London politics latest live: Penny Mordaunt enters leadership race as Shapps pledges to ‘improve Britain’

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London politics latest live: Penny Mordaunt enters leadership race as Shapps pledges to ‘improve Britain’

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ishi Sunak has been “labelled the complete package” by a fellow MP while the Tory party awaits the announcement of Liz Truss’ leadership bid.

Speaking to Times Radio, Mark Spencer said Mr Sunak has “got the skills, he’s got the ability, he can communicate well, I think he’s the complete package”.

His praise comes as the Mail on Sunday claimed Ms Truss will launch her own leadership campaign next week.

On Sunday, Penny Mordaunt launched her bid pledging that “our leadership has to change” while Grant Shapps insisted he can “improve Britain” in an interview with Sky News – he announced his own bid on Saturday.

Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid announced their own leadership bids on Saturday, with both pledging to slash corporation tax.

Earlier, recently appointed Chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi, also threw his hat into the ring, joining Rishi Sunak, Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch, and Tom Tugendhat.

Live updates

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Chancellor hits out at smears in Tory leadership race

Tory leadership candidate Nadhim Zahawi has hit out at “smears” over his tax affairs, saying he does not benefit from an offshore trust and has never held non-domicile status.

The newly appointed Chancellor denounced “inaccurate” and “unfair” reports in the media, adding that he has answered the allegations in the interest of transparency.

He pledged to publish his tax return annually if he is made prime minister.

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Rees-Mogg refuses to endorse a candidate in the race

Boris Johnson loyalist Jacob Rees-Mogg refused to say which candidate he would back in the race to replace the Prime Minister.

Questioned about his views by Andrew Neil on his Channel 4 show, he would only say he would not be supporting Rishi Sunak, Jeremy Hunt or Tom Tugendhat.

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Rishi Sunak gets another supporter from Tory ranks

Rishi Sunak’s lead amongst conservative MPs was extended as another member of the parliamentary party announced they were backing him.

The Spectator’s Diary Editor, James Heale, who is keeping a running total of MPs backing the various contendors, said Anthony Browne has become the 32nd MP to annouce he was supporting him.

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Paralympian asks to be removed from Penny Mordaunt’s video

Paralympian Jonnie Peacock has asked to be removed from the campaign video of Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt.

A clip of the sportsman appears in Ms Mordaunt’s 3-minute long video released on Sunday.

But shortly after, Mr Peacock took to Twitter to ask to be removed.

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Labour: Lia Nici should be ‘ashamed’ for dredging up ‘smears’ against Angela Reyner

The deputy labour leader has said Tory MP Lia Nici should be “ashamed of herself” after dredging claims that Angela Rayner “thought it would be amusing to open her legs in the chamber”.

Ms Nici clashed with Labour’s Naz Shah in a fiery debate on BBC’s Politics North programme.

Watch here:

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Esther McVey: Jeremy Hunt and I not ‘soulmates’

Esther McVey said she and Jeremy Hunt are not “soulmates” and she is “braced for the inevitable abuse from people saying that I have sold out my principles”.

Mr Hunt, a Tory leadership candidate, has vowed to appoint Ms McVey as deputy prime minister if we wins the contest.

She wrote in the Express on Sunday: “To think that one person on their own can equally appeal to that very broad cross-section of voters is unrealistic. Jeremy – better than anyone – can appeal to blue wall voters, and it is very kind of Jeremy to believe that I – as the co-founder of the Blue Collar Conservatives – can appeal better to those red wall voters – many of whom voted for us for the first time at the last election.”

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Tory candidates questioned on trans debate

People are far more interested in “bread and butter issues” like the cost of living than a debate about trans rights, Grant Shapps has said.

The Conservative leadership candidate said the UK does not “need to get caught up” in a culture war on the issue.

Fellow leadership hopeful Tom Tugendhat called for a “clean start” in the trans rights debate, while stressing the importance of women-only spaces and “dignity” for all.

Penny Mordaunt, meanwhile, published a Twitter thread stressing she has been alongside women “in every major battle”, in response to criticism she is a “woke” candidate.

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Boris Johnson’s meet with ex-KGB agent ‘security breach’

Boris Johnson’s revelation that he met with ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev at the height of the Salisbury poisoning scandal suggests a “serious security breach” took place, Labour has said.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper branded the private encounter between the then foreign secretary and Mr Lebedev “unthinkable” given its timing in the aftermath of a chemical attack on UK soil.

During an appearance before the Liaison Committee on Wednesday, Mr Johnson admitted for the first time he had met the Russian oligarch without officials present in April 2018.

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Jeremy Hunt: I would continue with Northern Ireland protocol legislation

The Tory leadership candidate said the Government’s legal advice on the Bill to allow ministers to overwrite parts of the post-Brexit treaty is that it “doesn’t break the law”.

He told LBC: “The Northern Ireland Protocol has to change and that’s why I supported this Bill.

“I hope that with somebody who wasn’t Boris Johnson in No 10 the mood music of our relations with the EU would change and we could legally negotiate some proper changes to the protocol.

“I think we have to be very clear with the EU that no British prime minister could allow a situation where we don’t have an internal market, where businesses from England can export freely to businesses in Northern Ireland.”

On HS2, he said he would “keep that going”.

Jeremy Hunt said he would not scrap HS2 and would continue with controversial legislation on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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Therese Coffey backs Liz Truss

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, has publicly backed Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to be the UK’s next Prime Minister.

Although Ms Truss has not yet announced her leadership campaign, Ms Coffey said her fellow Cabinet minister has the ability “to unite the Red and Blue Wall”.

“We need a leader who can unite the Red and Blue Wall, has a clear vision for the country and economy, and has the skills and experience to get the tough decisions right,” she added.