Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg announce who they are backing to be the next PM

Boris Johnson loyalists Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg have jointly announced they are backing foreign secretary Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership contest.

Endorsing Ms Truss from outside No 10, the pair said she represented “proper Conservatism” after the cabinet minister vowed to cut taxes from “day one” if she wins the contest.

In a swipe at rival Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor who resigned from Mr Johnson’s cabinet last week, Mr Rees-Mogg said she was “always opposed to Rishi’s higher taxes”.

Pressed on whether she is the “stop Rishi candidate”, he added: “Liz is the best candidate — that’s what we’re looking for.”

Interjecting, Ms Dorries added: “And she’s a woman”.

Their annoucement – after a cabinet meeting – came as Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, dropped out of the race in order to support the ex-chancellor Mr Sunak in the contest.

“Huge thanks to my team for helping to pull together my leadership bid in literally no time!” the cabinet minister said.

“Amongst a field of brilliant candidates I’ve spoken to Rishi Sunak who I believe has the competence and experience to lead this country.”

As contenders vye to reach the 20 nomination threshold to get on the MPs’ ballot paper by Tuesday evening, a survey of the Tory faithful also indicated Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch are the current favourites.

Conservative Home – a news and analysis blog popular with grassroots activists – conducted a survey of its readers and the top candidate to replace Boris Johnson is Ms Mordaunt.

The international trade minister, who was previously at the Cabinet Office, got 19.6 per cent, with Kemi Badenoch, the former equalities minister coming a close second with 18.7 per cent.

Mr Sunak, who currently has the most MPs backing him at 37, came in third place on 12.1 per cent.

Brexiteer Suella Braverman, who has vowed to withdraw Britain from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if she wins, came in fourth with 11.5 per cent.

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