Conservative party members reveal the reasons they back the five MPs vying for Boris Johnson’s seat
TORY MPs have delivered their verdict on who they think performed best in last night’s leadership debate.
They spoke to GB News in the wake of the showdown which saw Rishi Sunak, Kemi Badenoch, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Penny Mordaunt fight it out.
Speaking to the channel’s Tom Harwood, Robert Buckland MP, the Secretary of State for Wales, said he is backing former Chancellor Sunak.
He told GB News: “I think Rishi sounded in the best traditions of Conservative Chancellors who aren’t frightened sometimes to tell the truth, why it is important that we fund our public services and balance the books. And there will be times when tax burdens have to rise. And there will be times when tax burdens will fall.
“But as he said, we win elections to cut taxes, we don’t cut taxes to win elections. And I think that his relentless focus on inflation, just like great Conservative Chancellors, like Jeffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson before him, marks him out as the person who understands what it is to be a Conservative. And that’s why I’m supporting him so strongly..”
Throwing her weight behind Kemi Badenoch, was the MP for Hornchurch and Upminster Julia Lopez . She commented: “I think what Kemi articulated was that there are difficult choices and that we need to be open and honest about what those choices are. She has a plan that she’s going to be putting forward that involves looking afresh at how we run the state.
“We think there are various different areas where you can save a lot of money where you can run things much more efficiently. But she also wants to go back to first principles and ask serious questions about what the state should and ought to be doing.”
Dehenna Davison, MP for Bishop Auckland, is backing Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss.
Davison explained her choice saying: “I think we need leaders that are going to be honest and Liz did stand by Boris because she does believe in loyalty. She also believes in cabinet responsibility. That doesn’t mean she hasn’t stood up to decisions that have been made, particularly on for example, the National Insurance rise, where Liz is one of three voices in cabinet standing up against it and having those fights in private.
“And I think what people are sick of seeing is political infighting. And the problem is, it’s not infighting anymore. It’s becoming very public, we need to put an end to that. And that means I think loyalty is important.
“But something Liz has also been clear about is that if – or I’m going to say when – she does become Prime Minister, she’s going to bring on board people from right across this party, because people want to see unity now.”
Ex-military candidate Tom Tugendhat has won the support of MPs, including Nickie Aiken MP who has been in the Conservative party since 2019. She told GB News: “I’m really pleased with how Tom performed, I think he sent a very clear message to the nation and to my colleagues, that he is our next leader. He’s a clean start and he is there not with any baggage from the previous administration. He’s here to offer a fresh beginning.
“And let’s remember who is the most revered politician of the moment. It’s President Zelenski in Ukraine. He had no experience when he started. And now, world leaders are knocking on his door asking for them to help.”
Penny Mordaunt, who has served as Minister of State for Trade Policy since 2021, won the backing of the Conservative MP for Isle of Wight Bob Seely. He said: “We take it as a compliment that people are lining up to say to Penny what about this, what about that, because we know she’s the best candidate and she’s doing a cracking job. So that’s the reason why she’s being attacked. But for us we take it as a compliment, actually on work stuff, on critical theory, and on gender, she’s got a really strong case.
“She knows what a woman is. And she makes that distinction between somebody who’s been through a trans process. You treat them with sympathy and respect, that is different from being a biological woman. She is very clear on that. Penny is very clear on that. And if other people want to keep asking, they’re very welcome to but as regards to the tax overhaul, we take it on the chin because we are doing so well as a campaign and we expected and we are not going to indulge in negative comments.”
By Wednesday 20th July, the five candidates will be whittled down to two and the vote put to the rest of the Conservative party members over the summer.