Priti Patel rules herself out of Tory leadership race

12 July 2022, 13:56 | Updated: 12 July 2022, 14:05

Patel said: "I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs"
Patel said: "I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs". Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Home Secretary Priti Patel has ruled herself out of the Conservative party leadership race.

In a statement, she said: "I am grateful for the encouragement and support colleagues and Party members have offered me in recent days in suggesting that I enter the contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs.

"As Home Secretary I have always put the security and safety of our country and the national interest first and my focus is to continue working to get more police on our streets, support our amazing security services to keep our country safe and control our borders.

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"As a lifelong and committed Conservative, I will always make the case for freedom, enterprise and opportunity and work with colleagues to deliver these values in Government.

"Like all Conservative MPs and Party members, I will be listening to cases being put forward by the candidates standing for the leadership of the Party and trust the contest will be conducted in a good spirit that brings our Party together."

Her statement comes hours after Rishi Sunak set out his stall for leader in a speech today.

Hours before the nominations for Tory leadership contenders closed, Mr Sunak appeared well ahead as rival Liz Truss tried to rally the right with the backing of Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Mr Sunak was backed by Grant Shapps and Dominic Raab.

Dropping out the running Mr Shapps said: "Huge thanks to my team for helping to pull together my leadership bid in literally no time!

"Amongst a field of brilliant candidates I've spoken to @RishiSunak who I believe has the competence and experience to lead this country."

Mr Raab gave his backing to Mr Sunak to be next Tory leader, and therefore prime minister, at Mr Sunak's official campaign launch.

Mr Sunak has said he that he is not prepared to "demonise" caretaker PM Boris Johnson to gain the Tory party leadership.

At his campaign launch in London, the former chancellor said that while Mr Johnson was "flawed" and that he had often disagreed with him, he also had a "good heart".

"I will have no part in a rewriting of history that seeks to demonise Boris, exaggerate his faults or deny his efforts," he said.

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