Ben Wallace rules out bid for conservative leadership 'after careful consideration'

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has ruled out a shot at the Tory leadership - Louis Wood/The Sun/PA Images
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has ruled out a shot at the Tory leadership - Louis Wood/The Sun/PA Images

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary and one of the bookmakers' favourites to become the next Prime Minister, has ruled himself out of the Conservative leadership race.

Mr Wallace impressed Tory MPs across the party in the past six months with his response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

But after days of speculation, he wrote on Twitter: "After careful consideration and discussing with colleagues and family, I have taken the decision not to enter the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party.

"I am very grateful to all my parliamentary colleagues and wider members who have pledged support.

"It has not been an easy choice to make, but my focus is on my current job and keeping this great country safe. I wish the very best of luck to all candidates and hope we swiftly return to focusing on the issues that we are all elected to address."

04:07 PM

That's all for today...

A bookmakers' favourite pulled out of the Conservative leadership contest on Saturday as speculation continued to swirl about which new names would enter the fray.

Ben Wallace ruled himself out of the race to become Britain's next prime minister "after careful consideration" and discussions with his family and other MPs.

Mr Wallace, who has impressed as Defence Secretary in his response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, leaves the field as Kemi Badenoch, a former equalities minister, sets her sights on No 10 with the promise of smaller government and a 'war on woke' that has already won her support among the 2019 intake of Tory MPs.

On Saturday afternoon three MPs went public within the space of an hour to endorse Sajid Javid, who quit as Health Secretary on Tuesday, despite the fact he has yet to formally declare a leadership run.

We'll be back tomorrow with all the latest news and analysis Westminster

03:50 PM

HS2 rail project should be scrapped, voters tell Conservative leadership candidates

The HS2 rail project must be scrapped by the next prime minister, voters have said in a new poll that will put Conservative leadership candidates on notice.

Almost half of the public would like to see work on the £100 billion high speed line linking London to the Midlands and the north stopped, after costs spiralled out of control.

Only 17 per cent of those who backed the Conservatives at the last election think the highly controversial scheme should go ahead, compared with 52 per cent who now oppose it.

Suella Braverman, the Attorney General and leadership candidate, has previously suggested it should be halted, as has Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary who is yet to declare her bid.

​Nick Gutteridge, our Political Correspondent, has the story

03:30 PM

Jeremy Warner: It’s time for the Tories to speak the truth about the economy – it is dire

And they’re off. And a pretty dispiriting field of has-beens and chancers it promises to be, too, notes Jeremy Warner.

By the look of the early riders, committing to a low tax economy is about the only starting qualification needed – that, and an oath of absolute loyalty to Brexit. How realistic is the tax cutting aspiration likely to be?

On the present upward trajectory of public spending, not very. Never mind the political pressures for increased health, education and entitlement spending, there is also the disappearance of the so-called “peace dividend” to contend with.

Over the coming weeks, all candidates will also be expected to commit to significantly increased defence spending alongside their tax cutting promises.

Jeremy Warner: Things could scarcely be more precarious

03:16 PM

Janet Daley: A lame duck Prime Minister is a gift to Putin. Boris must go now

This is a bad historical moment for Western governments to be paralysed. But this is where we are.

In France, President Macron is trapped by the electoral success of rivals from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Germany has an unworkable coalition rendered helpless by its dependence on Russian energy.

When the Republicans win a congressional majority in the autumn midterms, President Biden’s administration will be caught in the impotent futility of Washington gridlock. And in the UK for the moment, we appear not to have a functioning leader at all.

"Mr Johnson was forced to resign on grounds that are quite unprecedented in contemporary British politics" - Henry Nicholls/Reuters
"Mr Johnson was forced to resign on grounds that are quite unprecedented in contemporary British politics" - Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Boris Johnson is now a lame duck national leader without the authority to take substantive decisions which could commit the country to future action. How is an outgoing leader who admittedly no longer has the support of his party better than a caretaker who has never been mandated by the party?

Janet Daley: The West cannot afford another leader without authority

03:03 PM

All the Conservative Party roles up for grabs after mass resignations

Boris Johnson this week saw more than 40 members of his Government and party resign following months of criticism over his suitability to be leader.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister stepped down and announced a new Cabinet that will continue the job of government until a new leader of the Conservative Party is chosen.

Some of those who called for him to go returned to the fold, such as Will Quince, the education minister who resigned on Wednesday, only to be appointed the next day.

However, dozens of jobs remain unfilled across Mr Johnson’s party and the Government, raising questions about how work can continue.

Mason Boycott-Owen takes a look at the vacancies

02:48 PM

Backbencher asks constituents: Who should I vote for?

The last couple of days have seen Tory MPs falling over themselves to endorse various leadership hopefuls, with more than 55 having signalled their support for candidates - some of whom are yet to launch a campaign.

Nick Fletcher, the MP for Don Valley, seems to be in less of a rush, asking his constituents: "Who do you think I should vote for? Let me know in the comments below."

At the end of his post, he urges Twitter followers to vote for Doncaster as the new home of Great British Railways after it was confirmed as one of six locations in contention.

02:35 PM

The behind-the-scenes photographs of Boris Johnson's emotional resignation as Prime Minister

When the end finally came for Boris Johnson's tenure as Prime Minister, it came swiftly.

Told by members of his own Cabinet that he had to go, the Prime Minister fell on his sword.

Boris Johnson hugs Wilfred, his son, after delivering his statement at Downing Street - Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson hugs Wilfred, his son, after delivering his statement at Downing Street - Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street

Here, we show the photographs that capture his resignation

02:07 PM

Chris Philp becomes first to back Sajid Javid if he runs

02:06 PM

Ben Bradley backs Badenoch

Ben Bradley, the Tory MP for the Red Wall constituency of Mansfield, has told LBC he will be backing Kemi Badenoch for the leadership.

"I think she's a really face fresh, actually, she's not tainted by the kind of current frustrations and the chaos that we've had in recent weeks."

"She's widely experienced across government and anyone who's read what she's written... will recognise a clear drive for a smaller, more sensible framework for government, trying to do fewer things better."

Mr Bradley said while Rishi Sunak was "very capable", he represented "continuity" with Boris Johnson's time in office by contrast to Ms Badenoch's "brave" language on issues such as critical race theory and transgender issues.

02:00 PM

Act on fuel or Britain will become the new Canada, warns backbencher

The new Tory leader must make sure fuel duty is cut or there will be a "Canada crisis", a senior MP has warned.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative chairman of the education select committee, warned the £37billion cost-of-living package involved "welcome steps" but urgent action on fuel was needed,

In an article for the Sun, he wrote: "There should be three words on any Tory leadership candidate's lips: 'Canada, Canada, Canada'. The reason? If we don't do anything about the cost of petrol and diesel soon, we will face a Canada-style haulier demonstration, as happened this year in the capital, Ottawa.

01:48 PM

Andrea Jenkyns issues statement after middle finger footage

Andrea Jenyks defended herself over footage that surfaced earlier this week (see 10.37am) in a statement posted to Twitter, as she said a "baying mob" were "insulting" MPs as she entered Downing Street.

She wrote: "After receiving huge amounts of abuse from some of the people who were there over the years, and I have also had seven death threats in the last four years – two of which have been in recent weeks and are currently being investigated by the police – I had reached the end of my tether.

"I responded and stood up for myself. Just why should anyone have to put up with this sort of treatment? I should have shown more composure but [I] am only human."

A man was arrested in May after a threat concerning Ms Jenkyns was made to security staff at Morley Town Hall in her constituency. In September 2019, Ms Jenkyns, a staunch eurosceptic, found graffiti on her office wall which read ‘Andrea, just kill yourself [please]’ at the height of an impasse in Parliament over Brexit.

01:28 PM

Sajid Javid pushed for Christmas lockdown and mandatory Covid vaccines

Sajid Javid wanted lockdown measures over Christmas and mandatory Covid vaccines for employees, it has emerged amid backlash over his speech condemning Boris Johnson.

The Prime Minister’s allies have hit back at the former health secretary after he chose to make a “personal statement” in the Commons following his resignation on Tuesday.

Mr Javid used the speech to publicly question Mr Johnson’s integrity and draw attention to his own leadership credentials ahead of an expected leadership bid.

However, MPs said that the speech would turn off potential backers in the contest, who could feel his decision to speak in the Commons about his reasons for resigning was disloyal.

Tony Diver, our Whitehall Correspondent, has this report

01:09 PM

Labour continue to pile pressure on Boris Johnson

Labour chairman Anneliese Dodds has continued to pile the pressure on Boris Johnson, reiterating the party will call a confidence vote of the whole House of Commons next week if the Tory party does not act to remove him straight away.

At the moment, Mr Johnson plans to stay in Downing Street until his successor is chosen. However, Ms Dodds labels him as "unfit to lead the Conservative Party, and... certainly unfit to govern the United Kingdom".

Writing for the House magazine, she said: "Ministers who wouldn’t have dreamed of serving under Johnson just a few days ago have now eagerly signed up to the Cabinet to boost their own profiles.

"Soon they will be tearing strips off each other and attacking each other’s records in government. Meanwhile, there will be no new policies to tackle the problems Britain faces until a new Prime Minister is installed. Backlog Britain stands to get much worse than it already is under the Conservatives."

12:53 PM

'Truly overwhelmed' Sunak thanks supporters

Rishi Sunak says he has been "truly overwhelmed" by the support for his leadership bid to date:

12:44 PM

Analysis: What a difference a day makes

Only yesterday it was reported Ben Wallace was readying himself for a Conservative leadership run and taking soundings from allies.

But following "careful consideration" Mr Wallace, the Defence Secretary, has ruled himself out of the race and said his focus was "on my current job and keeping this great country safe".

It is unsurprising his name had been doing the rounds in Westminster, with some Tories going as far as privately expecting a "coronation" - as he would have appealed to all wings of the party, from One Nation to Red Wall MPs.

But as Putin's bombardment of Ukraine shows no signs of letting up, it is understandable Mr Wallace's priorities are on a brief which has seen him become widely regarded as one of the most competent and effective ministers of recent years.

12:38 PM

More from the Defence Secretary, who has tweeted:

12:34 PM

BREAKING: Ben Wallace rules out Tory leadership run

The Defence Secretary writes:

"After careful consideration and discussing with colleagues and family, I have taken the decision not to enter the contest for leadership of the Conservative Party. I am very grateful to all my parliamentary colleagues and wider members who have pledged support."

12:23 PM

Why Steve Baker stood down his leadership ambitions

12:20 PM

Suella: We'll be out of office for a generation if we undo Brexit

Any attempt to reverse or dilute Brexit will "destroy" the Conservative Party, Suella Braverman has warned.

Responding to a tweet by Harry Cole, the Sun's political editor, which referred to press coverage of whether Brexit could be 'unpicked', Ms Braverman wrote: "It can be. Unfortunately some people want to.

"If they’re allowed to, it’ll destroy the party and deservedly put us out of office for a generation."

12:04 PM

Lee Anderson backs Kemi Badenoch

Seen as speaking for a lot of the 2019 'Red Wall' Tory voters, Lee Anderson, the Ashfield MP, has confirmed he is supporting Kemi Badenoch.

"She is fearless, pro Brexit, tough on immigration, defends our culture, calls out the politicians who play the 'race card'," he wrote on Facebook.

"She destroys Labour at the dispatch box. I am on her campaign team and have really been working hard behind the scenes to encourage her to stand."

11:54 AM

Boris’s political genius will be hard to replicate

As he often says, and repeated in his resignation speech on Thursday, Boris Johnson believes in "unleashing the potential" of this country, writes Charles Moore.

His supporters, of whom I have been one since he came out for Leave early in 2016, believed in unleashing the potential of Boris Johnson.

As so often with remarkable characters, the virtues and faults of Boris Johnson are near allied. His instinct that essentially patriotic British people were longing for change and that, in Nelson’s phrase, "The boldest measures are the safest", won him the EU referendum, the premiership, the general election and Brexit itself.

Just now, there is a dreadful drought of ideas. Perhaps because of the cares of office, senior ministers have shied off them. What is missing, I think, is a whole-life Conservative approach to economics.

Charles Moore: Our country's innate talents are being squashed

11:39 AM

Rehman Chishti suggests he will run for leader

11:30 AM

Male, over 50, and from the south: the Tory members who will pick the next PM

Male, over 50 and from the south of England – this is the average person who will choose the next prime minister.

Next week, the race to succeed Boris Johnson will officially begin. Nearly 200,000 party members will eventually have a vote once Conservative MPs have whittled that number down to two.

The exact make-up of party members is not publicly shared, but research from Queen Mary University of London, helps provide a picture.

Around 71 per cent of members are male, the largest proportion of the three major parties.

​Ben Butcher and Ewan Somerville take a closer look

11:18 AM

Could Priti Patel be a surprise contender?

One Tory MP from the 2019 intake gets in touch to say: "Someone who hasn’t properly put their head above the parapet yet who could be incredibly popular with the party and the country would be the Home Secretary.

"No one can doubt her on Brexit, no one can doubt her on home affairs. She’s got a picture of Nigel Lawson on her office wall. How many other colleagues have got that?

"I think she could marry up all the best bits of Boris with that more free market, low tax economic outlook."

11:13 AM

Suella Braverman: I owe a debt of gratitude to this country

The Attorney General tweeted out a video in the last few minutes of her appearance on ITV's Peston on Tuesday.

While she said at the time she would want to throw her hat into the ring in the event of a leadership contest, she now accompanies her words about what Britian has given her with the hashtag "#Suella4PM".

11:07 AM

Former minister accuses Jenkyns of 'appalling conduct'

Former science minister George Freeman accused Andrea Jenkyns of "appalling conduct" (see 8.54am) for appearing to make a middle finger gesture on the day of Boris Johnson's resignation.

"This is exactly why we need a new Prime Minister: to restore the ministerial code and respect for the responsibilities of service in public office," Mr Freeman wrote. He is urging the PM to step aside now, rather than wait for a new leader - a decision that could be made for him by the 1922 Committee of backbenchers next week.

10:56 AM

'We cannot have any more wokery'

The Tory leadership contender Penny Mordaunt has been criticised by conservative activists for her pro-trans stance, writes Mason Boycott-Owen.

The trade minister, touted as a future Tory leader who could unite the Right and Left of the party, made the statement that "trans women are women and trans men are men" while equalities minister in 2018. She has not made any formal declarations in the current leadership battle.

Announcing the Gender Recognition Act in the Commons, Ms Mordaunt said it would be a "culture change" in the UK, with equality of those who were born a woman and those who were not a "starting point... and finishing point".

The legislation, announced under Theresa May, sought to bring in the right for trans people to self-identify as male or female without a medical diagnosis.

Here is what conservative commentators have to say

10:53 AM

Breaking: Bim Afolami backs Rishi Sunak

On Tuesday, Bim Afolami memorably quit his role as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party on live television - minutes after Rishi Sunak stepped down as Chancellor.

So it is perhaps unsurprising Mr Afolami, widely tipped as a rising star of the party in recent years, is backing Mr Sunak for PM:

10:48 AM

David Davis tells Sunak: Tax cuts are not 'fairy tales'

Promises to cut taxes are not "fairy tales", David Davis has told Rishi Sunak.

Mr Davis, who has reportedly been trying to gauge the extent of support he would get for his own attempt to make it into No 10, urged a "more courteous" approach to policy debates.

"Otherwise people might start describing the Treasury and Bank of England's forecasting record on tax and inflation as "fairy tales". Or indeed the whole approach to monetary policy."

In his campaign launch video - which now has a staggering 6.8 million views on Twitter alone - Mr Sunak said: "Do we confront this moment with honesty, seriousness and determination?

"Or do we tell ourselves comforting fairy tales that might make us feel better in the moment, but will leave our children worse off tomorrow? Someone has to grip this moment and make the right decisions.”"

10:41 AM

'People of calibre' could lead outside of current Cabinet

The next Tory leader must have had "experience of high office" but does not need to be in the current Cabinet, a former minister insisted.

George Freeman, who resigned as science and innovation minister this week, denied he was specifically talking specifically about Jeremy Hunt, a former health and foreign secretary who is widely tipped to run for leader again.

He said on Talk TV: "There's all sorts of candidates... there's quite a few people of calibre who've been proven in high office who are not in the Cabinet this weekend."

10:37 AM

Education minister should 'justify' gesture outside No 10

Andrea Jenkyns must "justify" her actions after viral footage showed her appearing to make a rude gesture outside Downing Street after Boris Johnson's resignation on Thursday.

Mark Spencer, the leader of the Commons, said he did not "seek to condone that at all" and said Ms Jenkyns - a newly-appointed education minister - "will have to... justify that for herself".

"I do understand emotions were running pretty high and they were pretty raw on that day," he told the BBC. "But I don't think that was the right thing to do at all."

Angela Richardson, the Conservative MP for Guildford, wrote on Twitter: "As a member of the Education Select Committee I have a few questions..."

10:31 AM

Analysis: Red meat for the true blue base

'Red meat' policies such as the Rwanda scheme for small boat migrants and action on the Northern Ireland Protocol were rolled out by No 10 during the final fledgling months of Boris Johnson's premiership.

Now, an appeal to core Conservative voters and values is already at the heart of two leadership bids. Kemi Badenoch and Suella Braverman may have different visions, but there is common ground in their offerings.

Ms Badenoch last night railed against "zero-sum identity politics", while Ms Braverman insisted earlier in the week: "We need to get rid of all this woke rubbish."

Ms Badenoch attacks a "cultural establishment that will not accept the world has moved on from Blairism", as Ms Braverman insists the Britain "can no longer be beholden" to the European Convention on Human Rights.

With grassroots Tories having tired of tax cuts under Mr Johnson and firmly opposed to 'wokery', both candidates sense an opportunity to reset and reinforce the 'small-c' conservative aspects of their party.

10:18 AM

Endorsements come in for Kemi Badenoch

The former equalities minister has the backing of 2019 MP Tom Hunt:

And also the current culture minister Julia Lopez, who was previously a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Cabinet Office:

10:13 AM

In Liz we Truss? The view from the backbenches

Sir Bob Neill defended Rishi Sunak's tax rises in office as he said the former chancellor would rebuild the economy and trust in politics.

Speaking to BBC Two's Newsnight, Sir Bob - who has publicly backed Mr Sunak - said: "On the economy point, he actually demonstrated that he's a pragmatist with the economy. It's thanks to his work as chancellor that we had the furlough scheme that actually saved millions of jobs."

Meanwhile Bob Seely, the Isle of Wight MP, said he would be considering Liz Truss, Penny Mordaunt and Ben Wallace - all of whom are yet to declare - "more than any of the others".

"Rishi's a great candidate and Bob, good for backing Rishi. Saj is a great candidate. For me, we're living in a global political and economic crisis and above all, I want clarity of leadership. Over cost of living, over inflation, over Ukraine. And for me, Penny could do that, possibly Ben, for me at the moment the candidate who's most likely to achieve that is going to be Liz because that is somebody who says what they mean and mean what they say."

10:01 AM

Inside Team Rishi: Slick video produced in 48 hours puts humble origins front and centre

So slick was the campaign video launching Rishi Sunak’s candidacy for Tory Party leader, it prompted some to speculate that it must have been in production before he quit as chancellor on Tuesday night, writes Ben Riley-Smith.

His team insisted it was put together in 48 hours. “It was literally put together in two days,” said a source, adding of Mr Sunak’s team: “They are f------ good.”

However, it has emerged that one of Mr Sunak’s official websites was registered on Dec 23 last year – suggesting that while the video may not have predated this week, campaign preparations did.

09:58 AM

Tax cuts must wait, says Rishi Sunak, the ‘serious’ Tory leadership candidate

Rishi Sunak launched his Tory leadership campaign on Friday night with a pledge to be "serious", playing down the prospect of imminent tax cuts if he becomes Prime Minister.

The former chancellor, who resigned earlier this week, is widely considered as the favourite to replace Boris Johnson among Tory MPs, advisers, and even other leadership hopefuls, with one senior Conservative source saying: "Everyone could live with Rishi."

The Telegraph's Ben Riley-Smith can reveal he left the Government following a major confrontation last weekend with Mr Johnson over how and when to cut tax.

Fiscal responsibility is my priority, says Sunak

09:46 AM

Brexiteer Steve Baker backs Suella Braverman as he drops his own leadership bid

Suella Braverman has received a major boost in the race to be Tory leader after leading Brexiteer Steve Baker decided not to run and threw his weight behind the Attorney General instead (see 8.57am).

Mr Baker, a former Government minister, had been seen as an outside bet to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative leader, hinting as much in interviews that he was considering whether to stand.

Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, is currently towards the front of the leadership race - Paul Grover
Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, is currently towards the front of the leadership race - Paul Grover

However, Mr Baker declared yesterday he would not stand for the leadership after all and instead is backing Ms Braverman, who he said had the "iron resolve and authenticity" needed to lead the country.

As things stand, Ms Braverman now has seven declared supporters: Mr Baker, Sir Desmond Swayne, Jason McCartney, Robin Millar, Henry Smith, Julian Lewis and John Hayes.

Christopher Hope has the full exclusive story here

09:39 AM

Who could replace Boris Johnson? The runners and riders for next Prime Minister

Boris Johnson’s resignation announcement fired the starting gun on the race to succeed him, with Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, emerging as an early front-runner in a crowded field.

Mr Wallace was being given odds as low as 11/4 with some bookmakers, despite uncertainty over whether he will run.

Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary - Louis Wood/The Sun/PA Wire
Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary - Louis Wood/The Sun/PA Wire

At least 15 possible candidates are weighing up their options, with a striking military bias among those considered most likely to enter the contest.

Gordon Rayner takes a closer look

09:33 AM

No chance at Tory leadership? Then drop out, urges Sir Charles Walker

Sir Charles Walker urged Tory leadership contenders who have "no hope" of becoming prime minister to drop out of the race "for the greater good".

"They don't need to put themselves in the shop window and sort of stretch out the process any longer than it needs to be stretched out," the former acting chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbenchers told BBC Radio 4.

Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the defence select committee, urged the Committee to raise the threshold of nominations needed, joking on Twitter: "If this candidates list keeps growing - I might be the only one voting!"

Sir Charles suggested the process of selecting a new leader could be "truncated" if regional hustings do not take place, which he said he was "not suggesting... happens, but it could happen".

09:22 AM

Kemi Badenoch launches 'free speech and free markets' campaign

Kemi Badenoch is placing free speech and free markets at the centre of her run to be the next prime minister.

Announcing her leadership campaign in today's Times, Ms Badenoch - who resigned as communities minister earlier this week - said the centre-right must be "smart and nimble" in face of a Blairite "cultural establishment".

Kemi Badenoch - Jeff Gilbert
Kemi Badenoch - Jeff Gilbert

We cannot maintain a cohesive nation state with the zero-sum identity politics we see today," she said. "Without change, the Conservative Party, Britain and the western world will continue to drift.

"We need to invigorate the case for free speech, free markets and the institutions that defend [a] free people because our values and ideas are too precious not to fight for with all our heart."

09:14 AM

Rishi Sunak's vision for Britain 'quite harmful', warns Steve Baker

Rishi Sunak's economic policies are "quite harmful", Steve Baker has said as he described the former chancellor's tax rises as "counterproductive and damaging".

Speaking to Sky News, the former Brexit minister, said: "I'm afraid the issue that Rishi has got, if you're pressing me, is unfortunately because of his record as Chancellor he now has to double down on the high tax position that he's taken.

Steve Baker, who has recently ruled out a leadership bid of his own - Justin Tallis/AFP
Steve Baker, who has recently ruled out a leadership bid of his own - Justin Tallis/AFP

"The big question is whether taxation at this level is doing more harm than good and I'm afraid I think that it is. Although I've great admiration for Rishi and he's often said all the right things he's now doubling down on a difficult position that is actually quite harmful.

"If Rishi really thinks we can sustain taxation at these historic levels then he'll continue to argue for it. But I think we'll continue to find that most Conservatives believe that this position is wrong. I don't think Rishi will win, no, I think that Suella should win and that she deserves to win and she would do a great job."

09:10 AM

He's leaving home: Rishi Sunak pictured this morning

Rishi Sunak - Jamie Lorriman
Rishi Sunak - Jamie Lorriman

09:01 AM

Jake Berry not running for Tory leader

Jake Berry, the chairman of the new Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, this morning ruled out a run for Tory leader following reports he was considering a bid.

Mr Berry, a longtime ally of Boris Johnson, wrote: "Whilst flattered to be asked by colleagues to throw my hat into the ring, I believe my job and the role of the NRG during the leadership election will be to ensure our core pledge to level up, is not ignored."

He confirmed the NRG will be hosting hustings for candidates and next week plans to unveil "a series of core principles" it wants leadership candidates to adopt.

08:57 AM

Suella Braverman vows to cut taxes and ditch net zero in Tory leadership pitch

After first announcing her intentions to run in an ITV interview with Robert Peston interview on Tuesday - while Boris Johnson was still in post - Suella Braverman has set out her stall at more length.

"Firstly, we need to deliver rapid and large tax cuts to ease the inflationary price rises," she wrote.

"In order to deal with the energy crisis we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth."

Ms Braverman, whose campaign is understood to be centred on "building on Boris's legacy", pledged in an article for the Express to "deliver what we set out to in the 2019 manifesto", adding: "Boris Johnson won the election promising to get Brexit done. So that's the job his successor must finish."

08:54 AM

The messy battle to replace Boris Johnson

Their nerves had been shredded after the longest 48 hours of their lives, and in the sweaty, boozy crush of a Westminster garden party on Thursday night, the recriminations among the governing class were flowing as freely as the Pol Roger champagne, writes Gordon Rayner.

The Prime Minister had resigned earlier that afternoon, but not before he had sacked Michael Gove, followed by a Number 10 character assassination of the latter as a "snake" and a "rat".

It was all too much for Mr Gove’s ever-loyal adviser Josh Grimstone, who confronted Boris Johnson’s communications director Guto Harri and didn’t hold back. "You’re a f------ disgrace!" Grimstone repeatedly barked, telling Harri his behaviour was "appalling".

The bust-up at The Spectator magazine’s summer party may have seemed petty, but it was a taster for the sort of in-fighting that is likely to make the forthcoming leadership contest the ugliest on record.

Gordon Rayner, our Associate Editor, has this vital long read

08:45 AM

Here's that Rishi campaign launch video...

08:42 AM

Good morning

Conservative leadership candidate and former chancellor Rishi Sunak is the "free marketeer" Britain needs, his backers have said as he storms ahead in the number of MPs backing him.

The Tory leadership race has stepped up a gear in recent hours, with Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch using newspaper articles to set out their stall.

I will guide you through all of today's developments.