Conservative leadership race latest: Penny Mordaunt 'clear favourite' among party members as voting begins - The Telegraph

  1. Conservative leadership race latest: Penny Mordaunt 'clear favourite' among party members as voting begins  The Telegraph
  2. Boris Johnson says he will leave No 10 ‘with my head held high’ at first PMQs since resignation – live  The Guardian
  3. The full exchange: Boris Johnson faces Keir Starmer in his penultimate PMQs  The Independent
  4. UK's Johnson: 'I will be leaving soon with my head held high'  Reuters UK
  5. Ballot open in Tory leadership race as Boris to ‘leave with head high’  Evening Standard

Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi have crashed out of the Conservative leadership race, leaving six candidates in contention to become the next prime minister.

Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, commanded the support of the most Tory MPs, receiving 88 votes, with Penny Mordaunt - who earlier polling showed has become a favourite among grassroots activists - taking second place on 67.

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, was in third with 50 backers. Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat and Suella Braverman also remain in the race.

Further votes will now follow tomorrow and into next week - until the field is whittled down to just two candidates.

Mr Hunt, the former health secretary, admitted he had his "big shot" at the leadership in 2019, while the Chancellor, Mr Zahawi, issued a statement confirming he would not throw his public support behind any other candidate.


That's all for today...

Any hopes Rishi Sunak had of a coronation as Conservative leader were well and truly blown out of the water tonight.

Mr Sunak put in a strong showing in the first ballot of MPs, securing some 88 votes. But hot on his heels is Penny Mordaunt, fewer than 20 votes behind.

The Tory Right trio of Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman all remain in the race, as does backbencher Tom Tugendhat.

Penny Mordaunt today overtook Rishi Sunak as the bookmakers' favourite to become prime minister in an extraordinary twist in the campaign CREDIT: TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Nadhim Zahawi and Jeremy Hunt exiting the race is no surprise. But far more of a shock is just how open the contest remains with six candidates left, all of whom will hope to find a pathway to No 10 by way of horse-trading among MPs and galvanising the members.

We can look forward to it all over again tomorrow. My colleague Jack Maidment will bring you the results of the second round as MPs vote from 3pm - make sure you join him as the drama levels match the mercury in Westminster.

Analysis: Will the Right unite?

All the early signs pointed to a final two of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership contest. But the political weather in Westminster is notoriously changeable.

The two main surprises in this contest to date have been the rapid rise of Penny Mordaunt, who placed second tonight, and the ascension of Kemi Badenoch.

The latter, standing on a stridently anti-woke, small-state platform, received 40 votes from Tory MPs, just ten fewer than Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary. Suella Braverman, on 32 votes, only split the Right of the party further.

Steve Baker, the most staunch supporter of Ms Braverman, insisted she would not stand down anytime soon. Ms Badenoch will be emboldened by her strong showing, despite no Cabinet experience. And Ms Truss is set to step up her campaign in the coming days.

So, with a view to the final two, it would make sense for the Tory Right to unite behind one candidate. But considering Priti Patel decided not to run as to not divide her wing of the party, it is instead looking more split than ever with all three women still set on becoming Britain's next prime minister.

The Conservative leadership rules and how Tories will elect the next Prime Minister

The next Conservative leader is being selected by a process initially run by the MPs, before the final two are put in front of the party's 200,000 members to select a winner, writes Christopher Hope.

Conservative leadership candidates will be forced to agree in writing that they will not withdraw from the contest if they are one of the final two names put to a vote of the party's members, under new plans to stop MPs stitching up who is the next prime minister.

Senior Tories are desperate to stop one of the candidates withdrawing from the contest as Dame Andrea Leadsom did in 2016, handing the leadership unchallenged to the overwhelming favourite Theresa May before members were given a chance to vote.

The Telegraph understands that leadership rules include a 'Leadsom clause', under which any candidate who makes it to the final two will have to submit themselves to a vote of party members.

Have a read of the rulebook here

Penny and Kemi should beware of a Tory Left stitch up

Anyone who does not wish Rishi Sunak to become prime minister should be thanking his campaign team for their efforts to date in this Tory leadership contest, writes Patrick O'Flynn.

At least one member of that team has been briefing senior lobby journalists that Sunak’s plan is to secure such a commanding level of support among MPs that it "sends a message to grassroots Tories".

Presumably the envisaged message is that members of Conservative associations would then have some kind of duty to set their own judgments aside and support Sunak, a man many hold culpable for the plot to bring down Boris Johnson.

Yet any such message reeks so highly of insider entitlement that one would certainly expect grassroots Conservative members to send a contrary one back if Sunak pitches up in the final two – the kind of message that would make Andrea Jenkyns seem like a model of diplomacy by comparison.

Patrick O'Flynn: Why the Brexiteer Right must unite

Steve Baker: We know how to withstand pressure

Steve Baker, who is endorsing Suella Braverman's campaign, categorically ruled out any withdrawal in order to support Liz Truss or Kemi Badenoch's efforts.

"We've decided that we have not begun to fight and people underestimate Suella at their peril," he said. "The great news about me and Suella as a team is we know how to withstand pressure.

"We're going to battle forwards, and we're going to battle forwards with a good heart. It's not clear that either Rishi or Liz can do it from here. Rishi only got a quarter of the vote and we know that Rishi among members is a loser."

Speaking to Sky News, he added: "I'm sorry, I like Rishi but among members he'll lose to anyone. The only fait accompli here is Rishi Sunak won't be prime minister despite getting a quarter of votes today."

Suella Braverman camp on defiant form

Suella Braverman is going nowhere. A source close to her camp tells Christopher Hope: "The hustings could make all the difference. We fight on, we fight to win as someone once said."

For all the Thatcherite talk, a similar sentiment was cited by Boris Johnson's team only last week - less than 24 hours later, the outgoing prime minister would resign.

Tom Tugendhat praises Nadhim Zahawi

Mr Tugendhat tells the Chancellor: "You’re a great man, you’ve been a great candidate and you’re a great friend. Frontline politics needs you."

Nadhim Zahawi's hopes of becoming prime minister are no more CREDIT: TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Mordaunt's 'incredibly brave' dive into reality television

Supporters of Penny Mordaunt have pointed out tonight's ballot isn't the first time the main challenger to Rishi Sunak has made a splash.

Bob Stewart, the MP for Beckenham, said Ms Mordaunt is an "incredibly brave woman" and, when asked for an example, cited a "rather weird" example.

"Do you remember the Splash series where she dived?" he told Times Radio. "And she did a belly flop. And afterwards she was in absolute agony. I saw her legs, they were really blue. And then she went in and did it again, exactly the same thing. And I thought, my God, I'd never have had the courage to do that again."

Ms Mordaunt took part in the second (final) series of Splash!, a live ITV game show which saw Olympic gold winner Tom Daley train celebrities in the art of diving.

More leadership hopefuls react to result

Rishi Sunak, who resigned from his Chancellor post eight days ago, told the BBC he is feeling "great" about the result.

Penny Mordaunt, his closest rival as things stand, said she was "very honoured" by the show of support from her fellow MPs.

Kemi Badenoch: 'I have the conviction and courage'

This from Kemi Badenoch, who won more votes than Tom Tugendhat and Suella Braverman tonight:


A spokesman for Liz Truss says:

"Now is the time for colleagues to unite behind the candidate who will cut taxes, deliver the real economic change we need from day one and ensure Putin loses in Ukraine."

Could Sunak, Badenoch and Mordaunt campaigns unite?

Wow! writes Christopher Hope.

I am picking up pressure tonight from European Research Group sources for Suella Braverman, Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch to merge campaigns.

Could Suella Braverman combine her campaign with Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch's efforts? CREDIT: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS

This could help to blow Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt out of the water.

Unfortunately for Sunak, the Tories are ready to take a risk with their new leader

I think we can confirm that the Conservative party is not sexist or racially bigoted. There is only one white man left in the race, writes Janet Daley.

That is a point which the broadcasting coverage seems to be neglecting. They are far more interested in the heated arguments and the maneuvering behind the scenes – as if those things were shameful in a sophisticated democracy.

But never mind, this is one of the most interesting and genuinely lively competitions we have seen in any political party for a generation.

The official "front runner" Rishi Sunak who, until about twenty minutes ago, had looked like a busted flush, was miraculously transformed into the natural inheritor of power. But something went wrong.

Janet Daley: Sunak's betrayal of Thatcherism has not been forgotten

Nadhim Zahawi 'took the brave decision'

Jonathan Gullis MP, an early supporter of Nadhim Zahawi who crashed out of the leadership race after getting just 25 votes, tells our Chief Political Correspondent Camilla Turner: "I think its clear that the party needs to unite".

He declined to say which other candidate he would support now but said he would "take any candidate over a Labour government any day of the week".

Asked where it all went wrong for Mr Zahawi, he pointed to the decision to take a promotion in Boris Johnson's Cabinet and accept the job of Chancellor after Rishi Sunak resigned.

"There have been some challenging questions about the decision to take the Chancellor job," Mr Gullis said. "He took the brave decision, he put country before career and I respect him for that."

Nadhim Zahawi: I'm staying neutral from here on in

Nadhim Zahawi said he accepted the Chancellor position "because I want to serve my country and the British people... Clearly my part in the contest has now ended.

"I don't wish to make any further intervention, but I wish all the candidates in the leadership contest the very best of luck!"


The moment Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi were voted out


It's time to play fair, warns Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt's parting salvo in this contest? "A gentle word of advice" to those who remain in the race.

The former health secretary took to Twitter to take a sideswipe at a campaign which has already seen thinly-veiled digs (see 10.14am) and "mucky memos" about rival candidates.

"Smears and attacks may bring short term tactical gain but always backfire long term," Mr Hunt wrote. "The nation is watching and they’ve had enough of our drama; be the broad church and unbeatable, election-winning machine that our country deserves."

Could Hunt throw weight behind Tugendhat?

Tom Tugendhat is in talks now with Jeremy Hunt about an endorsement, Christopher Hope is reliably informed.

Sources close to Tugendhat's campaign tell him they expect to pick up as many as 25 of the 43 votes won by Hunt and Zahawi at the first round.

One source said that Sunak's campaign had lent votes to Badenoch's campaign, and that these votes could now be pulled back to support Sunak in the second round tomorrow.

Jeremy Hunt: You only get one big shot at this

Echoing our own Christopher Hope's analysis, Jeremy Hunt tweets: "I want to thank my incredible team of loyal and talented supporters who put their faith in me. It’s become obvious to me you only get one big shot at this, and I had mine in 2019.

"Nevertheless, it’s clear that our party has an exciting future, with the amazing array of talent on offer in this contest, and I feel confident that we are on track to win back trust."

'Clearly, the combination of Jeremy and me was not considered the right one'

The combination of Esther McVey and Jeremy Hunt was "clearly... not considered the right one", Ms McVey wrote in a Twitter statement minutes after tonight's result.

Mr Hunt had vowed to make her his deputy prime minister in a bid to unite the Tory Right and the 'One Nation' wing of the party.

Ms McVey wrote: "I very much hope that the Parliamentary Party adopts the spirit of what we were trying to achieve - putting together a programme the party can unite behind to win the next election."


'It means a great deal to me'

In a video message, Penny Mordaunt has told her supporters:

"Thank you to everyone who has supported my campaign whether you came to my launch this morning, whether you've interacted on our website.

"Thank you so much for all the wonderful messages you have sent. It means a great deal to me and my team, thank you."

Christopher Hope's snap analysis: You get one chance

Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi are out, writes Christopher Hope, our Associate Editor. Hunt shows that you get one chance to be leader of the Conservative party.

But Rishi Sunak is ahead - but not as much as you might think. There are plenty of anti-Sunak voters out there. He is not streaking ahead.

Rishi Sunak is ahead - but could he be frozen out of the final two?

Mr Sunak is by no means guaranteed to be in the final two. And some ruthless deal cutting now could see him squeezed out.

Tom Tugendhat praises 'fantastic result'


Snap analysis: And then there were six

With only 14 public backers apiece, it is unsurprising Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi fell short of the 30 votes from MPs they needed.

The results, announced just now by Sir Graham Brady, leaves six candidates for MPs to vote on tomorrow. Rishi Sunak, as expected, is out in the lead with 88 votes, although is followed more closely expected by Penny Mordaunt, who has 67 backers.

The Right of the party is split - between Liz Truss (50), Kemi Badenoch (40) and Suella Braverman (32) - while Tom Tugendhat, a more liberal 'One Nation Tory' candidate, stays in the race with 37 supporters.

Dominic Raab, the Deputy Prime Minister, is already taking the results as a sign of support for "the candidate who's best placed to beat Labour and the Lib Dems". It is also a sign Mr Sunak can feel good about his prime ministerial prospects, but shows the strength of support for Penny Mordaunt - reflective of what members seem to think.

Votes secured...

Kemi Badenoch - 40

Suella Braverman - 32

Jeremy Hunt - 18 - OUT

Penny Mordaunt - 67

Rishi Sunak - 88

Liz Truss - 50

Tom Tugendhat - 37

Nadhim Zahawi - 25 - OUT

Here we go...

We can expect the announcement in a packed committee room in Westminster in a minute's time...

Brexit Spartan becomes first to publicly back Sunak

Theresa Villiers - one of just 28 Tory Spartans who voted against all three of Theresa May Brexit deals - has just voted for... Rishi Sunak, writes Christopher Hope, our Associate Editor.

Ms Villiers says she thinks she is probably the only Spartan to vote for Sunak.

A reminder of where we are with public endorsements

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor until last week, is leading the field with some 53 Tory MPs backing him publicly.

He is followed by Penny Mordaunt - the surprise package of the leadership race to date - who boasts 37 backers. Liz Truss has 23 supporters, putting the Foreign Secretary level with Kemi Badenoch.

Mr Sunak will be hoping the country is 'Ready for Rishi' CREDIT: ALBERTO PEZZALI/AP PHOTO

In more trouble at this stage are Suella Braverman, on 16 endorsements, and Jeremy Hunt and Nadhim Zahawi, on 14. Let's see where we end up in a few minutes' time.

The 1922 Committee executive and the ballot boxes...

"Every vote counts #1922Committee", tweets Nus Ghani, the vice-chairman of the backbench group's executive.

Ms Ghani is pictured beaming alongside the ballot boxes with Sir Graham Brady, the illustrious committee chairman, Gary Sambrook, Bob Blackman and William Wragg.

Less than 15 minutes to go until we know as much as they do.

In for a Penny

Sir Mike Penning has quit as a vice-chairman of the Conservative party in the last few minutes so he can campaign for Penny Mordaunt.

This takes her total number of backers to 37.

Boris' resignation is proving a disaster for Keir Starmer

The Left, unsurprisingly, have played the man not the ball over the last two and a half years, writes Ed McGuinness.

Sir Keir Starmer has made his whole platform about personality politics, Lord knows you would need a fine toothed comb to even come close to a Labour policy position, never mind a coherent one – brutally indicated in the fact the party has barely held onto a double digit polling lead for any meaningful amount of time since 2019.

Having exhausted their attacks on the outgoing Prime Minister, the Left will, and indeed are, already beginning to switch to another form of ammunition. Typically unimaginatively, they will continue to pursue Boris Johnson, directly, or his legacy, indirectly, chasing likes and ratios on Twitter at the expense of actual substance.

​Ed McGuinness: As Tories debate ideas, Labour has nothing to say

Team Hunt 'confident we will get the nomination'

Karen Bradley, who is supporting Tom Tugendhat, praised his "great team" and said "we believe we've got the votes" for him to the next round.

But, she told Sky News, "this is a secret ballot and we wouldn't want to predict anything".

Anthony Mangnall, the MP for Totnes who is backing Jeremy Hunt, insisted he was "confident... we will get the nomination and he has done a terrific job".

Mr Hunt only has 14 public backers, but last night saw several candidates with fewer than 20 on-record endorsements still meet that threshold to advance to the next round.

Will Tom keep his hat in the ring?

Christopher Hope, our Associate Editor, is getting an interesting - and surprising buzz - at his table in Portcullis House around ... Tom Tugendhat.

Is he doing better than many expected?

We only have around half an hour until the first round result.

The Penny hasn't dropped for the public

Penny Mordaunt may have emerged as the surprise bookmakers' favourite of the current Conservative leadership campaign - and, if polling yesterday and today is anything to go by, the favourite among grassroots activists.

But new polling from Savanta ComRes shows only 16 per cent of Tory members can correctly name her when shown a photograph - falling to 11 per cent of the public:


David Davis: P.M. should become PM - and here's why

David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, recalled the height of the Brexit battles as he set out why he is backing Penny Mordaunt for the leadership.

"I think her performance to date reflects her qualities, frankly," Mr Davis said. "On the day we had the huge showdown at Chequers, the one that led to my resignation and effectively changed the history of the Kingdom, she was the best performer.

Penny Mordaunt made her maiden speech of the leadership campaign earlier today CREDIT: TOLGA AKMEN/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

"When 20-odd Cabinet ministers were supporting Theresa May she stepped in, bravely defended the Brexit cause and did actually... make the best arguments of the day."

Speaking to Talk TV, Mr Davis pointed to her two previous Cabinet posts as another reason 'P.M.' should become PM.

Good afternoon

Dominic Penna, the Telegraph's political reporter, here to guide you through the rest of the day.

Less than an hour now until Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers, announces the results of the first round of voting.

A reminder that 30, instead of 20, is now the magic number - and any candidate with fewer than 30 backers will automatically be excluded from the race.

Things look most concerning for Jeremy Hunt, the former health secretary, and Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor. Both only have 14 public backers and will need more than double that - but we will know for sure come 5pm.

Liz Truss: Covid-related debt should be treated like 'war debt'

Liz Truss has suggested she would borrow more money to fund the tax cuts she has pledged as she said the nation's coronavirus-related debt should be treated like a "war debt".

Ms Truss has signalled that she will cut corporation tax, reverse the National Insurance rise and overhaul business rates if she wins the leadership race.

She told The Spectator magazine that she had opposed tax rises brought forward by Rishi Sunak when he was chancellor "from the start".

Ms Truss said she disagreed with the idea that the national debt should be brought down quickly. She said: "Covid was a one-off crisis. The debt that we accumulated as a result of that, the £400 billion we spent, should be seen as a long-term debt – like a war debt – and needs to be longer-term.

"I don’t agree with the Treasury orthodoxy of immediately seeking to pay that back and balance the books and damage economic growth."

Voting closes

Voting has now closed in the first round of the Tory leadership contest.

The eight candidates will now have to wait until 5pm for the result.

Scottish nationalist MPs thrown out of Commons

Two Scottish nationalist MPs were thrown out of the Commons after launching a protest to demand a second independence referendum ahead of Boris Johnson’s appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker, told Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill to “shut up and get out” amid rowdy scenes.

He asked the Serjeant at Arms, who is responsible for security in the Commons, to “deal with them – escort them out” after they ignored his demand to stop their protest.

You can read the full story here.

Only two candidates are above 30 MP threshold

There are currently only two leadership candidates who have more than 30 MPs publicly backing them.

Rishi Sunak has the public support of 53 MPs and Penny Mordaunt has 36.

To advance to the second round of voting tomorrow, candidates need to secure at least 30 votes which means the remaining six candidates are still scrambling for support.

Liz Truss has the public support of 26 MPs, Kemi Badenoch has 23, Tom Tugendhat has 23, Suella Braverman has 15, Jeremy Hunt has 14 and Nadhim Zahawi has 14.

What happens next

Voting in the first round of the Tory leadership contest will close at 3.30pm. Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, will then announce the result at 5pm.

Any candidate who receives fewer than 30 votes will be eliminated.

A second ballot will then take place tomorrow with further votes scheduled for next week until there are only two candidates left. The candidate who finishes last in each round will be knocked out.

The aim is to have the final two by July 21 when Parliament is due to break for its summer recess.

They will then face a series of hustings across the country as Tory members get their vote in the head-to-head contest. The winner will then be announced on September 5.

All eight candidates have now voted

All eight candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative leader have now voted.

Nadhim Zahawi was the last candidate to vote in the ballot this afternoon, ahead of voting closing at 3.30pm.

Nadhim Zahawi casts ballot

Nadhim Zahawi, the Chancellor, has cast his vote in the first round of the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

He smiled but did not speak as he left the Commons committee room where the election is taking place.

Liz Truss casts ballot

Liz Truss smiled as she arrived to cast her ballot in the first stage of the Tory leadership contest.

Ms Truss, who dodged the queues as the early rush to vote subsided, said little upon arrival at a Commons committee room.

Around 300 MPs are believed to have voted so far in the contest, campaign observers said.

Tory MPs now have less than an hour left to vote. Voting will close at 3.30pm.

Suella Braverman 'very confident' of progressing

Suella Braverman has said she is "very confident" of making it through the first round of voting today. She will need 30 MPs to vote for her to make it through.

She said: "We are confident that we will be able to get through this round. I am incredibly grateful for the support from the European Research Group, incredibly grateful for support from people from various intakes, all over the country.

"Yes, we are very confident we will be going through to the next round."

Two-thirds of MPs have now voted

At least two-thirds of Conservative MPs have now voted in the first ballot of the contest to replace Boris Johnson, campaign team observers have said.

Suella Braverman voted in the contest after 2pm, after a busy start to proceedings that saw Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove, Ben Wallace, Priti Patel and other senior Tories voting to find a successor to the Prime Minister.

Rehman Chishti backs Tom Tugendhat

Rehman Chishti, who pulled out of the Tory leadership contest yesterday after it became clear he would not have enough support to make it onto the ballot paper, has announced he is backing Tom Tugendhat.

He tweeted: "I am delighted to support @TomTugendhat to be the next leader of our Party and Prime Minister of our great country , in line with the vision & values I set out in my leadership campaign calling for a merit-based system of government based on aspirational conservatism."

Rehman Chishti has announced he is supporting Tom Tugendhat in the leadership race

Jeremy Hunt and Penny Mordaunt vote

Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt gave a thumbs-up after he voted in the first ballot of the contest.

Mr Hunt, who is expected to come under pressure as the competition tightens, could be seen chatting to former Cabinet minister Michael Gove as he waited in the queue.

Penny Mordaunt was also among the candidates to vote early, arriving at a Commons committee room after a busy morning that saw her launch her campaign in Westminster.

Asked how she was feeling, she told reporters: “Good, good, early days. Too early to tell.”

Rishi Sunak the first candidate to vote

The first MPs have now voted in the first ballot of the Tory leadership contest, with Rishi Sunak the first candidate to cast their vote.

Tory MPs started queuing just before 1.30pm to vote, queuing in single-file as they waited to enter a Commons committee room.

Mr Sunak, a frontrunner in the contest who is expected to clear the first ballot with ease, smiled and appeared relaxed as he waited in the queue.

Poll: Penny Mordaunt would beat all Tory rivals in head-to-head

A YouGov survey of Conservative Party members has suggested Penny Mordaunt would beat all of her rivals in a final head-to-head contest:

Against Liz Truss, some 55 per cent of people picked Ms Mordaunt while 37 per cent picked Ms Truss.

Against Kemi Badenoch, some 59 per cent picked Ms Mordaunt while 30 per cent picked Ms Badenoch.

Against Suella Braverman, some 63 per cent picked Ms Mordaunt while 25 per cent picked Ms Braverman.

Against Tom Tugendhat, some 64 per cent picked Ms Mordaunt while 26 per cent picked Mr Tugendhat.

Against Rishi Sunak, some 67 per cent picked Ms Mordaunt while 28 per cent picked Mr Sunak.

Against Nadhim Zahawi, some 70 per cent picked Ms Mordaunt while 18 per cent backed Mr Zahawi.

Against Jeremy Hunt, some 77 per cent picked Ms Mordaunt while 16 per cent backed Mr Hunt.

Voting begins in first round of Tory leadership contest

Voting is now underway in the first round of the Tory leadership contest.

Tory MPs will have until 3.30pm to cast their ballot, choosing between the eight remaining candidates.

The result will be announced at 5pm. Any candidate who receives fewer than 30 votes will be eliminated.

Poll boost for Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt has received a major poll boost after a YouGov survey suggested she is the clear favourite in the leadership contest among Tory members.

The snap poll found that more than a quarter of Conservative Party members - 27 per cent - said Ms Mordaunt is the candidate they most want to replace Boris Johnson as PM.

Kemi Badenoch is a distant second on 15 per cent, followed by Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss who are both on 13 per cent.

The YouGov survey also found that when candidates are paired together in head-to-head contests, Ms Mordaunt wins against all the other candidates.

MPs to have phones confiscated when they vote

Christopher Hope, The Telegraph's Associate Editor, is outside the committee room in Parliament where Tory MPs are about to vote in the Conservative leadership election.

He writes that no funny business will be allowed at the first ballot: Tory MPs will have their mobile phones confiscated at the door before they vote.

1922 Committee sources have expressed concerns that MPs will take photos of their ballot papers.

PM intends to leave No 10 on September 6

Boris Johnson plans to leave No 10 on September 6 if the next Tory leader is chosen the day before as planned, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman has said.

No 10: PM plans to do PMQs next week

Boris Johnson suggested at lunchtime that today's edition of PMQs may have been his last (see the post below at 12.27).

Downing Street has now clarified that Mr Johnson does not have plans to skip his final PMQs next week.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary said: “As things stand, he will still be doing PMQs in his last week.”

Kemi Badenoch 'would break up the Treasury' as PM

Kemi Badenoch plans to hand responsibility for economic growth to No 10 if she becomes prime minister, according to a report by Sebastian Payne, the Whitehall Editor at the Financial Times.

Here's his tweet:


Tory MP: Rishi Sunak 'hamstrung' by time as chancellor

Senior Tory MP Julian Knight was in the room for the 92 Group hustings and said he found Rishi Sunak's pitch "a bit strange", writes Camilla Turner.

Mr Knight, the chairman of the DCMS Select Committee, said that Mr Sunak is still "hamstrung" by his time as chancellor and would "just be more of the same" in terms of economic policy if elected as Prime Minister.

Mr Knight, who has already declared that he is backing Liz Truss, said there are "some campaigns with energy and some without energy", adding that candidates that fall into the latter camp should pull out and get behind their rivals to speed up the race.

"Kemi is really good - however there were some thoughts in the room that said the time is not now [for her]," he said. Mr Knight said that MPs in the room felt Ms Badenoch is a "real rising star" in the Conservative Party.

Liz Truss tells hustings event: 'We need to be bold' on the economy

Liz Truss told the 92 Group hustings event in Parliament that a "managerial approach" won't work when it comes to tackling the UK's economic challenges.

A source present at the behind-closed-doors hustings said Ms Truss had said: “My priority is sorting out the economy. We need to be bold, we can’t have continuity economic policy. A managerial approach won’t work. We need serious reform and as PM I’d be ready to go from day one.”

An ally of Ms Truss said that "Liz is the only candidate to rival Rishi who has credibility or experience on the economy, which is ultimately going to be the defining issue at the next election".

Allies have pointed to Ms Truss's time as chief secretary to the Treasury as evidence that she has experience on handling economic matters.

What is happening with the vote of confidence?

Labour wanted to hold a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson and the Government in the House of Commons. If a government loses such a vote it would be expected to resign which could trigger a general election.

Labour's plan was blocked by the Government on the grounds that Mr Johnson has already resigned and because the convention is that such votes in the Commons are supposed to relate to governments as a whole rather than to an individual.

Labour wanted to include Mr Johnson in the motion because it would have forced Tory MPs to vote in favour of keeping the PM in No 10 despite the fact that many of them also want him gone.

The Government is now attempting to spike Labour's guns by bringing forward a vote purely on whether MPs have confidence in the Government (with no mention of Mr Johnson).

The vote is likely to take place on Monday. It remains to be seen how Labour will respond.

Confirmed: Government is tabling vote of confidence in itself

Boris Johnson is combatting Labour’s plans to force a no confidence vote by tabling a motion to ask MPs whether they have confidence in the Government.

A Government spokeswoman said: “Labour were given the option to table a straightforward vote of no confidence in the Government in keeping with convention, however they chose not to.

“To remedy this, we are tabling a motion which gives the House the opportunity to decide if it has confidence in the Government.

“The Government will always allow time for appropriate House matters whilst ensuring that it delivers parliamentary business to help improve people’s everyday lives.”

'I will be leaving soon with my head held high'

Boris Johnson has told MPs that when he leaves No 10, he will do so "with my head held high".

Mr Johnson said: "It is perfectly true that I leave not at a time of my choosing. Absolutely true.

"But I am proud of the fantastic team work that has been involved in all of those projects both nationally and internationally and I am also proud of the leadership that I have given.

"I will be leaving soon with my head held high."

Boris Johnson watches on during PMQs in the House of Commons today

Boris Johnson suggests today could be his last PMQs

Sir Keir Starmer said Boris Johnson is "totally deluded to the bitter end" as they clashed over Tory leadership candidates' tax and spend pledges.

Sir Keir said he will miss the "weekly nonsense" from Mr Johnson. The Labour leader raised the resignation of Rishi Sunak last week and claimed the former chancellor had yesterday promised to "rebuild the economy - even the Prime Minister must be impressed by that Johnsonian brassneckery".

The Labour leader asked: "Can the Prime Minister think of any jobs his former chancellor may have had that means he bears some responsibility for an economy that he now claims is broken?"

Mr Johnson said: "I think everybody who has played a part in the last three years has done a remarkable job in helping this country though very difficult times.

"I just want to say to him, really, the next leader of my party may be elected by acclamation so it is possible this will be our last confrontation over this despatch box, it is possible, so I want to thank him for the style in which he has conducted himself.

"I think it would be fair to say he has been considerably less lethal than many other members of this House and I will tell you why that is, because he hasn't come up with an idea, a plan or a vision for this country."

Government 'tabling confidence motion in itself'

There are now reports that the Government is tabling a confidence motion in itself, with a vote to be held in the House of Commons in the coming days.

A Labour source told Sky News they believe this is the case.

The Telegraph understands that the vote could take place on Monday next week.

PM: Tory leadership candidates will 'wipe the floor' with Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer asked Boris Johnson if he agreed "that offshore schemes can pose a risk because some people use them to avoid tax they owe here".

Mr Johnson said: "I think it possible that he is referring, not to me, but to some of the eight brilliant candidates who are currently vying for my job.

"Let me just tell him that any one of them would wipe the floor with Captain Crasharooneysnoozefest. After a few weeks times that is exactly what they will do."

Sir Keir Starmer pokes fun at PM

Sir Keir Starmer said he welcomed the new Cabinet to their places as he highlighted the recent choas at the heart of the Government.

Talking about a number of recent ministerial appointments, the Labour leader said it is "truly the country's loss that they will only be in post for a few weeks".

Sir Keir said: "The Prime Minister must be feeling de-mob happy since he was pushed out of office. Finally he can throw off the shackles , say what he thinks and forget about following the rules."

Sir Keir asked the PM if he agreed that the "absurd" no-dom tax status should be scrapped.

Mr Johnson said he is focusing on "continuing the government of this country". He said "doms or non-doms, I don't mind".

PMQs now underway

PMQs got off to a chaotic start as two Alba Party MPs were ejected from the House of Commons.

The pair refused to sit down as they appeared to shout at Boris Johnson, prompting Sir Lindsay Hoyle to tell them "either shut up or get out".

He then proceeded to "name" Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill and asked the Serjeant at Arms to escort them out of the chamber.


PM arrives in Commons

Boris Johnson has just taken his seat in the House of Commons ahead of Prime Minister's Questions.

The chamber is almost full.

Tory leadership rivals continue to be grilled by MPs

Sustained banging of tables echoed from the committee room in Parliament where the 92 Group hustings are taking place as Kemi Badenoch left.

Jeremy Hunt, another one of the contenders to replace Boris Johnson, appeared positive as he left the hustings.

Mr Hunt, who will be among the candidates to face the first ballot of the contest later today, said he was asked “good” questions by the right-wing group of Tory MPs.

PMQs set to start at noon

PMQs will get underway in the House of Commons at noon.

It is likely to have a bit of a strange atmosphere given that the main action in Westminster is elsewhere as Tory leadership rivals fight it out for the keys to No 10.

But it should still be a fiery affair as Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer clash for the first time since the PM announced his resignation.

Sir Keir will almost certainly challenge Mr Johnson over the Government's decision to block Labour's bid to hold a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons on the PM's leadership.

Not 'Ready for Rishi'?

Eight Tory MPs have already "switched sides" after their chosen candidate either withdrew from the race or decided not to run.

Out of these, not a single one has opted for Rishi Sunak. Three threw their weight behind Liz Truss, including two former Grant Shapps supporters.

Two more are behind Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch, with Rachel Maclean switching from Sajid Javid to Penny Mordaunt.

Analysis: Penny Mordaunt campaign launch

Penny Mordaunt's campaign launch speech this morning was heavy on patriotism and a bit of a mess on policy.

She pledged to create a new civilian defence force and to modernise Whitehall: Two interesting areas for sure, but neither are likely to get Tory pulses racing and were slightly surprising inclusions in a big pitch to be PM.

However, this speech will not be remembered for policy pledges, it will be remembered as the moment that Ms Mordaunt showed she is the best communicator out of all the candidates.

Penny Mordaunt is pictured leaving her leadership launch event in Westminster this morning CREDIT: EDDIE MULHOLLAND FOR THE TELEGRAPH

Where some of her rivals have been wooden in their delivery and in their responses to questions, Ms Mordaunt came across as being at ease and as someone who believed everything she was saying.

In a political age where "authenticity" really matters, undecided Tory MPs will have been watching very closely.

Penny Mordaunt grilled on gender issues

Penny Mordaunt was asked after her campaign speech where she stood on gender issues.

She said: “I think it was Margaret Thatcher that said that ‘every prime minister needs a Willie’. A woman like me doesn’t have one.”

Asked to define a woman, Ms Mordaunt said: "I am a woman, I am biologically a woman, and I can tell you that if you have been in the Royal Navy and you have competed physically against men you understand the biological difference between men and women."

Where are we now - and what comes next?

We can expect the field of Tory leadership candidates to narrow further when the results of the first round of voting are announced at 5pm.

The bar is significantly higher than it was yesterday, with the votes of 30 MPs now required for candidates to make it through to the next round, which takes place tomorrow.

Penny Mordaunt launches her Tory leadership campaign in Westminster today CREDIT: TOLGA AKMEN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Currently, Rishi Sunak is sitting pretty on 49 public endorsements and Penny Mordaunt 31, meaning they should both have the backing to sail through.

Seemingly in the danger zone are Liz Truss (23), Tom Tugendhat (21), Kemi Badenoch (20), Suella Braverman (15), Jeremy Hunt (14) and Nadhim Zahawi (14).

But, as we saw yesterday, candidates without the required amount of open support can still meet the threshold through MPs voting for them in sufficient numbers in private.

Suella Braverman claims to be only 'authentic Brexiteer' in contest

Suella Braverman has now emerged from the 92 Group hustings in Parliament, writes Camilla Turner.

The Attorney General said she had "friendly questions from friends" in the audience and added that she is the only "authentic Brexiteer" in the running.

'May the best Conservative win'

Suella Braverman has arrived to make her pitch to the 92 Group of Tory grandees and she is in great spirits, writes Camilla Turner.

She told reporters that this is a "great contest" full of an "array if talent" and added that she is "so proud" to be taking party in the leadership race.

"May the best Conservative win," she declared as she waited to enter the room.

In a nod to the negative briefings between rival camps that have characterised the leadership race in recent days, Mrs Braverman added that "whoever wins needs to unite the party. Leadership contests force people to take positions. We'll unite behind whoever wins this fairly and squarely".

She vowed that the Conservative Party will beat Keir Starmer and increase its majority.

'I am the candidate that Labour fear the most'

Penny Mordaunt was asked what the difference is between her and Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest.

She said: "I am not going to talk about other candidates. They can set out their stall. But what I would say to you is who can not just win this contest, but win a general election?

"If we do not win the next general election, all those opportunities and the vision that the British people have from us leaving the European Union will not be realised.

"We must win that election. I am your best shot at winning that election. I am the candidate that Labour fear the most. And they are right to."


Penny Mordaunt pledges new Civil Defence Force

Penny Mordaunt has pledged to create a new force to help take some of the strain off the existing armed forces.

She said: "I am also going to remove some of the strains on our armed forces and take tasks from them that they don't need to do.

"And so I am going to stand up a Civil Defence force, as I outlined when I rewrote this country's resiliency strategy."

'My monetary policy will be on controlling inflation'

Penny Mordaunt said she does not want to talk about tax and spending but about "growth and competition".

Setting out her approach to the economy, she said: "My key fiscal rules is that debt as a percentage of GDP will fall over time.

"My monetary policy will be on controlling inflation. And our supply side reforms will yield a Brexit dividend on investment, infrastructure, incentives and innovation."

British public are 'fed up'

Penny Mordaunt said she believes voters are "fed up".

She said: "The British people are fed up. They are fed up with us not delivering, they are fed up with unfulfilled promises and they are fed up with divisive politics."

Ms Mordaunt said Whitehall is "broken" and under her leadership it would "look and feel very different, very fast".

"We need to do some serious machinery of government changes," she said. "We are going to have a tighter Cabinet, we are going to have ministers of state that have clear and timely deliverables and are powerful and can reach across Whitehall."

Tory Party has 'lost its sense of self'

Penny Mordaunt said that she believes "we don't need a new role in the world, we just need to be ourselves".

She said that "recently I think our party has lost its sense of self" and that it needed to "get back to" its standard messages of "low tax, small state, personal responsibility".

Penny Mordaunt formally launches Tory leadership bid

Penny Mordaunt is launching her Tory leadership bid at an event in Westminster.

She started by setting out why she wants to "take responsibility".

She said: "In the last few days I have been undertaking the parliamentary equivalent of speed dating. I have had a lot of good conversations with a lot of wonderful colleagues and I have learnt a few things.

"I have learnt many of them were councillors before they came into parliament, may of them worked for voluntary organisations.... they are people who want to serve their country, they are people who want to step up and take responsibility.

Penny Mordaunt is pictured at her launch event in Westminster this morning CREDIT: STEFAN ROUSSEAU /PA

"And when I meet people like that, I want to know why, why do they do that, why do they want to take responsibility... and for me it was when I was nine years old and I was standing on the Hotwalls in Portsmouth watching the Falklands task force leave Portsmouth harbour.

"I didn't know much about that scene at nine years old but witnessing it and Thatcher's resolve at the time, well I knew my country stood up to bullies and I knew that was important."

Andrea Leadsom backs Penny Mordaunt

Andrea Leadsom, the former Cabinet minister, is backing Penny Mordaunt in the Tory leadership race.

Ms Leadsom was the warm up act at Ms Mordaunt's launch event which has just got underway in Westminster.

Penny Mordaunt set to launch campaign

Penny Mordaunt is due to hold her Tory leadership launch event shortly.

The Telegraph's Associate Editor Christopher Hope is at the venue in Westminster and he reports it is "rammed" and also extremely hot amid soaring temperatures.

Tory MPs in the audience include: David Davis, John Penrose, Caroline Nokes, Sir Charles Walker, Maria Miller and George Freeman.

'Unprecedented changes' prompt Priti Patel to pull out of committee appearance

Priti Patel has pulled out of an appearance before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee today, blaming "unprecedented changes" in Government, writes The Telegraph's Home Affairs Editor Charles Hymas.

The Home Secretary wrote to the committee chair Diana Johnson yesterday afternoon to say that she would not be able to attend, just hours after she announced she would not be standing for the party leadership.

She told her: "The committee will be aware of the recent changes in government and in particular to the ministerial team in my department.

"Regrettably as a result of this and other unprecedented changes since I agreed to give evidence I will no longer be able to meet with the committee tomorrow."

She is seeking to have the hearing postponed until September when it is not clear whether she will still be Home Secretary unless chosen by the new Tory leader.

Analysis: Tom Tugendhat press conference

Tom Tugendhat called a snap press conference on College Green this morning but it was chaotic and it was not abundantly clear what the point of it was.

Mr Tugendhat wanted to talk broadly about defence spending pledges but he repeatedly insisted that he was not singling out any of his Tory leadership rivals for specific criticism.

He wasn't helped by the fact that broadcasters cut to his comments long after he had started.

The press conference is likely to be viewed as a bit of an own goal.

'I think they are all challenging me'

Tom Tugendhat was asked if he believes Rishi Sunak is his main rival for the Tory leadership.

He told journalists on College Green: "I think there are many main rivals and I think they are all challenging me."

Asked what his criticism on defence spending pledges from other candidates is, Mr Tugendhat said: "My criticism is only that we need to be very careful about how we express ourselves and how we make sure that we reinforce our allies and reinforce our position around the world."

Tom Tugendhat insists he is not taking shots at Rishi Sunak

Tom Tugendhat is holding a snap press conference outside Parliament.

He has spoken of the need for the UK to spend more on defence and of the need to "reinforce British strength".

His comments will inevitably be seen as a veiled criticism of Rishi Sunak's position on defence spending but Mr Tugendhat insisted he is not singling out the former chancellor for criticism.

Tom Tugendhat speaks to journalists outside Parliament today CREDIT: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

He said: "I am not going to name any names but it is absolutely up to you to look quite hard at where people are talking about various different things and just see where different people are putting their aim and putting their targets, as it were, for defence."

Asked if he was making a dig at Mr Sunak, he said: "No, I am not. What I am doing is explaining the consequences of the words that we use here in this race and that we use as a team, as a Conservative team, as we speak to each other, as we speak to our friends."

Senior Tory MP backs Suella Braverman

Sir Bernard Jenkin, a senior Tory MP and chairman of the Liaison Committee, has announced he is supporting Suella Braverman's leadership bid.

Sir Bernard said he is backing Ms Braverman because "she is one the bravest and most principled people I have ever met".

He said that the Attorney General "will win" the contest.

Tom Tugendhat calls snap press conference

Tom Tugendhat, who last night made it onto the Tory leadership ballot, has called a snap press conference in Westminster.

He is expected to use it to criticise Rishi Sunak's stance on defence spending.

It is expected to get underway imminently.

Tory leadership campaign mischief?


Former minister backs Suella Braverman

European Research Group chairman Mark Francois is backing Liz Truss to be the next Prime Minister (see the post below at 08.56).

But David Jones, a former minister and deputy chairman of the ERG, has announced he is backing Suella Braverman. Mr Jones said he believes the Attorney General would be a "superb PM".

The announcement suggests that the Brexit-backing right of the Parliamentary Conservative Party is split on who to back in the contest.


Pictured: Grant Shapps walks in Westminster after media round

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is pictured in Westminster today CREDIT: MARCIN NOWAK/LONDON NEWS PICTURES LTD

Nadhim Zahawi acknowledges Rishi Sunak is the frontrunner

Nadhim Zahawi has acknowledged that Rishi Sunak is the frontrunner in the Conservative Party leadership race but insisted he could still make up ground on his rival.

He told Sky News: “Colleagues will be making their minds up. There is a lot of undeclared colleagues remain. Rishi out in the lead, no doubt. He is a very talented man, he would make a great prime minister.

“But I think I can deliver. I am the man who has a track record of operational competence. I have the track record of delivering the (Covid) vaccine.”

Mr Zahawi also insisted his promises to bring forward tax cuts are fully costed.

He said: “My pledges are fully costed. I will publish them. I will demonstrate where I find the headroom to deliver this next year. As we see inflation abate, the debt interest payments should also come down."

Iain Duncan Smith backs Liz Truss

Iain Duncan Smith has reportedly endorsed Liz Truss in the Tory leadership race.

The former leader of the Conservative Party told The Times: “Liz has the experience to be prime minister, she understands how government works and has a very clear agenda on both delivering Brexit and cost of living.

"Her prioritising of growth through regulatory change and lower taxes is necessary if we are not to see the squeezed middle punished because of spiralling inflation.”

‘We have to review how the BBC is funded’

Nadhim Zahawi has said he does not rule out scrapping the television licence fee if he becomes the next prime minister.

The Chancellor told LBC radio: “We have to review how the BBC is funded. We have to look at how it is sustainable in the future. We have to review everything. Nothing is off the table.”

Nadhim Zahawi would offer Boris Johnson Cabinet role

Tory leadership contender Nadhim Zahawi has said he would be prepared to offer Boris Johnson a seat in Cabinet if he wins the race for No 10.

The Chancellor told LBC Radio: “Boris Johnson is a friend of mine of 30 years. If he wishes to serve in Cabinet, I would certainly offer him a job.

“He has been probably the most consequential Prime Minister of his generation. He has delivered Brexit.”

ERG chairman Mark Francois backs Liz Truss

European Research Group chairman Mark Francois is backing Liz Truss to be the next Prime Minister, writes The Telegraph’s Associate Editor Christopher Hope.

This is a significant moment as the full ERG group of 60 Tory MPs meets today at midday to decide who to back.

Mr Francois tells me: “Having now spoken to each of the leadership candidates, I have personally decided to vote for Liz Truss to be our next Prime Minister.

"The Foreign Secretary’s tax-cutting agenda is drawing support from right across the Party - from Jacob Rees-Mogg through to Vicky Ford - and I believe she possesses both the experience and leadership ability to unite the Conservative Party in challenging times. I wish her well.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg would not accept Cabinet role under Rishi Sunak

Jacob Rees-Mogg has ruled out serving in a Cabinet led by Rishi Sunak.

Asked if he would accept a Cabinet post from Mr Sunak, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “No, of course I wouldn’t. I believe his behaviour towards Boris Johnson, his disloyalty, means that I could not possibly support him and he wouldn’t want me in his Cabinet anyway.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Candidates have ‘selective memories’ on Thatcher

Rishi Sunak has vowed to run the economy like Margaret Thatcher and has said taxes will not be cut until inflation is brought under control.

Jacob Rees-Mogg suggested Mr Sunak has misunderstood how the Iron Lady would have responded to the current economic challenges facing the country as he renewed his criticism of the former chancellor.

Asked why Tory candidates like to talk about Baroness Thatcher, he told Sky News: “Because they think she is a golden ticket with the membership. I think the memory of Margaret Thatcher is highly regarded within the Conservative Party and certainly by people like me and I think many of our members.

“But people don’t always get what Margaret Thatcher did right, they have selective memories as to what she did. “I hear somebody has been saying that she would not be cutting taxes now. The first thing she did in 1979 when she became elected they had a Budget straight away which had very significant cuts in taxation. “So to say Margaret Thatcher would not have been a tax cutter I think is simply wrong.”

‘He made decisions that were of the left rather than of the right’

Jacob Rees-Mogg has not denied labelling Rishi Sunak a “socialist” (see the post below at 07.39) as he said he believed the former chancellor had made decisions that were “of the left rather than of the right”.

Asked if he had used the term to describe Mr Sunak, he told Sky News: "Well, now you are referring to things that may or may not have been said in Cabinet and I am glad to say there is a 30 year rule, actually reduced to 20 years... I think as a chancellor he made decisions that were of the left rather than of the right, that he was a tax increasing chancellor.

"As I said, I didn't support the decisions he made. I thought we should have been looking at keeping expenditure under control rather than raising taxes."

Rishi Sunak is pictured in Westminster this morning CREDIT: PETER MACDIARMID/LONDON NEWS PICTURES LTD

Jacob Rees-Mogg describes Rishi Sunak as an 'ostensible Brexiteer'

Jacob Rees-Mogg has hailed Liz Truss's Brexit credentials as one of the reasons why he is supporting her bid to replace Boris Johnson.

Told that Ms Truss had voted Remain at the EU referendum in 2016, Mr Rees-Mogg said "you have to judge people by what they do currently" as he also criticised Rishi Sunak.

He told Sky News: "I think you need to look at what people are doing now. It is possible for people to change their mind. Yes, of course, everyone knows Liz voted for Remain, but what I was saying is within Cabinet, it is very interesting, because when we had a write round on the retained EU law bill, the Foreign Secretary was completely supportive about getting rid of the supremacy of EU law and having a sunset on EU law.

"One of the departments that objected was the Treasury which didn't want tax policy to be taken away from EU interference.

"So you have a department led by an ostensible Brexiteer that was backing the supremacy of EU law and a department led by an ostensible Remainer that was backing ending the supremacy of EU law. I think you have to judge people by what they do currently."

Jacob Rees-Mogg: Liz Truss opposed Rishi Sunak's 'endless tax rises'

Jacob Rees-Mogg yesterday announced he is backing Liz Truss in the Tory leadership race.

He said this morning that one of the reasons why he is supporting Ms Truss is that she opposed Rishi Sunak's "endless tax rises".

He told Sky News: "In Cabinet Liz was the most supportive Cabinet minister in getting Brexit opportunities and was using her role and her chairmanship of Cabinet committees to make sure we could get the Brexit opportunities through.

"She also opposed the endless tax rises of the former chancellor which I think have been economically damaging, I also was opposed to within Cabinet.

"I think that is important that you have somebody who is fiscally on the right side of the argument, who doesn't believe that higher taxation is the right answer to every question."

Andy Burnham: Levelling up 'will be dead' if Rishi Sunak becomes PM

Andy Burnham has suggested the Government's current "levelling up" agenda "will be dead" if Rishi Sunak wins the Tory leadership race after the former chancellor vowed to run the economy like Margaret Thatcher (see the post below at 08.03).

Asked if Mr Sunak is a "socialist" - a label reportedly used by Jacob Rees-Mogg to describe him - Mr Burnham told Sky News: "No, certainly not. He is in the newspapers today saying that he will govern like Margaret Thatcher if he is elected leader.

"Margaret Thatcher laid the North of England low when she was in government so I think we could confidently say that levelling up will be dead if he is elected and continues to put that kind of approach forward."

Rishi Sunak: I’ll run the economy like Thatcher if I win

Rishi Sunak has vowed to run the economy like Margaret Thatcher if he becomes the next prime minister, telling Tory leadership rivals: “You have to earn what you spend.”

Speaking to The Telegraph in his first campaign interview, the former chancellor likened Baroness Thatcher’s upbringing above her father’s grocery shop to his childhood helping in his mother’s pharmacy.

Countering claims that his refusal to promise immediate tax cuts shows he is not a true conservative, Mr Sunak said that, by prioritising inflation, he was following the Iron Lady’s economic approach more than his rivals.

“We will cut taxes and we will do it responsibly,” he said. That’s my economic approach. I would describe it as common sense Thatcherism. I believe that’s what she would have done.”

You can read the full story here.

Rishi Sunak's campaign video 'was filmed after he resigned'

Rishi Sunak released his Tory leadership campaign video last Friday. It was an incredibly polished offering and immediately prompted questions and speculation about when it had been made.

Grant Shapps, a supporter of Mr Sunak, was asked this morning when the video was created and if it had been put together while Mr Sunak was still in the Cabinet.

He told Sky News: "I don't think he personally cut it at all but I know it wasn't filmed until Wednesday, so he had already resigned."

Asked if Mr Sunak already had a leadership campaign team in place before he resigned, Mr Shapps said: "What I think is the case is that he was becoming increasingly concerned about the direction of travel. There had been a long series of missteps as far as he was concerned and I don't think it makes sense to pretend otherwise, we know that was the case.

"But in terms of the video, as you say, in terms of actually pulling the campaign together, that part of it is from post his resignation."

Labour: UK economic growth 'still far too slow'

Rachel Reeves, Labour's shadow chancellor, said UK economic growth is "still far too slow" as she responded to today's GDP stats (see the post below at 07.33).

She said: "This shows how growth is still far too slow, when we urgently need to get our economy back on track.

“Over the last decade, Tory mismanagement of our economy has meant not only that growth has plummeted, but that living standards have fallen and real wages have failed to rise.

“Instead of presenting the plans we need for a stronger, more secure economy, the Tories are spending every waking minute indulging in unfunded fantasy economics. Any lingering sense that the Conservatives are the party of economic responsibility has been shredded to pieces."

Pictured: Jeremy Hunt goes for a run ahead of first round of voting

Jeremy Hunt is pictured this morning in central London running with his dog CREDIT: PETER MACDIARMID/LONDON NEWS PICTURES LTD

Grant Shapps denies Team Rishi engaged in 'dirty tricks'

Grant Shapps has denied Rishi Sunak’s Tory leadership campaign engaged in “dirty tricks” in order to make sure Jeremy Hunt made it onto the ballot paper.

Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, accused the former chancellor’s team of using the “dark arts” following claims they tried to “syphon off” votes to ensure Mr Hunt got through because they apparently believed Mr Sunak would beat him in a run-off vote of party members.

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Shapps, who dropped out of the race to support Mr Sunak, denied that it happened.

He said: “Simply, in this case it just didn’t happen... Jeremy Hunt himself has said every single person on his nomination paper is somebody who is very close to his campaign. So even he has rubbished it."

Chancellor responds to GDP stats

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has responded to the news that the UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in May (see the post below at 7.33).

He said: “It’s always great to see the economy growing but I’m not complacent. I know people are concerned, so we are continuing to support families and economic growth.

“We’re working alongside the Bank of England to bear down on inflation and I am confident we can create a stronger economy for everyone across the UK.”

Nadhim Zahawi is pictured in central London this morning CREDIT: MARCIN NOWAK/LONDON NEWS PICTURES LTD

Grant Shapps rejects Jacob rees-Mogg criticism of Rishi Sunak

Reports have claimed that Jacob Rees-Mogg described Rishi Sunak as "the much-lamented socialist chancellor”.

Grant Shapps, a supporter of Mr Sunak, dismissed the suggestion this morning as he said it is "clearly not true". He also warned against using "extreme language" during the Tory leadership campaign.

He told Sky News: "I think it is best if we just concentrate on the positives for each of our candidates and avoid sort of, perhaps others wouldn't agree, but in this context quite extreme language.

"Clearly a guy who is fiscally conservative, wants to get the debt and deficit down and debt falling as a proportion of the overall economy, the idea that this is socialist is clearly not true."

UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in May

The UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in May, rebounding from a 0.2 per cent drop in April, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rise in gross domestic product (GDP) came after a bounce back across all three main sectors of the economy – services, manufacturing and construction.

The ONS also revised GDP data up for April, to a fall of 0.2 per cent from a drop of 0.3 per cent in its previous estimation.

Grant Shapps: Rule change scuppered campaign

Grant Shapps said his campaign for the Tory leadership was torpedoed when the 1922 Committee decided to set a higher threshold of support to make the first ballot paper than was in place for previous contests.

Candidates have only needed the backing of 10 MPs to make the contest in the past but this time the initial threshold was set at 20.

The Transport Secretary told Sky News: "I came in obviously very late in the day but got off to a good start. The rules were then actually changed, they doubled the nomination figures from previously in order to speed through the competition because we are keen to have a new leader in place.

"I would have been nominated on the old rules, I thought probably not on the new rules and in any case, looking at the candidates... I actually came to a conclusion that another candidate had the right policies and could be certain they would be ready to do the job on day one as he walked into Downing Street and that is of course Rishi."

What is happening today?

The first round of voting in the Tory leadership contest will get underway at 1.30pm.

Tory MPs will be able to vote until 3.30pm and a result will then be announced at about 5pm.

Any candidate with fewer than 30 votes will be eliminated.

That means we could have a number of contenders exiting the contest this evening ahead of the second round of voting tomorrow.

Who are the eight candidates still in the contest?

Eight Tory leadership contenders managed to secure the backing of at least 20 Tory MPs to make it onto the ballot paper last night.

They are: Rishi Sunak
Liz Truss
Tom Tugendhat
Kemi Badenoch
Penny Mordaunt
Jeremy Hunt
Nadhim Zahawi
Suella Braverman

Steve Barclay backs Rishi Sunak

Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, has declared his support for Rishi Sunak.

He is the third Cabinet minister to make the move in the last 24 hours after Dominic Raab and Grant Shapps also backed the former chancellor.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Mr Barclay said: “I worked closely with him when I was chief secretary to the Treasury and I am convinced that he has all the right attributes to take our country forward.”


Good morning

Good morning and welcome to today's politics live blog.

Eight candidates have made it onto the Tory leadership ballot paper after nominations closed yesterday evening.

The first round of voting will take place this afternoon from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, with a result due to be announced at 5pm. Any candidate with fewer than 30 votes will be knocked out.

We also have Penny Mordaunt's formal campaign launch event this morning at 10.30am.

It promises to be another busy day in Westminster and I will be on hand to guide you through the key developments.
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