialising with Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford Mark Francois

    Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi could be seen socialising with Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford Mark Francois

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

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

    Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee Nus Ghani attends the summer reception on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament on Monday evening

    Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee Nus Ghani attends the summer reception on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament on Monday evening

    Former Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock (pictured), Kemi Badenoch, Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi and Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee Nus Ghani, were also attending the event

    Former Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock (pictured), Kemi Badenoch, Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi and Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee Nus Ghani, were also attending the event 

    Secretary of State for Education James Cleverly attends a 1922 Committee summer reception on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament

    Secretary of State for Education James Cleverly attends a 1922 Committee summer reception on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament

    Miss Truss (pictured) fears no one on the Conservative Right will make the last two if support is split too thinly among them all

    Miss Truss (pictured) fears no one on the Conservative Right will make the last two if support is split too thinly among them all

    On another tumultuous day in the race to be the next PM: 

    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.’ 

    Rival campaigns last night said they believed that Cabinet Office minister Jacob Rees-Mogg was preparing to back Miss Truss.

     

    Rishi Sunak insists he WILL cut tax if he wins Tory leadership battle… but only when he has got a ‘grip’ on inflation 

    ByJason Groves, Political Editor For The Daily Mail

    Rishi Sunak last night said he would cut tax, but not until ‘inflation is gripped’ – as his Tory rivals called for the burden on businesses and families to be slashed by up to £50billion.

    Speaking ahead of the formal launch of his leadership bid today, the former chancellor lashed out at rivals making ‘fairy tale’ promises.

    But, in a sign he is feeling the pressure on the issue, he said it would be ‘a question of when, not if,’ the tax burden is cut if he becomes prime minister.

    Leadership rivals yesterday threw down the gauntlet to Mr Sunak, with his successor as Chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, outlining a package of cuts worth an estimated £50billion.

    A leading ally of Liz Truss meanwhile likened Mr Sunak to an ‘accountant’ and said driving economic growth was about more than just ‘balancing the books’.

    But Mr Sunak, who last night picked up the support of former chancellor Lord Lamont, said that a ‘return to traditional Conservative economic values’ required ‘honesty, not fairy tales’. 

    Former Chancellor Mr Sunak, who is one of the leading contenders to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, pictured leaving his home on Monday

    Former Chancellor Mr Sunak, who is one of the leading contenders to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, pictured leaving his home on Monday

    He added: ‘I have had to make some of the most difficult choices in my life when I was chancellor, in particular how to deal with our debt and borrowing after Covid.

    ‘I have never hidden away from those, and I certainly won’t pretend now that the choices I made, and the things I voted for, were somehow not necessary. Whilst this may be politically inconvenient, it is the truth.

    ‘My message to the party and the country is simple: I have a plan to steer our country through these headwinds. 

    ‘Once we have gripped inflation, I will get the tax burden down. It is a question of “when”, not “if”.’

    In a speech to mark the launch of his own leadership campaign yesterday, Mr Zahawi savaged the record of his predecessor, saying that tax and spending had been ‘skyrocketing’ for ‘too many years’.

    He set out a programme for rapid tax cuts which would see the basic rate of income tax cut by a penny next year, followed by another penny in 2024, taking it to 18 per cent.

    A planned rise in corporation tax from 19p to 25p would be axed. And VAT and green levies on energy would be axed for two years to ease the cost of living. 

    In his launch speech yesterday Sajid Javid pledged to bring forward the planned 1p cut in income tax to next year, as well as scrap the planned rise in corporation tax.

    Mr Javid said he would axe the national insurance hike, despite backing it as health secretary last year. 

    And he vowed to slash fuel duty by 10p a litre to ease the cost of living.

    Foreign Secretary Miss Truss said she would cut taxes ‘from day one’, and has pledged to reverse the national insurance hike. 

    In an apparent swipe at Mr Sunak, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is backing Miss Truss, said: ‘We can’t simply be accountants trying to balance the books the whole time.’ 

    Mr Sunak is the only leading contender holding out against early tax cuts. But allies yesterday accused rivals of making promises they could not deliver.

    Former Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said: ‘At this moment in time, the credibility of the Conservative Party is being tested… and announcing fantasy tax cuts to help get through a leadership election, I think, is unwise.’

     

    Penny Mordaunt beats Rishi Sunak in poll of Tory members to find most favoured replacement for Boris Johnson

    ByClaire Ellicott Political Correspondent For The Daily Mail

    Penny Mordaunt last night topped a poll of Tory party members on who should be the next leader.

    The former defence secretary was backed by 20 per cent followed by ex-local government minister Kemi Badenoch on 19 per cent and Rishi Sunak on 12 per cent.

    Attorney General Suella Braverman and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss both gained 10 per cent support in the Conservative Home survey. 

    The results will worry the rivals of Miss Mordaunt, 49, as Conservative members will decide between the final two candidates after they are whittled down by MPs.

    Mr Sunak is ahead on MP nominations at present, with 40 compared with Miss Mordaunt’s 26. 

    Penny Mordaunt, 49, was the frontrunner in a poll of Conservative party members carried out by Conservative Home

    Penny Mordaunt, 49, was the frontrunner in a poll of Conservative party members carried out by Conservative Home 

    It came as she tried to get her faltering campaign back on track after she was branded a ‘committed warrior for the trans lobby’ and was forced to edit her ‘PM 4 PM’ video to remove killer runner Oscar Pistorius.

    Miss Mordaunt last night insisted that she can help the Conservatives break through the ‘Yellow Wall’ and finally defeat the SNP in Scotland. 

    She pledged to work with the Scottish Tories to ‘turn the tide’ north of the border. 

    She went on to say she could win votes across ‘the Yellow Wall, the Red Wall, Blue Wall and the entire United Kingdom’.

    Earlier she issued a series of Twitter posts hitting back at attacks after she declared that ‘trans women are women’.

    She stressed there was a difference between ‘biological women’ and those who are ‘legally female’ as she pointed to how she had ‘fought for women’s rights all my life’. 

    Campaign group Conservatives for Women had said of Miss Mordaunt: ‘She has always been a committed warrior for the trans lobby. 

    Her promotion of mantras and failure to see how this may cause enormous harm to women’s rights and children raises questions over her judgment.’

    Two of Miss Mordaunt’s key supporters criticised attacks on her. Former science minister George Freeman told Times Radio: ‘When it comes to gender, she has been absolutely clear that a woman is a woman. 

    ‘Women need to know that their gender is sacred in law and protected. And she’s made that clear.’

    He stressed: ‘Penny Mordaunt is no woke warrior – she’s more of a liberty lioness.’

    Former Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom acknowledged that ‘mud sticks’ as she issued a plea for rival Tory camps to cool temperatures in the battle for No 10.

     

     New Prime Minister on September 5: Tory timetable to replace Boris Johnson as leader is announced with each candidate needing the backing of 20 MPs to get on the ballot

    The  next Conservative Prime Minister will be chosen by September 5, the party’s backbench leader announced last night.

    Nominations will open and close today, with the first ballot tomorrow and the second on Thursday, Sir Graham Brady said.

    The head of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers said he expected it would be a ‘lively contest’.

    Each contender would need the backing of 20 Tory MPs to be on the first ballot tomorrow.

    Rishi Sunak is currently in the lead with 40 supporters, while Penny Mordaunt is second at 26. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs committee, was last night said to have met the 20-vote threshold needed to get on the ballot.

    To reach the second ballot on Thursday, a candidate would need to have the backing of 30 Conservative MPs to make it through.

    This vote would whittle the field down to the final two candidates – but a further ballot will follow on Monday if this has not been achieved.

    The final two to make it through would then compete for the support of Tory party members who will vote in a postal ballot.

    The decision was announced by Sir Graham last night after a meeting of the Conservative Party’s executive board.

    So far, a total of 11 candidates have declared their intention to be party leader and therefore Prime Minister. The only contestant to have met the requirement to reach the second round so far is Mr Sunak.

    The aim is to cut the number of candidates to three or four before the end of this week through a series of ‘knockout’ votes. A final shortlist of two will then be chosen by MPs before the Commons begins summer recess on July 21.

    Boris Johnson will remain as caretaker Prime Minister until Conservative members elect a new leader from the shortlist. The aim is to complete the process before MPs return to Westminster on September 5.

    Mr Johnson has said he would not endorse any of the leadership candidates. ‘That’s not the job of the Prime Minister at this stage,’ he added.

    ‘The job of the Prime Minister at this stage is to let the party decide, let them get on with it and to continue delivering on the projects that we were elected to deliver.’ Sir Graham said the reasoning for demanding 20 backers for each person is to not make it impossible for ‘any serious candidate’. He said: ‘We thought 20 was a number that anybody who has got real support ought to be able to secure.

    ‘We also want to make sure that we can move smoothly and responsibly quickly through the process, and we didn’t want to have a cast of thousands in the election.’

     

    Suella Braverman urges Tories to back her in leadership fight over her love for Britain… not because of her skin colour

    ByDaily Mail Reporter

    Suella Braverman urged fellow MPs to vote for her because she loves Britain – rather than because she is ‘brown’.

    In a speech delivered to a packed room in London’s Churchill War Rooms, the Attorney General said: ‘Don’t vote for me because I’m a woman. Don’t vote for me because I’m brown.

    ‘Vote for me because I love this country and would do anything for it.

    ‘Vote for me because I have a clear vision and have experience working at the top of government. But most of all, vote for me because I’m a Conservative.’

    Suella Braverman urged fellow MPs to vote for her because she loves Britain ¿ rather than because she is ¿brown¿

    Suella Braverman urged fellow MPs to vote for her because she loves Britain – rather than because she is ‘brown’

    Mrs Braverman, pictured, vowed to tackle ‘stubborn’ working-age people who ‘refuse’ to get jobs to help cut the cost of government and fund a ‘radical’ plan to slash taxes.

    She pledged to remove VAT from energy bills as well as reduce corporation tax in order to attract investment. To cut spending, she set out long-term public service reforms.

    And the Tory leadership hopeful also pledged to tackle ‘multibillion-pound wastage’ in the way taxpayers’ money is used.

    Mrs Braverman, a law graduate and former barrister, has also pledged to take the UK out of the European Convention on Human Rights in Strasbourg, saying it was ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

     

    Kemi Badenoch sounds the siren for free speech as she reveals she had to fight the civil service over gender-neutral toilets ban

    ByMartin Beckford For The Daily Mail

    A rising star of the leadership contest has revealed how she had to fight woke civil servants to push through a ban on gender-neutral toilets.

    Kemi Badenoch told how Whitehall officials tried to thwart her recently announced plan to ensure all new public buildings should have separate bathrooms for men and women.

    She also said she had met doctors who were afraid to speak freely and teachers who were under pressure to stop using the word woman.

    The former minister, whose bid to succeed Boris Johnson has been backed by Michael Gove, said: ‘As a Conservative, I believe that the right of an individual to make up their own mind is the cornerstone of a good and free society.

    ‘We cannot hope to function well as a society if we cannot debate ideas. The chilling effect is all too real.’

    Kemi Badenoch told how Whitehall officials tried to thwart her recently announced plan to ensure all new public buildings should have separate bathrooms for men and women

    Kemi Badenoch told how Whitehall officials tried to thwart her recently announced plan to ensure all new public buildings should have separate bathrooms for men and women

    The 42-year-old, who quit as local government, faith and communities minister last week, told a free speech event in Parliament yesterday: ‘As a minister, I met clinicians unable to express honest professional opinions about patients, schools and NHS trusts who felt pressured to end the use of the words woman and girl.

    ‘On the abolition of gender-neutral toilets, you wouldn’t believe how tough it was to get that through. I had civil servants writing on the notes I had put out saying you can’t say that, you need to check whether that’s something you’re allowed to say.’

    But she insisted, to applause from the audience: ‘I didn’t change a word.’

    Miss Badenoch said it was wrong to claim concerns over free speech ‘are a cover for bigoted white men’, pointing out that ‘Left-leaning feminists’ such as JK Rowling were being persecuted.

    She added: ‘The purpose of the intimidatory mob rule directed at these women has one clear objective – to silence them.’

     

     

     

    Priti Patel is urged not to run for Tory leadership and split the Right of the party… as she comes BOTTOM in poll of best potential leaders 

    ByClaire Ellicott Political Correspondent For The Daily Mail

    Priti Patel was last night being urged not to throw her hat in the ring for the Tory leadership contest after she came last in a poll.

    The Home Secretary has spent days trying to decide whether to run – and was yesterday sounding out the support of Brexiteer backbenchers in the European Research Group (ERG).

    But her campaign hopes were dealt a major blow last night after she came bottom in a poll of Tory members who were asked who should be the next party leader.

    The Conservative Home survey was topped by Penny Mordaunt, with Kemi Badenoch in second place and Rishi Sunak in third.

    Despite not yet launching a campaign, Miss Patel has been publicly endorsed by a dozen MPs

    Despite not yet launching a campaign, Miss Patel has been publicly endorsed by a dozen MPs

    Miss Patel – who is planning to pitch herself as the ‘only authentic Brexiteer’ who can win the contest – was urged by rivals to pull out so that she does not split the Right-wing vote.

    An ally of Attorney General Suella Braverman told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s vital that we have one candidate on the Right, otherwise the vote will be split. Between Priti, Suella and Kemi, all that matters is who can win in the membership and has Cabinet experience.

    ‘There’s only one candidate who is in the middle of that Venn diagram: It’s not rocket science, it’s Suella.’

    Miss Patel, however, had been fearful that the Right-wing vote could be split if she did not enter the contest, leaving the party without a hardline Brexiteer in the final two contenders.

    A Tory source said: ‘If the Right united on the current numbers – the candidate would be in second place. Conversations and caucusing are only going to get them so far. There is a real risk they freeze themselves out of the race.’

    Miss Patel told the ERG last night that she would be a low-tax candidate, and would scrap green levies, address the cost of living crisis and refuse to ‘cave’ into the EU.

    Despite not yet launching a campaign, the Home Secretary has been publicly endorsed by a dozen MPs – putting her ahead of other rivals who have launched their bids.

    She has also won the backing of a Tory donor, Lord Cruddas, who said: ‘Our next Prime Minister must have a track record of leadership and delivery in Government, a commitment to Conservative values, and a clear vision for the future of our country.

    ‘We need to see Priti Patel in this race to deliver for the country. You will have my support.’

    Miss Patel has also been backed by Tom Pursglove, a minister at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, who was last week appointed Policing Minister.

    He posted on Twitter: ‘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.’

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