Tory leadership race is 'dirtiest ever' claims David Davis

19 July 2022, 20:09

David Davis speaks to Andrew Marr
David Davis speaks to Andrew Marr. Picture: LBC

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Former cabinet minister David Davis has described the Conservative party leadership race as "the dirtiest campaign I've ever seen".

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The Tory MP told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr he had "seen every one since John Major", further insisting: "It's been the grubbiest campaign I've ever seen."

He said he had written to the cabinet secretary amid concerns over the "use of government resources in some respects", and added there was also "an inquiry into (International Trade Secretary) Anne-Marie Trevelyan's use of resources so there are a few inquiries under way".

READ MORE: Kemi Badenoch eliminated from the Tory leadership race leaving Sunak, Mordaunt and Truss

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"The truth is we are selecting the next prime minister of the United Kingdom, that ought to be done on rationality and democracy, not dirty tricks," he said.

Tory MPs are said to be concerned about how the contest is reflecting on the party, with the rivalries between candidates leading Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to pull out of a Sky News debate yesterday.

The broadcaster said in a statement there were concerns about "the damage the debates are doing to the image of the Conservative party, exposing disagreements and splits within the party".

Kemi Badenoch was latest to be eliminated today, leaving Mr Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Ms Truss.

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Ms Badenoch took 59 votes. Mr Sunak leads with 118, Ms Mordaunt has 92 and Ms Truss 86.

The final two candidates will be revealed tomorrow, leaving the 160,000 Tory party members to pick a winner.

Ms Badenoch's votes will now be crucial in deciding which candidates make the final two.

Mr Davis, who is backing Ms Mordaunt in the contest, insisted it was still "a real even-handed fight".

Tory MP undecided between Truss and Sunak

Amid reports that Mr Sunak's team have been reallocating votes to Ms Truss because he is keen to face her in the final two, Mr Davis said: "He wants to fight Liz because she is the person who will lose the debate to him."

He added the former chancellor believed he would be more capable of picking apart the Foreign Secretary's economic policy.

Mr Davis criticised Ms Truss as an "ex-Lib Dem" who "voted remain in the referendum... and now because it's suitable to future prospects within the party has become a Brexiteer".

He added: "I know which one I trust, the one who fought the case, right through, including in Cabinet, including when it was to her own disadvantage... it's obvious to me that Penny is the better call."