More join race to become Tory leader and PM
New Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps have been joined by former health secretaries Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.
Mr Zahawi, Mr Javid and Mr Hunt have promised to lower taxes, a move that may prove popular among the membership fearful that the cost of living is undermining support for the party on the doorstep.
The latest entries into the race followed the surprise announcement by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace – considered the bookies’ favourite – that he does not wish to be considered.
Others who have thrown their hat into the ring include former Chancellor and new favourite Rishi Sunak, Attorney General Suella Braverman, former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to declare her candidacy.
Mr Sunak had reportedly urged Mr Javid – who resigned from the Cabinet with him last Tuesday – to step aside and join his campaign in a pact that would clear the way for him to get the job. Allies of Mr Sunak say he and Mr Javid are competing for the same voters.
It is said that Sir Gavin Williamson, George Eustice and Sir Robert Buckland, will throw their support behind Mr Sunak in the next few days.
According to Westminster sources the party hierarchy want the leadership contest settled quickly and that the list will be scaled back to just four by next week under an accelerated timetable to be announced on Monday.
The Telegraph disclosed that the new leader will be in place by 5 September.
A source told the paper there will be a threshold for the number of supporters each candidate receives. “We want to reduce the field to serious candidates and if you can’t get a reasonable proportion of the party to support you, we don’t want grandstanders,” said the source.