The Perfect Enemy | Tory leadership – live: Mordaunt and Truss in last-ditch bid for place in final race
August 17, 2022

Tory leadership – live: Mordaunt and Truss in last-ditch bid for place in final race

Tory leadership – live: Mordaunt and Truss in last-ditch bid for place in final race  The Independent

Read Time:6 Minute

Watch: Boris Johnson’s government wins confidence with 349 votes

Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss are battling it out to secure a place in the run-off to replace Boris Johnson, as Tory MPs vote for the final time, bringing the bitter Westminster stage of the leadership contest to a close.

Frontrunner Rishi Sunak appears certain to achieve the votes required from Conservative MPs to guarantee his name will be on the ballot that goes to Tory members over the summer.

But foreign secretary Ms Truss and trade minister Ms Mordaunt are scrambling to secure votes for the second spot on the ballot, results of which are due to be announced at 4pm.

In a last-ditch attack, Ms Mordaunt’s campaign claimed Ms Truss would lose a general election. The trade minister was calling wavering MPs from early on this morning, highlighting her economic plan as inflation hit a fresh 40-year high.

But Ms Truss, the new bookies’ favourite, insisted she was the “only person who can deliver the change” needed.

Earlier, Tory MPs gave a standing ovation for Mr Johnson after he claimed “mission largely accomplished” in his final PMQs.

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‘We won’t have long to wait,’ says Mordaunt as she casts her vote

As she cast her vote in the final ballot of Tory MPs, leadership hopeful Penny Mordaunt was asked if she was optimistic about her chances – to which she replied: “We won’t have long to wait.”

A supporter of Kemi Badenoch, who was eliminated in the last round, was quoted by the Press Association as saying that they expected her backers to split between Ms Truss and Rishi Sunak.

The MP claimed they were voting for Ms Truss “to have two grown-ups in the final round”.

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Kwarteng becomes third Cabinet minister to dodge grilling by committee MPs

A third Cabinet minister has pulled out of an appearance before a House of Commons committee at short notice – following in the footsteps of Priti Patel and Dominic Raab.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had been due to answer questions on Wednesday afternoon from MPs on the environmental audit committee on accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels and securing energy supplies.

But Mr Kwarteng wrote to the committee’s chairman, Philip Dunne, on Wednesday morning to say he could no longer attend. He gave no reason for pulling out, but offered to rearrange for a date in September, after MPs return from their summer recess.

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Final Tory MPs cast their last vote in leadership election

Former chief whip Sir Gavin Williamson, a prominent supporter of Rishi Sunak, was one of the the final MPs to vote in the leadership contest.

Polls close at 3pm, with the result announced an hour later.

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Cabinet secretary writes to David Davis to announce leak inquiry

Here is the letter from cabinet secretary Simon Case to Tory MP David Davis, in which he confirms he has launched a leak investigation into allegations of “the apparent leaking of information designed to influence the Conservative leadership election” (see post below).

Mr Case announced the probe after receiving a complaint over the release of internal government communications relating to Penny Mordaunt’s position on the fraught issue of trans rights.

“I have been very clear in writing with the civil service that it is paramount that public resources are not used to support leadership campaigns,” he wrote, adding: “Further to that, unauthorised disclosure of government information to the media is clearly inappropriate.”

You can read more below about the allegations by Mr Davis, who revealed yesterday that he had urged Mr Case to examine whether government resources had been used to help Ms Mordaunt’s rivals, claiming she had been subjected to “brutal” smears.

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Breaking: Inquiry into alleged leak designed to undermine Mordaunt bid for PM

An official inquiry has been launched into the alleged leak of information designed to undermine Penny Mordaunt’s campaign to become prime minister.

Our political editor Andrew Woodcock has the breaking story here, which you can refresh for updates:

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Tobias Ellwood has whip restored so he can vote

The Tory rebel suspended for failing to support the government in this week’s confidence motion has been allowed to return to the fold temporarily to vote in the leadership contest, writes Adam Forrest:

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Sir Keir’s language does not degrade debate, Labour says

Labour has denied that Sir Keir Starmer’s use of colourful language to describe the Prime Minister degrades the public debate.

Asked by reporters whether the Labour leader calling Boris Johnson a “complete bull*****er” had this effect, a spokesman for the party replied: “No”.

Quizzed on whether Sir Keir would miss his weekly exchanges with Mr Johnson after his final PMQs, the spokesman said: “Prime Minister’s Questions is one of those opportunities that the Leader of the Opposition has to scrutinise the Government. In that sense he has always enjoyed the weekly exchanges there are, and I’m sure he’ll look forward to doing the same with the next Tory leader”.

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‘Hypocritical’ of Starmer to call PM a ‘complete bull*****er’, Downing Street says

It was “hypocritical” of Sir Keir Starmer to accuse Boris Johnson of being a “complete bull*****er”, Downing Street has said.

Asked for a response to the Labour leader’s comment, the prime minister’s press secretary told reporters: “I would not respond with similar language of course.

“But I would disagree with that characterisation. I think Prime Minister has delivered a huge amount that was promised to the British public, not least getting Brexit done, which was delivering on the will of millions of people.

“And [it’s] possibly slightly hypocritical of the leader of the opposition to say such things when he voted against doing that 48 times”.

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Johnson pressed over Scottish independence in final PMQs

Several SNP MPs called for a second referendum on Scottish independence during Boris Johnson’s final PMQs.

Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan compared the UK’s slow economic growth with other OECD nations, asking: “Why should Scotland not be afforded the same opportunity to seek prosperity through being a sovereign independent nation standing as an equal among other equal nations?”

Mr Johnson replied that Scotland was protected by the “massive fiscal firepower” of the UK Treasury.

SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald said Scotland was “paying a high price for his disastrous hard Brexit imposed against the wishes of Scottish voters”.

She added: “It is time to end this democracy denial, prime minister, Scotland can’t afford to stay shackled to this crumbling union and Tory governments that we don’t vote for.”

Mr Johnson replied: “This is the country that secured furlough, that delivered the vaccine across the whole of the UK, while the SNP gets on with overtaxing to the tune £900 million – that is what they are overtaxing in Scotland – and we had a referendum in 2014.”

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Speaker pays tribute to Boris Johnson’s conduct during Covid-19 pandemic

At the outset of Boris Johnson’s final PMQs, the Commons Speaker paid tribute to the prime minister’s conduct during the “dark times” of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle pays tribute to Boris Johnson’s work during Covid pandemic

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone has more details here: