Next Prime Minister race LIVE: Penny Mordaunt becomes first to officially declare she is running to be next PM after amassing 17 backers while Rishi Sunak leads with 60 and Boris Johnson has 36... after Liz Truss quit as leader
- MPs in fresh fight for Number 10 after Liz Truss's shambolic 44 days in power
- Leadership hopefuls have until Monday to get the backing of 100 other MPs
- Mordaunt and Sunak are set to clash with Johnson who is seeking a shock return
- The new leader WILL be in place next Friday the Conservative Party has insisted
- But if only one MP makes the 100-vote threshold, they'll be crowned the new PM
- Exclusive: Awake all night and sending texts to friends at 4am: How Liz Truss's last day in No. 10 unfolded as her fate was sealed
- Jog on, Liz: Smiling Truss enjoys early morning run as backlash grows over her £115k-a-year 'golden goodbye'
- Exclusive: Boris Johnson feels he has 'unfinished business' as Prime Minister his father Stanley reveals
- Read more MailOnline coverage of the new race to be Prime Minister, here
PUBLISHED: 18:15 AEDT, 21 October 2022 | UPDATED: 01:41 AEDT, 22 October 2022
Welcome to the MailOnline's live blog following all the twists and turns in the race for the next Prime Minister.
- Jessica WarrenHost commentator
- Tom CotterillHost commentator
Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, is officially the first to declare she is running in the Tory leadership campaign.
The Portsmouth North MP finished third in her last attempt, pipped to the post by Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.
Taking to Twitter, Ms Mordaunt said she had been 'encouraged' by the backing of her colleagues, and said: 'I’m running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister - to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next (general election).'
I’ve been encouraged by support from colleagues who want a fresh start, a united party and leadership in the national interest.— Penny Mordaunt (@PennyMordaunt) October 21, 2022
I’m running to be the leader of the Conservative Party and your Prime Minister - to unite our country, deliver our pledges and win the next GE.#PM4PM pic.twitter.com/MM0NTHJ5lH
Allies of the International Trade Secretary, Kemi Badenoch, have said she is ‘very unlikely’ to run for leadership.
Tory colleagues told the Telegraph that Ms Badenoch would ‘struggle to get the numbers’ to fend off rivals Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt.
'This isn’t her moment,’ one source said. ‘She is young enough. It’s not her time.’
Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak are the preferred Tory leadership candidates among voters with both beating Boris Johnson, head-to-head polling published by Opinium has suggested.
Voters were asked by the polling firm who which candidate the Conservatives should back between the three frontrunners.
Sunak topped the polls beating both Mordaunt and Johnson, while Mordaunt proved more popular with voters than Johnson.
Robbie Moore, MP for Keighley and Ilkley, said he would be backing Penny Mordaunt because she could 'pull all parts of the party together'.
He said that her range of experience in ministerial positions over a 12-year-period would make her the right person for the job.
'I think she is absolutely that unifying candidate,' he told Sky News. 'We need somebody who is calm, decisive, collected in their decision making and able to pull together a cabinet from all parts of the party.'
Tory MP Nigel Mills said it was a 'mistake' for him not to back Rishi Sunak during the summer's leadership contest.
He said the former chancellor would be his choice to replace the outgoing prime minister.
Mr Mills tweeted: 'A few weeks ago I changed my mind and didn't back @RishiSunak.
'I'm not making the same mistake again, he is clearly the Prime Minister we need to restore stability and tackle the many serious challenges facing the country.'
The suspension of one of Liz Truss's senior aides has ended after an investigation into a hostile briefing against Sajid Javid, Downing Street has said.
Jason Stein had been suspended on Wednesday pending a probe by the Cabinet Office propriety and ethics team into a briefing by a No 10 source who described former cabinet minister Mr Javid as 's**t'.
A No 10 press secretary said: 'The investigation has concluded and the suspension has ended.'
Russia’s security services could have stooges ready to tip the balance of the Tory leadership race if it goes to an online vote, a top cyber expert has warned.
Peter Ryan, a professor of applied security at the University of Luxembourg, said little is known about the Conservative Party membership.
Figures vary for how many members there are, with 180,000-200,000 usually given as estimates.
The party's website has a membership option called 'Conservatives Abroad', which says 'anyone living anywhere in the world is welcome to join Conservatives Abroad from just £25 per year'.
It adds: 'As an overseas member, you are entitled to all the benefits of party membership, including participation in the Conservative Policy Forum, attendance at party conferences and a vote in the election of the party leader.'
While many overseas Tory voters may be legitimate UK citizens living overseas, others could be KGB stooges, Prof Ryan said.
'They are not prepared to say anything about their membership,' he said.
'It seems to be easy to register as a non-UK voter.
'We don't know that much about the electorate that are putting in place the leader of a G7 country. There could be a lot of people overseas that are not even UK citizens.
'For all we know, the [FSB] could have signed up a significant number of stooges.
'The margin last time was low - it would not take much to swing it.'
Online voting is 'always vulnerable' to hacking, 'especially by state attackers', Prof Ryan added.
The Lib Dems are calling for Liz Truss to not be allowed a resignation honours list.
Wendy Chamberlain, the party's Chief Whip, has written to the chair of the parliamentary political service committee and the chair of the House of Lord's appointments commission, Sky News reported.
'As you know, it is traditional upon a prime minister's departure from office for them to issue a 'resignation honours' list. This list signifies individuals who are to be rewarded with an honour from the King which, in turn, would be considered by your committee,' she wrote.
'However, because of the unprecedented circumstances surrounding Liz Truss's tenure and resignation, I am writing to urge you and the committee to reject any resignation honours list put forward by her.'
Cabinet minister Simon Clarke has declare he wants Boris Johnson to replace Liz Truss in No 10.
Together with Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, the Levelling Up Secretary told the Telegraph: 'Boris is the person we need to lead our country and our party.'
Sharing the article on Twitter, he added: 'Teesside has had difficult times and is now levelling up because of @BorisJohnson.
'Tees Valley Mayor @BenHouchen and I know that for us, like Boris, the comeback will be greater than the setback.'
Senior Tory MPs have warned Boris Johnson returning to No 10 would see them quit the party in a threat to the Conservative majority in the Commons.
Veteran backbenchers Sir Roger Gale and John Baron have suggested they would resign the Tory whip if the former Prime Minister were to make a shock comeback.
Mr Johnson is believed to be flying back early from a family holiday in the Dominican Republic in the wake of the latest Westminster drama.
He is said to be 'taking soundings' on whether to stand again for the Tory leadership after the humiliating resignation of Liz Truss.
But the news has prompted fears about a wave of resignations - which could lead to a general election.
Read the full story by clicking on the headline.
The new PM will have to stick with Jeremy Hunt's plan to get the public finances back on track, a former deputy governor of the Bank of England has warned.
Professor Sir Charlie Bean said it would create a 'lot of volatility' in the financial markets if an incoming premier decided to replace the Chancellor.
'Whoever comes in pretty much has to accept whatever Jeremy Hunt has planned for the fiscal statement. What you couldn't really have is a comprehensive re-opening of the issues,' he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One.
'It would be even worse if the new Prime Minister decided they wanted to replace Jeremy Hunt with another chancellor. That really would create a lot of volatility in the financial markets.
'There has really to be an acceptance on the part of whoever takes over as Prime Minister that they will defer to Jeremy Hunt.'
Conservative MP George Eustice is the latest Tory MP to declare their support for Rishi Sunak.
The former environment secretary said: 'I'm going to be backing Rishi Sunak in this contest. I think in the leadership campaign over the summer, he won in all of the exchanges that took place in hustings.
'As far as I can see, he had the biggest base of support within the parliamentary party, and we really need someone now who can unite the party, pull it together, but crucially, who's got the judgment to be a good prime minister to get those key decisions right, so that we can deal with some of the great challenges that the world faces.'
Boris Johnson feels he has 'unfinished business' as Prime Minister and 'this could be his moment' to return to Number 10, his father Stanley has told MailOnline.
Though Mr Johnson Snr says he doesn't yet know if Boris will stand, he gave his tacit backing by declaring: 'He has proved an election winner in the past and there may be some MPs who are looking ahead feeling that he may be the man for them anyway.'
At the same time, he urged his son – currently struggling to return to the UK from a Caribbean holiday – to ditch the 'mistakes' on the environment which he said had been made during Liz Truss's brief premiership and 'reclaim the centre ground'.
Read the full story by clicking the headline, above.
The new Prime Minister will have to decide whether to go ahead with the planned Halloween statement setting out how the Government intends to get the public finances back on track, Downing Street has said.
Work is continuing in Whitehall, led by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, in preparation for the medium-term fiscal plan to be announced on October 31 along with an updated set of economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
However, a No 10 spokeswoman said it would be up to Liz Truss's successor to decide whether to proceed with that approach and with the same timetable.
'Major fiscal decisions will be for the next prime minister,' the spokeswoman said. 'Work is ongoing in preparation for the medium-term fiscal plan. That is obviously led by the Chancellor working with the PM in the usual way.
'We are working in preparation for the 31st but obviously the decision on proceeding with that and with that timetable would be for the new prime minister.'
About 43 per cent of people would trust a Labour Government led by Sir Keir Starmer with the economy, according to a prominent pollster.
Figures from People Polling show that just five per cent would back the Tories, following a shambolic few weeks under PM Liz Truss, with just five per cent of people feeling confident in the Conservatives to balance the nation's books.
'The Truss experiment poured gasoline over the party's image of economic competence & dropped the match,' tweeted pollster Matt Goodwin.
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak so far has more MPs supporting him than either of the other two main front runners, a political analyst has claimed.
Patrick Flynn said that at least 57 MPs have come out in support of Mr Sunak, with a large surge backing him this morning.
But Boris Johnson, who was kicked out as PM two months ago, is close behind Mr Sunak, with 41 MPs backing him.
Leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, meanwhile, has 18 supporters.
None of the three favourites have officially declared they are going to run to be the next leader of the Tory party.
Tory Foreign Office minister Jesse Norman has lashed out over claims Conservative MPs were seeking to re-install Boris Johnson as leader, warning it would be an 'absolutely catastrophic decision'.
Here's what he tweeted:
After ruling himself out of the running for the Tory leadership race, Ben Wallace has admitted that out of all the potential candidates he was 'leaning towards' Boris Johnson for the top job.
He told broadcasters: 'This will be our potentially third prime minister since the general election of 2019, that means we have to think about that legitimacy question that the public will be asking themselves and also about who could win the next election.
'That is obviously important for any political party at the time so at the moment I would lean towards Boris Johnson.'
Mr Wallace is the second cabinet minister to support Mr Johnson, following on from Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning.
No candidates have officially put their names forward. However, the three favourites are Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson.
Leo Docherty has become the latest serving minister to back Boris Johnson as the leader of the Conservatives.
In a tweet released this afternoon, the Minister for Europe said Mr Johnson was 'the only person' who could 'unite our country'.
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