Thursday, November 30

Penny Mordaunt joins Conservative leadership race – UK politics live | Politics

Penny Mordaunt joins Tory leadership bid

Trade minister Penny Mordaunt has just announced her candidacy in the race to replace Boris Johnson.

Announcing the move on Twitter, Mordaunt said: “Our leadership has to change. It needs to become a little less about the leader and a lot more about the ship.”

Key events:

Leadership candidates rule out Scottish referendum for at least 10 years

Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid have said there should not be another vote on Scottish independence for at least another decade.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon said another vote would be held in October next year. Scotland’s lord advocate has referred a Bill to the Supreme Court in a bid to ensure Sturgeon has the legal powers to stage a referendum without the UK government’s authority.

When asked on the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme if he would allow another referendum, Hunt said: “Not in the next 10 years.”

Javid, responding to the same question in a later interview, said: “The last one was for a generation and the generation hasn’t changed, so no.

“Not forever, but not at least for a decade.”

Meanwhile, fellow leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat said that while the union was a voluntary one without rules stopping one country from leaving, “you can’t keep asking the same question hoping for a different answer.”

Sky News is reporting that Liz Truss is expected to announce her leadership bid within the next 24 hours, which would make her the tenth candidate to throw their hat in the ring.

The foreign secretary has already got the backing of work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey and has been burnishing her public profile in recent months.

Proud to be backing my friend @trussliz to be our next Prime Minister.

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.

— Thérèse Coffey #PutinMustFail #SlavaUkraini (@theresecoffey) July 10, 2022

But despite her popularity among party members, candidates including Jeremy Hunt and Penny Mordaunt have recently edged ahead in some bookies’ estimations.

Liz Truss outside Downing Street on Tuesday. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

In case you missed it overnight, Boris Johnson is facing new allegations he lobbied to get a job for a woman who claimed to be having a sexual relationship with him while he was London mayor.

It’s alleged he lobbied for the woman to have a City Hall job, the Sunday Times revealed, but the appointment was blocked because Kit Malthouse – now one of Johnson’s cabinet ministers – suggested the pair had an inappropriately close relationship.

Johnson is said to have admitted pushing her forward for a job when the woman, who remains anonymous, confronted him in 2017 when he was foreign secretary.

You can read the full details of the claims from the Observer’s policy editor Michael Savage here:

Incidental to this week’s explosive news, the immediate outrage around a newly appointed education minister’s ‘gesture’ outside Downing Street has just about died down.

But unfortunately for Andrea Jenkyns, who yesterday said she was provoked by a “baying mob”, it’s still topical enough for other serving ministers to be asked about it.

Speaking to Times Radio about the incident earlier, Grant Shapps said: “I’d like to see a high standard of propriety with everyone. I wouldn’t endorse that.”

While you might believe the writing has been on the wall for Boris Johnson for some time, it’s worth considering that not everyone was prepared for his departure.

According to one voter in the Tory heartland of Spalding, who spoke to my colleague James Tapper, the PM was “stabbed in the back” by his colleagues.

“All politicians are liars, but Boris is the one that’s been caught out. Look at Keir Starmer – he should be punished same as Boris,” added Steve Mason.

Meanwhile, Rosemary Burton said he had done a “fantastic job” with vaccinations. “I can’t see who would take over from him who would do better,” she added.

You can read the full feature from from James’ trip to Lincolnshire here:

Here’s a bit more from Sajid Javid’s interview with Sophie Raworth earlier. The former health secretary insisted he trusted what he was being told when he spoke on behalf of the government during media interviews.

“It turns out some of the things I was told – and I said this quite clearly in parliament when I made my statement – didn’t turn out to be true,” he said,

Sajid Javid pictured outside No 10 on Tuesday, the day he handed in his resignation
Sajid Javid outside No 10 on Tuesday, the day he handed in his resignation Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

“Now, I don’t know why someone would have said something to me that wasn’t true. That’s a question for them. But I trusted what I was told.”

Like fellow candidate Jeremy Hunt, Javid has announced his intention to cut corporation tax should he prove successful in the race.

He said his tax-cutting plans would cost around £39bn a year but would not include slashing fuel duty further in the short term.

Explaining that he does not believe in “unfunded tax cuts”, Javid said he would set out “a scorecard which will show exactly how all of that we funded in a sustainable way” over the next few days.

Bringing you a bit of Sunday morning joy in these politically uncertain times now.

Financial Times senior reporter Chris Cook has just drawn parallels between Penny Mordaunt’s leadership bid campaign video and a skit from the 90s satire show The Day Today.

You’ll forgive me for initially thinking the soundtracks were exactly the same.

Just a reminder of who the current Conservative leadership candidates are – we’re on nine now!

They are as follows:

  • Rishi Sunak
  • Sajid Javid
  • Jeremy Hunt
  • Nadhim Zahawi
  • Penny Mordaunt
  • Grant Shapps
  • Suella Braverman
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Tom Tugendhat

Jeremy Hunt says Esther McVey would be his deputy PM

With the barely concealed intention to win over red wall voters, Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has said he would make Esther McVey his deputy prime minister if he succeeds.

Speaking on BBC’s Sunday Morning, he likened the Tatton MP to John Prescott as Tony Blair’s deputy.

“I also recognise that the leader of a political party has to win elections, and that means a broad appeal, so just as Tony Blair had John Prescott to broaden his appeal as his deputy prime minister, I will have Esther McVey as my deputy prime minister,” he said.

“She has won a lot of elections against Labour in the north, I have won them against Lib Dems in the south and I think we will be a formidable campaigning team.”

McVey pictured at the 2021 Conservative party conference
Esther McVey pictured at the 2021 Conservative party conference. Photograph: Michael Mayhew/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said Boris Johnson’s admission he met with ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev at the height of the Salisbury crisis suggests a “serious security breach” took place.

Cooper told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday there were serious questions to be answered about why Johnson, then foreign secretary, allegedly went “with a guest who has never been disclosed” soon after attending a Nato summit about Russia.

She pointed to the scandal as part of a wider pattern of alleged problematic behaviour from the prime minister.

“I think the problem is that you have somebody who’s still in Downing Street who no one thinks has any duties, any sense of duty to the country, who’s been responsible for lies, for law-breaking and also today’s allegations around abuse of power towards a young woman while he was mayor of London.

Billionaire Russian tycoon and ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev pictured in 2011
Billionaire Russian tycoon and ex-KGB agent Alexander Lebedev pictured in 2011. Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS

“The point you raised in your introduction, the serious security breach that appears to have happened while he was foreign secretary, meeting with an ex-KGB agent straight after going to a Nato summit to discuss Russia at the height of the Salisbury crisis and going without officials, going without any security, apparently going with a guest who has never been disclosed.

“Nobody feels confident that Boris Johnson is going to do what is right for the country. That’s why he should be gone now and all of the Conservative candidates who you have been interviewing, they should all be supporting him leaving now before he does any more damage.”

You can read more about Labour’s calls for an investigation into the meeting here:

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