Penny Mordaunt: Who is she? When did she become MP? Everything you need to know about the Tory Portsmouth North MP

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt. Picture: Victoria Jones / PA Wire
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt. Picture: Victoria Jones / PA Wire
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Penny Mordaunt is a senior Cabinet member of Theresa May’s Conservative government, and has been the MP for Portsmouth North for more than eight years.

Ms Mordaunt had been named as one of the favourites to take over the Tory leadership if Prime Minister Theresa May lost her confidence vote on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon Ms Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, was on 12-1 with William Hill or 25-1 with Ladbrokes.

Here are some key facts about Ms Mordaunt:

:: Her very first job was as a magician's assistant for the president of the Magic Circle.

:: The 44-year-old defeated a sitting Labour MP to take Portsmouth North in 2010, winning 44 per cent of the vote having only previously contested the seat once in 2005.

:: An ardent Brexit supporter, she supported Andrea Leadsom's bid for the Conservative leadership last year, and marched on parliament together with other MPs to show her support.

:: Ms Mordaunt is Royal Navy Reservist, based at HMS King Alfred on Whale Island.

:: In 2014 she appeared on ITV's Splash! raising cash for the Hilsea Lido among other organisations.

:: Ms Mordaunt was previously armed forces minister under then prime minister David Cameron in 2015.

:: Under prime minister Theresa May's government she was appointed as minister of state at the Department for Work and Pensions.

:: She drew criticism - and praise - for her 'smutty' House of Commons speech - during the course of a speech on poultry welfare.

:: Once director of communications at Kensington and Chelsea Council, she caused a stir in the Commons when later as an MP she recalled how a hospital ward in the London borough had been used to film pornography.

:: Ms Mordaunt attended Oaklands RC Comprehensive School and studied philosophy at Reading University.

:: She has worked for the Republican Party in America in 2000, was head of broadcasting for the Conservative Party and had a director position at Diabetes UK.