Portsmouth MPs react as Tory leadership contest enters final stage
WITH the Tory leadership race down to the final two candidates we have been looking to see where the region’s political support lies.
On a day which saw home secretary, Sajid Javid, and environment secretary, Michael Gove, eliminated from the race, Conservative Party members now face a straight choice between Boris Johnson and foriegn secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
Penny Mordaunt, secretary of state for defence and Portsmouth North MP, has already declared her public backing for Jeremy Hunt.
Speaking at the launch of Mr Hunt’s campaign, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘The next leader of the Conservative Party has one hell of a shift - they have to deliver Brexit, swiftly and well, and restore faith in cabinet, Parliament and government. I believe Jeremy Hunt has the experience, the values, and a plan to deliver this.’
Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, was reluctant to reveal where her alliegiances lay but belives both are strong candidates.
Mrs Dinenage commented: ‘The choice is now up to the Conservative Party – they have two great candidates who would both make a strong prime minister.’
However, Fareham MP, Suella Braverman, believes Boris Johnson is the best candidate to ‘deliver Brexit and beat Jeremy Corbyn at the next election’.
Mrs Braverman said: ‘We now enter the final stage of the contest when Boris will be meeting Conservative Party members all over the country, including those from Fareham. I am looking forward to supporting him to be our next prime minister.’
Suella also feels that Mr Johnson is the best candidate to reflect the views of her constituency.
‘Given the majority of voters in Fareham voted to leave the EU, I believe that Boris is best placed to represent them as prime minister,’ she added.
With the final two candidates selected it will not be MPs who select the next prime minister but the 160,000 Conservative Party members across the country.
One of those, Portsmouth conservative councillor, Scott Payter-Harris, believes the party will overwhelmingly back Mr Johnson.
Mr Payter-Harris said: ‘I think with Jeremy Hunt progressing to the final stage alongside Boris Johnson the contest is effectively over. I believe the membership will resoundingly support Boris Johnson over Jeremy Hunt and give an emphatic statement when he becomes prime minister.’