Can Liz Truss unite the Tory right?

Can Liz Truss unite the Tory right? Candidates do some last-minute deal making ahead of first vote at 1.30pm tomorrow as Foreign Secretary warns her rivals – back me or get Rishi Sunak

  • 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’ 

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.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Home Secretary Priti Patel and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat, enjoyed wine and conversation on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament.

Former Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock, former joint minister for Levelling Up and Equalities Kemi Badenoch, Chancellor of the Exchequer Nadhim Zahawi and Vice Chair of the 1922 Committee Nus Ghani, were also attending the event.

Sir Graham said yesterday evening that nominations to be leader of the Conservative Party will close on Tuesday.

He said the first ballot will take place on Wednesday from 1.30 to 3.30pm and candidates will be expected to have 20 supporters, including their proposer and seconder.

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.

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

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. Pictured: Liz Truss at the event on Monday evening

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured), Home Secretary Priti Patel and chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat, enjoyed wine and conversation on the Terrace Pavilion at the Houses of Parliament

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

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 

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

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 

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

TORY LEADERSHIP RACE – TIMETABLE

The chair of the 1922 committee, Graham Brady, set out the timetable on Monday, as follows: 

TUESDAY JULY 12 – NOMINATIONS, FIRST ELIMINATIONS 

Nominations to be new leader of the Conservative Party formally open, and also close. Candidates must have the support of at least 20 lawmakers to advance. 

WEDNESDAY JULY 13 – MORE CANDIDATES ELIMINATED 

In this first round of voting, candidates must have the backing of at least 30 lawmakers to advance. 

UP TO THURSDAY, JULY 21 – FURTHER BALLOTS 

Brady said that there would be further rounds of voting by Conservative lawmakers until a final two was reached, saying it was likely the final two would be selected by early next week. 

THURSDAY JULY 21 – PARLIAMENTARY RECESS 

Lawmakers on the 1922 committee have said July 21 is the de facto deadline for the final two candidates to be selected by Conservative lawmakers, as it is when the House of Commons breaks for summer recess. Brady told Sky News they would ‘certainly’ have the final two by July 21. 

JULY-SEPTEMBER – THE RUN-OFF 

The two candidates campaign and hold hustings among Conservative party members to win their votes. The members vote by post. Brady said he wanted an assurance that those who reached the final two would not drop out, to ensure Conservative members would have a say. 

SEPTEMBER 5 – NEW PRIME MINISTER ANNOUNCED 

The Conservative Party announces who has been elected as the new leader of the party by members. As they will command a parliamentary majority, they will consequently become the next prime minister.

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. 

Liz Truss (pictured yesterday as she left her London home) has warned the Tory Right it risks handing Rishi Sunak the keys to No10 unless it unites behind her

Attorney General Suella Braverman has already attracted the support of key Brexiteers in the race to become PM

Late last night, Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, said the first ballot of Tory MPs would take place tomorrow. Candidates will need the support of at least 20 MPs to stand – and then at least 30 votes to get through to the second round. He said the winner would be unveiled on September 5. 

I’m not a contender, says Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg last night ruled himself out of the Tory leadership race.

It came after rumours that he was set to announce himself as a shock contender, standing as a ‘Continuity Boris’ candidate. 

He had reportedly been contacting MPs to ask them if they thought he should join the field of candidates.

But Brexit opportunities minister Mr Rees-Mogg last night told the Daily Telegraph: ‘I am not standing. I want to unite rather than further fracture the Right.’ 

An MP admirer had earlier said: ‘He would be brilliant and probably the only person all the pro-Boris MPs could support.’ 

A second MP said Mr Rees-Mogg had made contact and was considering standing to provide a rallying point for the Right. 

However, fellow Conservative Steve Baker had warned: ‘I love Jacob like a brother, but he wouldn’t win an election.’

Former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten had sung the praises of Mr Rees-Mogg, 53. He told TalkTV: ‘I love that “World War Two Respect, Put Britain First” attitude he has. 

‘And in every interview I’ve ever seen him do, he has been on the floor with his humour. And I think he’s just genuinely a nice person.’ At the age of 12, Mr Rees-Mogg said he would ‘love’ to be PM by the time he was 70. 

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

  • A Savanta ComRes poll showed that the Tories have fallen further behind Labour with Sir Keir Starmer’s party now 15 points ahead;
  • Mr Zahawi pledged to slash 2p off the basic rate of income tax, cancel a planned rise in corporation tax and temporarily axe VAT and green levies on energy bills; 
  • Sajid Javid pledged to bring forward the planned 1p cut in income tax to next year and warned the Conservatives faced ‘electoral oblivion’ if they do not change; 
  • The former health secretary dodged questions on whether he had once used a tax haven; 
  • Miss Truss vowed to start cutting taxes ‘from day one’ as she officially launched her leadership campaign; 
  • Miss Mordaunt and Miss Badenoch came top of a survey of party members conducted by the ConservativeHome website; 
  • Mrs Braverman told her party’s MPs: ‘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’; 
  • An ally of Miss Patel admitted sharing a ‘dirty dossier’ on WhatsApp about Rishi Sunak but insisted he hadn’t written it;
  • The first live television debate of the Tory leadership race will take place on Sunday night on ITV; 
  • Mr Johnson insisted he ‘wouldn’t want to damage anybody’s chances’ by offering his backing to a candidate to replace him. 

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.

Ex-minister Steve Baker urged Mr Rees-Mogg to abandon any thought of adding himself to the long list of Conservative candidates

It has been suggested Jacob Rees-Mogg would put himself forward as the ‘continuity Boris’ candidate but he withdrew

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 

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’. 

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, 42, considered to be one of the frontrunners in the race, trailed behind on just 12 per cent

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.

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’

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’

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

The 42-year-old quit as local government, faith and communities minister last week

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.’

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’. 

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

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 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’

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.’

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