Penny Mordaunt's work ethic jibe at Anne-Marie Trevelyan after Call the Cabinet

21 July 2022, 10:53 | Updated: 21 July 2022, 11:13

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Penny Mordaunt, who was knocked out of the Tory leadership race on Wednesday, said she was "sort of amazed" to find herself at the despatch box "given my reported work ethic".

Her comments come following criticism from International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who told Call the Cabinet with Nick Ferrari: "There have been a number of times when she hasn't been available, which would have been useful, and other ministers have picked up the pieces."

Read more: Mordaunt 'left other ministers to pick up the pieces as she planned leadership bid'

Ms Mordaunt, an international trade minister, was responding in the Commons to a question from Conservative former minister Dame Andrea Leadsom, who said: "Can I pay tribute to my right honourable friend for a fantastic and brave and clean campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party and to be Prime Minister."

She asked: "Does she agree with me that being a force for good in the world for free trade is an absolutely honourable goal and one that the UK should be promoting every chance we get?"

Ms Mordaunt responded: "Yes I am sort of amazed to find myself here this morning given my reported work ethic. But I am here.

"And she is absolutely right. Us, a G7 nation, leaving the regulatory orbit of the EU is an international event. And it gives us huge opportunity, but also nations like the United States, to really set out our view of the world and capitalism and fight for those things that we believe in."

Anne-Marie Trevelyan was supporting Tom Tugendhat in the race to become Conservative Party leader and the country's next Prime Minister, but he was knocked out before Mordaunt.

Currently, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been left bidding for the support of Tory party members after making the final ballot in the contest to be Prime Minister, with pledges of a return to Thatcherite values.

The pair face a summer of campaigning for the support of party members in a final vote.

The new leader will be announced on September 5 and is expected to become prime minister the following day.