Mordaunt’s support ‘well above published number’ as Rishi eyes No.10

Penny Mordaunt’s numbers ‘well above published figure’ says Green

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Following the resignation of Liz Truss after less than two months as Prime Minister, the Conservative party is in the grips of another leadership contest as MPs seek her successor. First to officially declare her campaign to become the next Tory party leader, Penny Mordaunt, currently holds 25 publicly declared votes of support from her colleagues, far below the 100 required to progress in the competition. However, one of her most vocal supporters, Damian Green, has claimed the real number of backers is “well above” the reported figure, hinting that the current Leader of the Commons will achieve the threshold needed to move forward into the next stage of the contest. 

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Green reported: “We are confident that Penny will get above the one hundred mark.

He continued: “There are a lot of people who were not declaring publicly what they were doing. Indeed, Penny’s numbers are well above the published figure already, even without any of Boris’ supporters.”

Asked to reveal an updated figure, Mr Green declined, adding: “For obvious reasons, I am not going to discuss numbers now, but it certainly is way, way above the published number.

“As I say, we are confident in getting to one hundred before the deadline of 2 o’clock.”

Penny Mordaunt was the first Conservative MP to formally declare her bid to succeed Liz Truss, having formerly run against the outgoing Prime Minister in the summer leadership contest.

Writing for the Daily Express, Ms Mordaunt outlined: “Our most urgent priority must be to unite the party and refocus on delivering our 2019 manifesto to improve the United Kingdom’s economic growth, prosperity and security.

“I know I can bring us together and that is why I am asking for your support to lead the party and be your next Prime Minister.”

During his interview, Damian Green declared: “Penny is the person best positioned to unify the party – she has got support from all wings of the party already.”

Read more: ‘Impossible to avoid general election’ after Boris bows out of race

Rishi Sunak became the first MP to officially cross the 100-vote threshold needed to progress in the competition.

The former Chancellor is experienced in campaigning for party leadership having fought down to the final two candidates in the summer leadership contest, eventually losing the membership vote to Liz Truss.

Outlining his renewed leadership plan, Sunak wrote: “I have a track record of delivery, a clear plan to fix the biggest problems we face and I will deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto.”

Rishi Sunak has already received the support of over 150 Conservative MPs, nearing half of the total party and with many having declared their support before he even confirmed his leadership bid.

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In a startling turn of events, Boris Johnson confirmed on Sunday that he did not plan to stand in the leadership contest, despite having secured the public backing of dozens of his colleagues.

The former Prime Minister’s statement read: “I am afraid the best thing is that I do not allow my nomination to go forward and commit my support to whoever succeeds. I believe I have much to offer but I am afraid that this is simply not the right time.”

Johnson claimed he had already “cleared the very high hurdle of 102 nominations,” which would have allowed him to progress onto the ballot for a membership vote.

Supporters of Johnson are now expected to choose to align themselves with one of the two remaining candidates, either Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt, ahead of the 2pm deadline on Monday afternoon. 

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