Penny Mordaunt backs Liz Truss in contest to be next Tory leader | Penny Mordaunt

Penny Mordaunt has backed Liz Truss to become prime minister, saying the Conservatives “may lose an election” if they made the wrong decision in the contest.

Mordaunt, who was beaten by Truss to be Rishi Sunak’s challenger in the final stage of the Conservative leadership race, said Truss was “the hope candidate”. “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,” the Portsmouth North MP said.

The endorsement will come as a major blow to Sunak after a bitter campaign where supporters of Mordaunt blamed Truss for a damaging “blue-on-blue dogfight” that saw Mordaunt fall at the last round of MPs’ voting.

The foreign secretary has announced a string of other high profile endorsements over the past few days – including the leadership candidates Nadhim Zahawi and Tom Tugendhat.

Introducing Truss at the latest leadership hustings in Exeter, Mordaunt said: “I could have remained undeclared, I could be off sipping piña coladas right now, but I’m not because this is too important and I’m not going to leave this to chance.

“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?

“Who is going to hold seats and win back councils and who most embodies the vision and values ​​the British public had in their heads and their hearts when they voted in 2016 and 2019?

“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 – and that is Liz Truss. “

Truss, in her opening speech, said of Mordaunt: “She’s a great person, she’s a great politician, she’s a great patriot and I’m proud to call her my friend.”

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