Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt endorses ex-leadership rival Liz Truss to replace Boris Johnson

LIZ Truss has received a boost in her bid to replace Boris Johnson after she received the backing of former leadership rival Penny Mordaunt.

Monday, 1st August 2022, 8:40 pm
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 8:41 pm

Trade minister Ms Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, narrowly lost out to Ms Truss for a place in the final two in the Conservative Party leadership race with Rishi Sunak.

Ms Mordaunt opened the latest hustings in Exeter by giving her support to Foreign Secretary Ms Truss, calling her the ‘hope candidate’.

The Portsmouth North MP said the Conservatives will ‘short-change the country, we may lose an election’ if they get the decision wrong.

Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt speaks during the second Conservative party membership hustings on August 01, 2022 in Exeter, England. Conservative Party Leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will attend the second party membership hustings in Exeter this evening. Picture: Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

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Ms Mordaunt noted choosing between the two candidates is hard, adding: "Who can lead? Who can build that team and deliver for our country? Who does have that bold economic plan that our nation needs?

‘Who has got reach? Who can relate to people? Who understands that people need help with the cost of living now? And who is going to rightly clobber our opponents?

‘At the start of this final phase of this contest, I didn't know the answer to those questions but I've seen enough to know who the person I'm going to put my faith in is - and that is Liz Truss.’

Tory members cheered the announcement, with Ms Mordaunt adding: ‘Her graft, her authenticity, her determination, her ambition for this country, her consistency and sense of duty - she knows what she believes in, and her resolve to stand up against tyranny and fight for freedom.

‘That's what our country stands for and that's why I know with her we can win.

‘And actually seeing her over the last few weeks has made me want to help her, to help her win, to help build the team we need to win the country, and to give ourselves as a party and as a nation the pride and confidence we need to reach our full potential.

‘In short folks, to give us all hope. She for me is the hope candidate.’

The unity between the two Conservative MPs was in stark contrast to earlier exchanges in the leadership campaign, which saw allies of Ms Truss deny involvement in a ‘black ops’ campaign against Ms Mordaunt.