Penny Mordaunt: Who is she, what does she do, and why she has withdrawn from the race to be next UK prime minister?

PENNY Mordaunt has withdrawn from the race to be the next Prime Minister.
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It was announced this afternoon, and the former chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to replace Liz Truss in Number 10, after securing the Tory leadership race.

Liz Truss became prime minister on September 6.

Due to the economic fallout of the mini-budget, and political disagreements, Ms Truss resigned 45 days after taking office.

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Penny Mordaunt, the current commons leader, was among the favourites to be the next prime minister.

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Penny Mordaunt: Portsmouth North MP withdraws her bid to be the next prime minis...

Here is everything you need to know about Penny Mordaunt:

Who is Penny Mordaunt?

Penny Mordaunt is the MP for Portsmouth North.Penny Mordaunt is the MP for Portsmouth North.
Penny Mordaunt is the MP for Portsmouth North.

Penny Mordaunt is a Conservative Party politician who has served as the member of parliament for Portsmouth North since 2010.

Penny was born in Torquay, Devon on March 4, 1973, but she grew up in Portsmouth and was educated at Oaklands Comprehensive School and sixth form in Waterlooville.

She went on to study Philosophy at Reading University before working in communications in the private, public and charitable sectors.

What is her role in the government?

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Her roles in communications then led to her successful career as a Conservative Party politician.

In her first attempt, she lost Portsmouth North back in 2005, before gaining the seat in 2010, 2015, 2017, and 2019.

In 2014, she joined the government as a Minister in Local Government, and the following year, she was made the Minister of Armed Forces.

Penny was the first woman to hold this position and in 2016, she was appointed as Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.

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She was promoted again in 2017 when she entered her first cabinet position as Secretary of State for International Development.

This role led the MP to become the first woman to become Secretary of State for Defence.

Penny returned to government in 2020 and was appointed the role of Her Majesty's Paymaster General and in 2021, she was appointed Minister for International Trade Policy.

She is currently the leader of the house of commons, and lord president of the council.

Ms Mordaunt assumed those roles in September.

Where did Penny Mordaunt come in the first leadership race?

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Mr Johnson faced reiterated calls to resign from the public, politicians, and even MPs in his own party after he confirmed in the prime minister's questions that he had attended a 'bring your own booze' party at Downing Street back in 2020.

Allegedly, at least 30 people were present at the garden party when it was forbidden to meet more than one person outside due to lockdown restrictions.

Following Mr Johnson’s resignation on July 7, Ms Mordaunt announced that she would be running for the role of prime minister.

The Portsmouth North MP was knocked out of the competition on July 20, coming in third place.

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In a statement after her elimination from the contest Ms Mordaunt congratulated Mr Sunak and Ms Truss, saying that politics is a ‘divisive and difficult place’ while calling for unity.

Why has she withdrawn from this race to be Conservative leader and prime minister?

Ms Mordaunt announced her withdrawal this afternoon.

The Portsmouth North MP was pushing to get 100 MPs backing her in the leadership contest but has pulled out right on the deadline.

The decision came moments before – chairman of the 1922 Committee – was due to announce the runners and riders for the leadership contest.

Sir Graham confirmed to MPs in Westminster that he had received one valid entry.

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Rishi Sunak will be the next party leader by default, and likely the next prime minister.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘Despite the compressed timetable for the leadership contest it is clear that colleagues feel we need certainty today. They have taken this decision in good faith for the good of the country.

‘As a result, we have chosen our next prime minister. This decision is an historic one and shows, once again, the diversity and talent of our party. Rishi [Sunak] has my full support.

‘I am proud of the campaign we ran and grateful to all those, across all sides of our party, who gave me their backing.

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‘We all owe it to the country, to each other and to Rishi to unite and work together for the good of the nation. There is much work to be done.’

Mr Sunak was defeated by Liz Truss in the previous leadership contest.

When is the next general election?

General elections are held every five years in the UK under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliament Act (2011).

This act states fixed dates of and periods between elections.

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The next general election in the UK is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 2, 2024.

The last general election took place on Thursday, December 12, 2019, which was earlier than planned due to Theresa May's resignation as prime minister.