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Who is backing who in leadership race as Tory MPs prepare to vote

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 (Paul Ellis/PA)
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 (Paul Ellis/PA)

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 Wednesday, the PA news agency had confirmed the intentions of more than 160 Tory Members of Parliament regarding which of the candidates 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.

On Tuesday the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, announced the eight contenders who all secured enough nominations to be on the ballot paper when Tory MPs begin voting on Wednesday to elect a successor to Boris Johnson.

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.

Rishi Sunak – supporters: 43

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

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 40 backers – including fellow contender 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 threw his support behind 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, and Rebecca Pow.

Penny Mordaunt – supporters: 24

Economic pacts
Penny Mordaunt (Aaron Chown/PA)

Despite an awkward start to her campaign, in which her launch video had to be edited to remove several identifiable figures, Ms Mordaunt boasts 24 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.”

Veteran MP and former cabinet minister David Davis declared his support for Ms Mordaunt on Tuesday.

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.

Liz Truss – supporters: 21

Liz Truss (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

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 21 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.”

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 in the leadership contest as she is a “stronger Brexiteer” than both of them.

Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, publicly backed Ms Truss on Twitter.

She wrote: “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, James Cleverly, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries, Mark Pritchard, Paul Bristow, Brendan Clarke-Smith.

Tom Tugendhat – supporters: 19

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 19 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.

Kemi Badenoch – supporters: 17

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

The former minister for equalities has secured the support of 17 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, Alex Burghart, Nigel Mills, Sarah Dines, Marco Longhi

Nadhim Zahawi – supporters: 13

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

The newly appointed Chancellor has the backing of 13 Tory MPs, including Michelle Donelan, who was secretary of state for education from July 5-7, 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

Sunday Morning
Jeremy Hunt (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Hunt, who has held a number of cabinet positions such as health secretary, has been publicly backed by 11 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: 10

Cabinet Meeting
Suella Braverman (James Manning/PA)

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, Miriam Cates, Greg Smith

Sajid Javid – bowed out

Sunday Morning
Sajid Javid (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Sajid Javid withdrew from the race to be Tory leader just moments before the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady announced the eight contenders who will appear on Wednesday’s ballot paper.

In a statement, the former health secretary said: “Serving in Government is a true privilege. It has been just seven days since I took the difficult decision to resign from the most important job I have ever had, as health secretary during a pandemic.

“Since then, I have set out the values and policies I think are right for the future of our great country. I believe the party must now look outwards, not inwards, if we are to win again.

“There is an abundance of both ideas and talent in our party. One of the candidates will be given the honour of becoming Prime Minister.

“I look forward to seeing the debate unfold and to see colleagues working together as a united Conservative Party once the leadership election is concluded.”

His sensational resignation kickstarted the end of Mr Johnson’s premiership, and Mr Javid had publicly gained the support of nine MPs in his own leadership bid.

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 has exited the race to be Tory leader and instead thrown his support behind Mr Sunak.

He had earned the support of eight Tory MPs to replace Mr Johnson in Number 10, who may soon re-declare 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.

In a resignation letter posted online he wrote: “My campaign was a bottom-up campaign with very few resources which I personally led with no campaign managers.

“I have not been able to secure the required number of nominations to formally enter the race.”

Priti Patel – did not enter

National Security Bill
Priti Patel (Danny Lawson/PA)

The Home Secretary had already garnered public support from seven Tory MPs before she confirmed she was not standing in the leadership race.

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.”

“As Home Secretary I have always put the security and safety of our country and the national interest first and my focus is to continue working to get more police on our streets, support our amazing security services to keep our country safe and control our borders.

“Like all Conservative MPs and Party members, I will be listening to cases being put forward by the candidates standing for the leadership of the Party and trust the contest will be conducted in a good spirit that brings our Party together.”

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