A SUSSEX MP has defied calls to back Secretary of State Liz Truss as the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister after the candidate he supported was eliminated from the competition.
Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, had backed Suella Braverman to replace Boris Johnson
However, she dropped out of the race yesterday in the second round of the leadership contest after being supported by the fewest MPs.
Ms Braverman was quick to announce she would support Liz Truss, saying the Foreign Secretary would “unlock the possibilities of Brexit”.
She said: “I am confident that she will defend freedom of expression, champion equal opportunities and take a firm stance against illegal immigration. That is what the British people expect.”
However, Mr Smith has confirmed to The Argus that he will instead support bookmakers’ favorite Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt as the next Prime Minister.
Mrs Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, came second yesterday with 83 votes. She placed behind former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who was supported by 101 MPs, and ahead of Liz Truss with 64.
Supporters of Ms Truss have been accused of a “black ops” campaign against Ms Mordaunt as they both fight to secure a spot in the top two – who are then voted by Conservative Party members to choose a new leader.
Truss supporter and Transport Secretary Wendy Morton denied claims of unsolicited campaigning after former Cabinet Secretary David Davis criticized the attacks on Ms Mordaunt.
Speaking on Times Radio, Ms Morton said: “What I’m involved with is a campaign to elect Liz Truss as the next leader of the Conservative Party because I happen to think she’s the right candidate.
“I worked with her at the Foreign Office and saw firsthand how hardworking she is, how committed she is and how she just gets on with the work and delivers.”
Mr Smith is now the third Sussex MP to back Penny Mordaunt, with Mid Sussex MP and former Labor Secretary Mims Davies and Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell also backing them.
The new Conservative Party leader and prime minister will be announced on September 5th.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20281580.crawley-mp-backs-mordaunt-pm-braverman-eliminated/?ref=rss Crawley MP supports Mordaunt for PM after Braverman is eliminated