And social media’s debate winner is…Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 2
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Channel 4 viewers have crowned Tom Tugendhat the winner of last night’s Tory leadership debate after quoting Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore before mistakenly thanking an NHS worker for given him his two children.

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The MP Tonbridge and Malling, 49, impressed as the five remaining leadership hopefuls appeared for a first live television debate on Channel 4 in front of a studio audience.

The candidates were asked questions from members of the audience and host Krishnan Guru-Murthy on a variety of topics including the cost of living crisis and whether outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson is trustworthy.

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Opening the debate, host Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked each individual Tory MP why the public should trust each of them.

When given an opportunity to answer, Mr Tugendhat cited a quote from the Hogwarts headmaster. 

He said: ‘It is easy to stand up your enemies, it is harder to stand up to your friends.’

He also praised the NHS for the impact it had on his comrades wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, saying he was ‘eternally grateful’.

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‘You’ve also given me two children’, he said in response to a question on the health service from a woman in the audience, before hastily adding ‘not you personally, of course’.

A snap poll conducted by strategic insight agency Opinium also confirmed Mr Tugendhat as the most impressive performer.

Of more than 1,000 normal voters polled, 36 per cent believed he had ‘performed best’ in the debate. 

The MP Tonbridge and Malling, 49, impressed during Friday evening's first live debate on Channel 4

The MP Tonbridge and Malling, 49, impressed during Friday evening’s first live debate on Channel 4

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And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 3

Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosted the debate with the candidates who are in the running to become the next Prime Minister

Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosted the debate with the candidates who are in the running to become the next Prime Minister

Leadership contender Mr Tugendhat with his wife Anissia Tugendhat arriving at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, on Friday

Leadership contender Mr Tugendhat with his wife Anissia Tugendhat arriving at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, on Friday

Mr Tugendhat also drew applause from the audience as Boris Johnson’s time in office overshadowed the beginning of the debate.

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The candidates were asked if the outgoing Prime Minister is an honest man.

Mr Tugendhat, a long-time critic of Mr Johnson, was the only candidate to swiftly reply ‘no’.

He spoke while acknowledging ‘trust in politics has been collapsing, trust in our party has been collapsing’, and added: ‘I’ve been holding a mirror to many of our actions and asking those in our party, those in our leadership positions, to ask themselves “is that what the public really expects?”

‘Are you serving the people of the United Kingdom or are you serving your career? Because that’s the real question tonight. That’s the real question for all of us.’

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Asked about Mr Johnson, former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch was the first to reply, simply answering: ‘Sometimes.’

Ms Mordaunt then added: ‘There have been some really severe issues and I think he has paid a price for that.’

Former Chancellor Mr Sunak, who resignation with ex-Health Secretary Sajid Javid sparked Mr Johnson’s downfall, said there were a ‘number of reasons’ why he had left his role.

Viewers took to social media to praise the Mr Tugendhat, crowning his performance as the most impressive following the live debate.

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One said: ‘The farce of this Tory leadership debate is that Tugenhadt is smashing it, yet he will be more unpopular amongst MPs for being brutally honest.’

Another added: ‘Tom Tugendhat is coming across very well. Put together, not engaging in catty arguments. Pains me to say it, but he’s quite likeable.’

A third said: ‘Just watched 90 minutes of paint drying. Tom Tugendhat won that entire debate with a quick shake of the head.’

A fourth tweeted: ‘Tom Tugendhat absolutely destroying the rest of the field this evening. 

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‘An honest, admirable man whilst quoting Albus Dumbledore and ridiculing Boris Johnson. And he’s my MP. Excellent viewing.’

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 5

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 7

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 9

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And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 11

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: 'I don't think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt'

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: ‘I don’t think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt’

His comments came after Ms Truss went on the attack towards the former Chancellor during the debate

His comments came after Ms Truss went on the attack towards the former Chancellor during the debate

Ms Mordaunt also faced tough questioning from her rivals over her attitude towards women's rights and transgender people

Ms Mordaunt also faced tough questioning from her rivals over her attitude towards women’s rights and transgender people

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Former Equalities Minister Ms Badenoch pictured during the live television debate on Channel 4 on Friday evening

Former Equalities Minister Ms Badenoch pictured during the live television debate on Channel 4 on Friday evening

The former Army officer has suggested military planners could help tackle the backlog because “we are looking to drive leadership and efficiency into processes, we are looking to create order out of what is sometimes a confusing situation”.

He also pointed to his ‘track record of leadership in a final pitch to viewers on why he should be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister.

He told the debate: ‘The country is going through a crisis at home and challenges abroad. What we’re seeing around the world is we’re seeing division and disunity and we can pull people together.

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‘What we can do is we can turn this around. Now I have a track record of leadership: I have led on operations and I have led in Parliament and now I would like to lead the United Kingdom.’

It came after viewers had earlier poked fun at his Dumbledore reference and were quick to take to social media to highlight his wizard-related response. 

One viewer said: ‘Who else noticed Tom Tugendhat quoting Álbus Dumbledore? It’s easy to stand up to your enemies, but much harder to stand up to your friends.. 50 house points to Gryffindor! Lol’

Another added: ‘Well who had “Quoting Dumbledore” on the Conservative leadership debate bingo card?’

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Mr Sunak pictured as he arrived at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, for the TV debate

Mr Sunak pictured as he arrived at Here East studios in Stratford, east London, for the TV debate

A third said: ‘Didn’t think dumbledore would be a script writer for team #Tugendhat going to be an Interesting #C4LeaderDebate.’

Mr Tugendhat also said that as Prime Minister he would deliver a global ‘energy resilience plan’ so that Britain does not lose out by reducing ‘dirty coal’ from its industries.

He added: ‘What I’ve spoken about is things like carbon offshore pricing, to make sure that what we don’t do is cut carbon emissions here in the UK and see jobs go to China.

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‘What we don’t want to see is the punishment of British workers for higher standards, steel industries closing down because other people use dirty coal and we’re not allowed to. 

‘What we need to make sure is that we set rules, we don’t allow others to undercut them with cheaper prices.

‘What we need to make sure is that we maintain standards everywhere, because around the world the carbon is going into the same atmosphere and it’s poisoning the same planet.

‘So, what we need to be making sure is that we are delivering around the world and that’s why I’m talking about an energy resilience plan.’ 

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Elsewhere in the debate, Ms Truss, who is languishing in third in the race to replace Boris Johnson, also vowed to reverse a planned increase in corporation tax next year from 19 to 25 per cent – at a cost of £16billion.

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: ‘I don’t think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt, that will just make inflation worse, it will make the problem longer.’

Ms Truss pinned the blame on the Bank of England, saying ‘we have inflation because of our monetary policy, that we haven’t been tough enough on the monetary supply, that’s the way that I would address that issue’.

But the former chancellor told her: ‘Borrowing your way out of inflation isn’t a plan, it’s a fairytale.’

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Ms Truss responded: ‘I think it is wrong to put taxes up.’

 

The blue-on-blue bun fight begins! Penny Mordaunt comes under attack from rivals over transgender rights as Tory leadership rivals clash on live television – with Rishi Sunak mocking Liz Truss to her face over her ‘fairytale’ economic plans 

The Tory leadership race spilled over into bitter sniping on live television tonight as the five would-be prime ministers tore into each other in open view of the public.

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Penny Mordaunt was attacked on both sides from Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch at the Channel 4 leaders’ debate over her attitude towards women’s rights and transgender people.

It has been identified as a weakpoint in her campaign after previously saying that ‘trans women are women’, with both the other female candidates trailing her insurgent campaign.

When asked to define her position on gender identity against claims that she previously supported gender self-identification, Ms Mordaunt said she has ‘never been in favour of self-ID’.

‘I can’t imagine why people are not comprehending what I say and have been regurgitating this issue for weeks and weeks, but I’m happy to state my position and evidence to back it up,’ Ms Mordaunt said.

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‘I took through a consultation looking at the Gender Recognition Act, I’ve never been in favour of self-ID. I would have made the system much better but I would not have divorced it from healthcare.’

When asked whether she accepted this account, Ms Badenoch said: ‘I find it difficult to, because when I took over as equalities minister in 2020, the policy that was being pushed was self-ID. So, I don’t understand how that would have changed unless someone else did it in between.

‘I didn’t work with Penny, but my understanding was that the previous minister who had done the role had wanted self-ID, and that was something that I reversed with Liz.’

Ms Mordaunt retaliated, saying: ‘That is not correct and this will all be on record in Government.’

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Ms Badenoch replied: ‘It is on record.’

At the same time, Ms Truss turned her sights on front runner Rishi Sunak over tax and borrowing. The Foreign Secretary had earlier vowed to temporarily remove green levies to take £153 off household power bills and relieve the cost-of-living pressure.

Ms Truss, who is languishing in third in the race to replace Boris Johnson, also vowed to reverse a planned increase in corporation tax next year from 19 to 25 per cent – at a cost of £16billion.

Mr Sunak defended his record in No 11, saying: ‘I don’t think the responsible thing to do right now is launch into some unfunded spree of borrowing and more debt, that will just make inflation worse, it will make the problem longer.’

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Ms Truss pinned the blame on the Bank of England, saying ‘we have inflation because of our monetary policy, that we haven’t been tough enough on the monetary supply, that’s the way that I would address that issue’.

But the former chancellor told her: ‘Borrowing your way out of inflation isn’t a plan, it’s a fairytale.’

Ms Truss responded: ‘I think it is wrong to put taxes up.’

The show kicked off with none of the candidates able to describe Boris Johnson as honest. 

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The opening questions were dominated by the shadow of the Prime Minister’s time in office and trust and integrity in office.   

And those closest to him before he announced he was stepping down facing the hardest time. Asked if the PM was an honest man, Ms Badenoch, who was only a junior minister, admitted he only ‘sometimes’ told the truth. 

Mr Tugendhat, a long-term Johnson critic, was the only one to simply say ‘no’. A snap poll after the debate saw Tory swing voters rate him as the best performer, ahead of Mr Sunak, with Liz Truss last.

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 13

The opening questions were dominated by the shadow of the Prime Minister’s time in office, with Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat facing questions about trust and integrity in office. 

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Ms Truss, who is still Foreign Secretary, and Mr Sunak, the ex-chancellor, tried to caveat their reasons for staying in government as long as they did.

Ms Truss, who is still Foreign Secretary, and Mr Sunak, the ex-chancellor, tried to caveat their reasons for staying in government as long as they did.

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 15

They jostled this afternoon in a digital hustings after favourite Penny Mordaunt accused rival camps of deploying ‘black ops’ to block her from the last two in the contest because they know she will win.

And social media's debate winner is...Tom Tugendhat! Tory MP makes audience laugh quoting Dumbledore 17

Kemi Badenoch

Tom Tugendhat

Asked if the PM was an honest man, Ms Badenoch, who was only a junior minister, admitted he only ‘sometimes’ told the truth. Mr Tugendhat, a long-term Johnson critic, was the only one to simply say ‘no’.

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Mr Johnson leaving No10 today

Mr Johnson leaving No10 today

‘Male politicians are never asked why they aren’t married’: Mordaunt blasts political sexism

Penny Mordaunt lashed out at sexism in politics today as she brushed aside questions about her private life. 

The 49-year-old is divorced and has no children, and would become the first unmarried prime minister to enter No10 since Edward Heath if she replaces four-times married Boris Johnson.

But speaking to Sky News today she pointed out that such issues are only ever raised about female leaders – citing the row over motherhood that affected the start of Theresa May’s time in power.  

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Interviewer Beth Rigby asked whether it ‘irritated’ her that motherhood and marriage are still ‘relevant’ talking about women in powerful positions.

Ms Mordaunt said people’s backgrounds were relevant to both men and women seeking public office, but said: ‘The question… why aren’t you married, is never asked of men.’

When pressed if that meant she would never answer that question, the North Portsmouth MP replied: ‘I’d probably answer it, but you could never show it on television.’

However, she did later reveal a glimpse of her private life. Asked in an online leadership hustings about her greatest weakness, she revealed she owns four Burmese cats, and questioned how they would get on with No10’s house cat, Larry.

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Ms Mordaunt said: ‘There have been some really severe issues and I think he has paid a price for that.’

Mr Sunak said: ‘I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt for as long as possible and ultimately I reached the conclusion that I couldn’t, and that’s why I resigned… There were a number of reasons that I resigned but trust and honesty was part of that.’

Liz Truss said ‘he has been very clear himself that he made mistakes in Government’ but she had taken his explanation for inaccurate statements over Partygate ‘at face value’.

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It came after Ms Truss had earlier vowed to take an axe to taxes hitting families and businesses today as she ratcheted up the pressure on her rivals for the Tory leadership.

She made the pledge as she and the other four MPs still in the race for No10 faced off for the first time, in an online hustings.

Her tax pledges were in contrast to rivals including frontrunner Rishi Sunak, who again refused to commit to tax cuts. He told those watching the Zoom event organised by the Conservative Home website that controlling soaring inflation was more important than blindly cutting tax.

Ms Truss said: ‘We immediately need to start putting money back into people’s pockets, we know families are struggling to make ends meet at the moment.

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‘I would reverse the national insurance rise, I opposed it in Cabinet at the time because I thought it was a mistake, I think it’s even more of a mistake now when we’re facing such strong economic headwinds.

‘I would also have a temporary moratorium on the green energy level to cut £153 from people’s energy bills.

‘And I would also not do the corporation tax hikes because I think it’s vitally important that we’re attracting investment into our country.’ 

 

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They jostled this afternoon in a digital hustings after favourite Penny Mordaunt accused rival camps of deploying ‘black ops’ to block her from the last two in the contest because they know she will win.

The trade minister – a surprise bookies’ favourite – demanded her opponents tone down their tactics as she boasted about polls suggesting is the most popular with party members.

Ms Truss has been boosted by an endorsement from right-wing rival Suella Braverman (pictured), who was knocked out of the contest in the second round last night

Ms Truss has been boosted by an endorsement from right-wing rival Suella Braverman (pictured), who was knocked out of the contest in the second round last night

Senior backbencher Simon Hoare, who is supporting Mr Sunak, hit back at interventions from Lord Frost backing Liz Truss, swiping that no-one 'gives a flying f***' what an 'unelected, failed minister' thinks

Senior backbencher Simon Hoare, who is supporting Mr Sunak, hit back at interventions from Lord Frost backing Liz Truss, swiping that no-one ‘gives a flying f***’ what an ‘unelected, failed minister’ thinks

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‘Ready for spellcheck’: Sunak mocked over campaign spelling error 

Conservative leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak has drawn mockery from social media users after an unfortunate spelling mistake at an online hustings event encouraged voters to ‘join the campiaign’.

The mis-spelling of the word ‘campaign’ appeared over the former chancellor’s shoulder during a live stream on Friday afternoon, beneath which messages stated the candidate will ‘restore trust, rebuild the economy’ and ‘reunite the country’.

Next to a QR code, the promotional material read: ‘Scan me to join the campiaign.’

Mr Sunak is the frontrunner in the Conservatives’ leadership race, with 101 votes in the second ballot, but the mistake drew ire from some on Twitter.

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‘I thought it had to be a joke. I thought it had to be photoshopped,’ tweeted British author Tony Lee.

‘My favourite part is, while this is behind him, he claims he is a ‘perfectionist’. Um…’

Mr Sunak’s team later tried to get in on the joke by tweeting a version of the graphic reading ‘ready for spellcheck’. 

 

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This afternoon, former candidate Suella Braverman urged her supporters to choose Ms Truss over Mrs Badenoch, saying: ‘Kemi is a great woman and a friend. She could do a fantastic job as PM one day but we need to look realistically at the numbers. Liz and Kemi are not both going to make it into the final two.’

Ms Mordaunt had earlier tried to quell a rising backlash about her stance on gender issues, saying ‘Westminster is tying itself in knots’ about the topic and she believes women have a right to exclude trans people from single-sex spaces.  

The hustings, taking place on Zoom by the Conservative Home website, were beset by some technical problems, with Ms Truss forgetting to unmute herself before speaking and Kemi Badenoch struggling with connection issues that made her hard to hear.

Ms Mordaunt repeated her plea for a clean fight in her pitch to readers.  ‘I want a positive contest,’ she told the audience. ‘I don’t want mudslinging. Without that teamwork, we can’t deliver. 

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‘This is not about one party leader, it is about all the talents of the party being able to thrive and pull together in the same direction.’

Rivals have been engaged in a wave of brutal briefing as the Foreign Secretary tries to claw back ground, with allies of the Foreign Secretary branding Ms Mordaunt ‘utterly incompetent’ and warning her becoming PM would be ‘akin to a Corbynite takeover of the Conservative Party’. 

Tory leadership race: Round two vote result 

Rishi Sunak: 101 (+13)

Penny Mordaunt: 83 (+16)

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Liz Truss: 64 (+14)

Kemi Badenoch: 49 (+9)

Tom Tugendhat:  32 (-5)

ELIMINATED 

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Suella Braverman: 27 (-5) 

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost drew a furious response after urging the other right-winger left in the contest, Kemi Badenoch, to pull out and get behind Ms Truss – something she has flatly dismissed. 

Senior backbencher Simon Hoare, who is supporting Mr Sunak, swiped at the peer saying no-one ‘gives a flying f***’ what an ‘unelected, failed minister’ thinks. 

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Ms Mordaunt’s supporters have struck back by predicting that Ms Truss will be ‘aggressive and Marmite’ in the first televised debate on Channel 4 tonight, with one telling The Times she could end up looking like ‘Cruella de Vil’.

Ms Truss has been boosted by an endorsement from right-wing rival Suella Braverman, who was knocked out of the contest in the second round last night.

Ms Braverman also laid into Ms Mordaunt over her stance on gender issues, accusing her of trying to keep the word ‘woman’ out of maternity legislation.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘People obviously are trying to stop me getting into the final because they don’t want to run against me.’ 

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She insisted that her campaign was ‘not engaging in any of these black ops’, and said her competitors ‘might like to think about doing the same’ because ‘the worst thing would be is if we come out of this contest not in good shape’.

Ms Mordaunt also tried to put the gender debate to one side, saying that she is ‘genetically a woman’ and trans women are not. She insisted it is not fair for biological men to compete in women’s sport. 

But she added: ‘I think we should be concentrating on the big issues that are worrying – and terrifying in some cases – the public.

‘The huge cost of living issues that we have, access to health care, just the services that they want to see run really efficiently from the state.

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‘I understand why people are trying to stop me getting into the final two, but I am going to stay focused on the things that matter to the public and the people we’re here to serve.’

On Sky, Beth Rigby pointed out that Ms Mordaunt would be the first single PM since Ted Heath, mentioned the motherhood row over Theresa May and asked whether it ‘irritated’ her that motherhood and marriage are still ‘relevant’ talking about women in powerful positions.

Ms Mordaunt said people’s backgrounds were relevant to both men and women seeking public office, but said: ‘The question… why aren’t you married, is never asked of men.’

When Beth pressed if that meant Ms Mordaunt would never answer that question, she replied: ‘I’d probably answer it, but you could never show it on television.’

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The identity of the top two contenders who will go forward to the run-off ballot of Tory activists is still far from clear after the second round of voting by MPs. 

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak came top with 101 votes and Ms Mordaunt was second with 83 – adding 16 to her previous tally.

Ms Truss was still well behind on 64 – up 14 – while Ms Badenoch received 49, up nine. Tom Tugendhat is also still in the battle with 32 votes despite losing support.

The candidates will take part in hustings for the grassroots ConservativeHome website at 1pm, before facing off on Channel 4 at 7.30pm. There will be another ITV debate on Sunday night and MPs then vote again on Monday to eliminate another hopeful.

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A YouGov poll found the run-off margin for Penny Mordaunt against Rishi Sunak could be 67 per cent to 28 per cent, while the former Chancellor could lose 59 per cent to 25 per cent against Liz Truss

A YouGov poll found the run-off margin for Penny Mordaunt against Rishi Sunak could be 67 per cent to 28 per cent, while the former Chancellor could lose 59 per cent to 25 per cent against Liz Truss

Ms Braverman came out in support of Ms Truss after they held talks last night, describing the Foreign Secretary as the ‘best person to unleash the opportunities of Brexit’ and deliver tax cuts, as the right of the party seeks to rally round a single candidate.

Taking influential Tory Steve Baker’s vote with her, it was a blow to Kemi Badenoch, who was facing pressure to pull out and back Ms Truss to keep Mr Sunak or Ms Mordaunt out of No 10.

In a statement, Ms Braverman said: ‘Liz is the best person to unleash the opportunities of Brexit, and deliver much needed tax cuts.

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‘I’m confident she will defend free speech, champion equality of opportunity and take a robust line on illegal immigration.’

Meanwhile, Lord Frost urged Ms Badenoch to withdraw from the Tory leadership race and back Ms Truss.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Lord Frost said: ‘We need unity among free marketeers. Kemi and Suella Braverman set out convincing programmes, with differing emphases, for change. 

‘But Liz’s depth of experience, her energy and ideas – as well as the simple fact she has the most votes of the three – put her in the lead.

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He added: ‘It is now time for pragmatism. I urge Kemi to stand down in return for a serious job in a Truss administration.’

Former health minister Ed Argar, Home Office minister Tom Pursglove and defence minister James Heappey also endorsed Ms Truss yesterday.

The Foreign Secretary used her campaign launch yesterday to promise continuity on Mr Johnson’s key pledges such as levelling up, while breaking with the economic policy pursued by Mr Sunak.

There had been fury at the refusal of Mrs Braverman to step aside and lend her supporters to Miss Truss. 

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One ally said: ‘If she had dropped out in the morning we could have expected a significant number of her people to come across, giving Liz momentum into the weekend. It was a golden opportunity missed.’

In her speech in central London yesterday, Miss Truss highlighted her experience as a former chief secretary to the Treasury, and said she was the only candidate with the experience to offer a credible economic alternative to Mr Sunak.

‘We are at a critical moment for our country,’ she said. ‘Now is the time to be bold, we cannot have business-as-usual economic management, which has led to low growth for decades.’ 

She pledged to introduce ‘bold supply-side reforms’ including ‘cutting taxes’.

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Ms Truss also said she had opposed Mr Sunak’s hike in national insurance and would scrap it if elected.

And she defended her decision to stand by Boris Johnson when others were deserting him. 

‘I am a loyal person. I am loyal to Boris Johnson,’ she said.

‘I supported our Prime Minister’s aspirations and I want to deliver the promise of the 2019 manifesto. 

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‘What we need to do now is deliver, deliver, deliver, and I am the person in this race who has the record of delivery.’

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