David Davis destroys Truss' leadership campaign
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Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt are battling to win over Kemi Badenoch’s supporters after she was knocked out of the contest, and face frontrunner Rishi Sunak in the run-off. The Foreign Secretary received a surge in support in the penultimate ballot, putting her within touching distance of Ms Mordaunt as the right of the party appears to be coalescing around her. But former Brexit Secretary David Davis has explained why he supports Ms Mordaunt.
Speaking to LBC, Mr Davis said: “Ex-Lib Dem, she voted Remain in the referendum, made the last speech in favour of a referendum, was enthusiastic for remain and now because it’s suitable to future prospects in the party has become a Brexiteer.
“I know which one I trust. The one who fought the case, Penny Mordaunt, right through including in Cabinet.
“It’s obvious that Penny’s the better call.”
He added: “It’s not simply Brexit, it’s also on tax.
“Do people believe the risky strategy offered by others or do they believe the sensible steady strategy being offered by Penny? Do they accept all the nonsense?”
Discussing the vote share in the recent leadership vote, Mr Davis continued: “Some went to Liz Truss from Tom Tugendhat. About 10 went to Penny and I think about the same number went to Rishi.
“Rishi’s four or five chief whips reallocated them to Penny for the reasons we’ve said, he wants to fight Liz.
“That’s the person who will lose the debate with him.”
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Boris Johnson stripped the Tory party whip, and the right to vote in the leadership election, from Penny Mordaunt-backing MP Tobias Ellwood after he failed to support the Government in the confidence vote.
Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary and arch ally of the Prime Minister, angrily denied suggestions Mr Johnson was working to boost Liz Truss’s campaign for No 10.
Ms Truss, the Foreign Secretary, is being backed by Mr Johnson’s allies and is seen as the most likely challenger to face Rishi Sunak in the run-off if she can overcome Ms Mordaunt, who has so far come second in voting among Tory MPs.
Mr Ellwood, a former minister who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, argued he was unable to travel back from a meeting with the president of Moldova because of “unprecedented disruption”.
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But a Tory source said: “Other Conservative MPs cancelled foreign trips, left poorly relatives, and one MP’s mother died on the morning of the vote, and still attended and voted.”
Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories in charge of the leadership election, confirmed that those who lose the Tory whip, meaning they are kicked out of the parliamentary party, can no longer vote in the race.
With Mr Johnson’s move coming ahead of the penultimate round of voting by Tory MPs on Tuesday afternoon, it prompted speculation that he was working for the benefit of Ms Truss’s campaign.
But Ms Dorries wrote on Twitter: “This is wholly untrue and frankly utterly ridiculous.
“Every single MP of every party is under no illusion regarding the price to be paid in not voting during a Gov confidence motion. It’s a very clearly defined and historic red line. Tobias could have voted like everyone else.”
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