Eight go forward into first round of voting in the Tory leadership race
Eight contenders will be on the ballot paper when Tory MPs begin voting on Wednesday to elect a successor to Boris Johnson, the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, has announced.
Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Jeremy Hunt, Nadhim Zahawi and Suella Braverman all secured the 20 nominations from fellow MPs needed to enter the contest.
Moments before the announcement in a Commons committee room, former health secretary Sajid Javid said he was pulling out having apparently failed to attract enough support.
Earlier Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that he was abandoning his bid and would be supporting Mr Sunak, the former chancellor.
Backbencher Rehman Chishti – seen as the rank outsider – also said that he was dropping out having failed to get enough nominations.
Meanwhile Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, gained the endorsement of prominent Boris Johnson loyalists Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nadine Dorries and James Cleverly, in what was seen as a concerted move to prevent Mr Sunak entering No 10.
Many supporters of the Prime Minister remain furious with Mr Sunak for the role he played in bringing him down, with his decision last week to quit helping to trigger a further slew of resignations.
The Foreign Secretary’s campaign also received a potential fillip with the announcement by Home Secretary Priti Patel, a fellow right winger, that she would not be standing, giving Ms Truss a clearer run.
Ms Dorries accused Mr Sunak’s team of “dirty tricks” after claims that one of his supporters – ex-chief whip Gavin Williamson – had been trying to “syphon off” votes for Mr Hunt so he would make it to the final run-off with Mr Sunak.
“This is dirty tricks/a stitch up/dark arts. Take your pick. Team Rishi want the candidate they know they can definitely beat in the final two and that is Jeremy Hunt,” she tweeted.
Other developments in another hectic day in Westminster included:
– Labour angrily accusing the Government of “running scared” after it refused to allow parliamentary time for a Commons vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson and his administration.
– Former equalities minister Ms Badenoch launching her bid, vowing not to enter a tax cut “bidding war” and arguing others had been trying to “have your cake and eat it”.
– Mr Tugendhat, the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee promising to slash fuel duty by 10p as he kicked off his campaign, dismissing rivals’ criticism over his lack of ministerial experience.
– Mr Zahawi, the Chancellor, brushing off a rebuke from Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey for setting out tax proposals during the campaign, saying he was setting out his stall to be prime minister and his plans were “fully costed”.