London politics latest live: Rishi Sunak labelled the ‘complete package’ as Liz Truss expected to launch bid imminently

London politics latest live: Rishi Sunak labelled the ‘complete package’ as Liz Truss expected to launch bid imminently

Rishi Sunak has been “labelled the complete package” by a fellow MP while the Tory party awaits the announcement of Liz Truss’ leadership bid.

Speaking to Times Radio, Mark Spencer said Mr Sunak has “got the skills, he’s got the ability, he can communicate well, I think he’s the complete package”.

His praise comes as the Mail on Sunday claimed Ms Truss will launch her own leadership campaign next week.

On Sunday, Penny Mordaunt launched her bid pledging that “our leadership has to change” while Grant Shapps insisted he can “improve Britain” in an interview with Sky News - he announced his own bid on Saturday.

Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid announced their own leadership bids on Saturday, with both pledging to slash corporation tax.

Earlier, recently appointed Chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, also threw his hat into the ring, joining Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, and Tom Tugendhat.

Chancellor hits out at smears in Tory leadership race

19:33 , Robert Dex

Tory leadership candidate Nadhim Zahawi has hit out at “smears” over his tax affairs, saying he does not benefit from an offshore trust and has never held non-domicile status.

The newly appointed Chancellor denounced “inaccurate” and “unfair” reports in the media, adding that he has answered the allegations in the interest of transparency.

He pledged to publish his tax return annually if he is made prime minister.

Rees-Mogg refuses to endorse a candidate in the race

17:53 , Robert Dex

Boris Johnson loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg refused to say which candidate he would back in the race to replace the Prime Minister.

Questioned about his views by Andrew Neil on his Channel 4 show, he would only say he would not be supporting Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt or Tom Tugendhat.

Rishi Sunak gets another supporter from Tory ranks

17:47 , Robert Dex

Rishi Sunak’s lead amongst conservative MPs was extended as another member of the parliamentary party announced they were backing him.

The Spectator’s Diary Editor, James Heale, who is keeping a running total of MPs backing the various contendors, said Anthony Browne has become the 32nd MP to annouce he was supporting him.

Paralympian asks to be removed from Penny Mordaunt’s video

15:50 , Miriam Burrell

Paralympian Jonnie Peacock has asked to be removed from the campaign video of Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt.

A clip of the sportsman appears in Ms Mordaunt’s 3-minute long video released on Sunday.

But shortly after, Mr Peacock took to Twitter to ask to be removed.

Labour: Lia Nici should be ‘ashamed’ for dredging up ‘smears’ against Angela Reyner

15:45 , Miriam Burrell

The deputy labour leader has said Tory MP Lia Nici should be “ashamed of herself” after dredging claims that Angela Rayner “thought it would be amusing to open her legs in the chamber”.

Ms Nici clashed with Labour’s Naz Shah in a fiery debate on BBC’s Politics North programme.

Watch here:

Esther McVey: Jeremy Hunt and I not ‘soulmates’

14:26 , Miriam Burrell

Esther McVey said she and Jeremy Hunt are not “soulmates” and she is “braced for the inevitable abuse from people saying that I have sold out my principles”.

Mr Hunt, a Tory leadership candidate, has vowed to appoint Ms McVey as deputy prime minister if we wins the contest.

She wrote in the Express on Sunday: “To think that one person on their own can equally appeal to that very broad cross-section of voters is unrealistic. Jeremy - better than anyone - can appeal to blue wall voters, and it is very kind of Jeremy to believe that I - as the co-founder of the Blue Collar Conservatives - can appeal better to those red wall voters - many of whom voted for us for the first time at the last election.”

Tory candidates questioned on trans debate

13:59 , Miriam Burrell

People are far more interested in “bread and butter issues” like the cost of living than a debate about trans rights, Grant Shapps has said.

The Conservative leadership candidate said the UK does not “need to get caught up” in a culture war on the issue.

Fellow leadership hopeful Tom Tugendhat called for a “clean start” in the trans rights debate, while stressing the importance of women-only spaces and “dignity” for all.

Penny Mordaunt, meanwhile, published a Twitter thread stressing she has been alongside women “in every major battle”, in response to criticism she is a “woke” candidate.

Boris Johnson’s meet with ex-KGB agent ‘security breach'

13:44 , Miriam Burrell

Boris Johnson’s revelation that he met with ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev at the height of the Salisbury poisoning scandal suggests a “serious security breach” took place, Labour has said.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper branded the private encounter between the then foreign secretary and Mr Lebedev “unthinkable” given its timing in the aftermath of a chemical attack on UK soil.

During an appearance before the Liaison Committee on Wednesday, Mr Johnson admitted for the first time he had met the Russian oligarch without officials present in April 2018.

Jeremy Hunt: I would continue with Northern Ireland protocol legislation

12:46 , Bill Mcloughlin

The Tory leadership candidate said the Government’s legal advice on the Bill to allow ministers to overwrite parts of the post-Brexit treaty is that it “doesn’t break the law”.

He told LBC: “The Northern Ireland Protocol has to change and that’s why I supported this Bill.

“I hope that with somebody who wasn’t Boris Johnson in No 10 the mood music of our relations with the EU would change and we could legally negotiate some proper changes to the protocol.

“I think we have to be very clear with the EU that no British prime minister could allow a situation where we don’t have an internal market, where businesses from England can export freely to businesses in Northern Ireland.”

On HS2, he said he would “keep that going”.

Jeremy Hunt said he would not scrap HS2 and would continue with controversial legislation on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Therese Coffey backs Liz Truss

12:39 , Bill Mcloughlin

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, has publicly backed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to be the UK’s next Prime Minister.

Although Ms Truss has not yet announced her leadership campaign, Ms Coffey said her fellow Cabinet minister has the ability “to unite the Red and Blue Wall”.

“We need a leader who can unite the Red and Blue Wall, has a clear vision for the country and economy, and has the skills and experience to get the tough decisions right,” she added.

Hunt, Javid: No vote on Scottish independence for another decade

12:04 , Miriam Burrell

Both Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid said on Sunday it should be at least 10 years before another referendum is held on Scottish independence.

It flies in the face of the Scottish Government timetable that would see Scots head to the polls on the issue next October.

When asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme if he would allow another referendum, Jeremy Hunt said: “Not in the next 10 years.”

Mr Javid, responding to the same question in a later interview, said: “The last one was for a generation and the generation hasn’t changed, so no.”

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Michael Fabricant supports Penny Mordaunt

12:00 , Miriam Burrell

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has given his support to Penny Mordaunt as the next Tory leader.

The Lichfield MP said: “I have known Penny since when she first became an MP 12 years ago and as the Government Pairing Whip – who organises who can take time off from voting and when – I was able to help her with her Royal Navy commission.

“She is feisty, full of fun and, like me, while socially liberal, a staunch supporter of Brexit who firmly believes in the sovereignty and independence of the United Kingdom.”

Meanwhile Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said she would back Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to be the next Tory leader.

Keir Starmer: ‘Zombie government’ with ‘squatting’ PM

11:32 , Miriam Burrell

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Britain has a “a zombie government led by a prime minister who is squatting in Downing Street”.

He wrote in the Sunday Mirror: “Changing the person at the top of the Tories isn’t going to clean out the rotten culture from throughout their Party.

“Only by booting out the lot of them will Britain get the fresh start it needs. That’s why we need a general election now. My message to the Tories is simple: bring it on.”

Sajid Javid's tax-cutting plans would cost £39bn

11:22 , Miriam Burrell

Sajid Javid has said his tax-cutting plans would cost around £39 billion per year, but this did not include slashing fuel duty further in the short-term.

The Tory leadership candidate said he does not “believe in unfunded tax cuts”, adding: “I will be setting out in the next few days a scorecard which will show exactly how all of that we funded in a sustainable way.”

He said he believes in the current fiscal situation the country can afford to scrap the national insurance hike and still fund the promised boost for the NHS and social care.

Tory leadership cadidates Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid (PA Archive)
Tory leadership cadidates Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid (PA Archive)

Sajid Javid did not plan resignation with Rishi Sunak

10:19 , Miriam Burrell

Conservative leadership candidate Sajid Javid said he and former chancellor Rishi Sunak did not agree to send their ministerial resignation letters at the same time.

Asked about the timing of the two resignations on the BBC’s Sunday Morning, Mr Javid said: “Not at all. I had no idea what he was going to do. I can understand what he did because I read his letter afterwards, but not at all.

“This was a decision made by me, no one had – even the closest advisers in my department – no one had any idea I was going to do this and it wasn’t about leadership or anything else.”

Jeremy Hunt most ‘experienced’ in contest

10:12 , Miriam Burrell

Conservative former minister Jeremy Hunt billed himself as the most “experienced” hand in the party leadership content.

Mr Hunt told the BBC’s Sunday Morning: “The two biggest challenges we face as a country now are the international crisis in Ukraine and an economy teetering on the brink of recession. I am the experienced Foreign Secretary who is also an entrepreneur who will get the economy going.”

On whether he would offer tax cuts for struggling families, Mr Hunt said: “No Conservative should offer unfunded tax cuts. I think that no Conservative should raise taxes either. What you need is smart tax cuts that will grow the economy.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘sorry’ Ben Wallace out of race

09:59 , Miriam Burrell

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he is “sorry” Ben Wallace withdrew from the leadership contest.

The Brexit Opportunities Minister told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme he is not considering standing in the leadership contest.

He said: “We need someone who will be clear about their principles, who will not have any baggage...and who will be able to win both with the Conservative Party at large and in a general election, which is not just in the party’s interest but in the national interest.

“We haven’t yet got all of the names, we have to wait and see what all the names are.”

Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg (PA Wire)
Brexit Opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg (PA Wire)

Labour: ‘Chaotic catwalk of contestants’

09:54 , Miriam Burrell

Labour’s Yvette Cooper said Tory leadership candidates are continuing to defend Boris Johnson staying on as caretaker prime minister, and are part of a “catalogue of failure”.

The Shadow Home Secretary told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday there has been a “chaotic catwalk of contestants who have been defending Boris Johnson” who are also “part of 12 years of a failed Tory government”.

She said “nobody is confident Boris Johnson is going to do what is right for the country” and that candidates should be supporting him to leave the post now, “before he does any more damage”.

Yvette Cooper (PA Wire)
Yvette Cooper (PA Wire)

Penny Mordaunt launches leadership campaign

09:40 , Miriam Burrell

Penny Mordaunt is the latest Tory MP to launch a leadership campaign.

The Minister of State for Trade Policy wrote on Twitter: “Our leadership has to change. It needs to become a little less about the leader and a lot more about the ship.”

Watch her campaign video here:

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis eyes three candidates

09:26 , Miriam Burrell

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has his eye on Grant Schapps, Jeremy Hunt and Liz Truss to be the next Tory leader.

The MP told Sky News he will make a final decision on who to back in the next few hours, but they must someone willing to change the tax policy.

He said “ethical issues are a bit of a problem if you’ve been in Cabinet in the last year” and “if we have another integrity problem in next six months, we may as forget policies issues”.

Boris Johnson and former Brexit Secretary David Davis (PA Wire)
Boris Johnson and former Brexit Secretary David Davis (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson ‘too loyal to people', Shapps says

09:10 , Miriam Burrell

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Boris Johnson was “too loyal to people” in Cabinet as prime minister, and that was one of his flaws.

The leadership candidate told Sky News “we saw a succession of people he would defend” and said Mr Johnson was “fundamentally flawed, but we all are as human beings”.

In terms of policies, Mr Shapps said he would increase defence spending and believes in a lower tax economy.

Grant Shapps (PA Wire)
Grant Shapps (PA Wire)

Tom Tugendhat: Army experience proves his readiness for leadership

08:53 , Miriam Burrell

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat told Sky News that by leading combat operations in Iraq and Afhganistan, he is ready to lead the Conservative Party.

He told Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he is “absolutely committed to clean start” and “of course” he has the numbers to back him.

He said he has always been a “a low tax conservative” and that he would deliver the Northern Ireland protocol.

“What we need is not a tax on growth but a growing economy.”

Tom Tugendhat (PA Archive)
Tom Tugendhat (PA Archive)

Environment Secretary backs Grant Shapps

08:29 , Miriam Burrell

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Environment Secretary George Eustice is backing him to be the next Tory leader.

A message attributed to Mr Eustice on social media said: “Grant has always shown good judgment and an ability to handle anything thrown his way.

“We have challenges ahead as we wrestle with the consequences of the pandemic and that is why I am backing Grant to be our next prime minister.”

Rishi Sunak appeals to ‘broad part of the country’, Afolami says

08:25 , Miriam Burrell

Tory MP Bim Afolami, who is backing Rishi Sunak to be the party’s next leader, said he appeals to the “broad part of the country”.

He told Sky News Mr Sunak has been doing “incredibly well”, according to the latest polls, including JL Partners.

He said “of all contenders, Rishi Sunak is the only one on polling to beat Keir Starmer”.

“I know he has the appeal to the broad part of the country.”

Bim Afolami ((UK Parliament/PA))
Bim Afolami ((UK Parliament/PA))