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Tory MP backs Penny Mordaunt for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV show
14 July 2022, 12:28 | Updated: 14 July 2022, 12:42
Tory MP Bob Stewart has backed Penny Mordaunt in the leadership election, citing her "raw courage" in belly-flopping twice on the ITV show Splash which resulted in her legs turning "black all the way up".
Ms Mordaunt, a trade minister and MP for Portsmouth North, came second behind former chancellor Rishi Sunak in the first round of votes on Wednesday evening.
She gained momentum in the race for the Tory leadership after polling strongly with MPs – and is looking to shore up her support by pledging to crack down on "evil and barbaric" trafficking gangs.
Explaining his decision to back Penny, the Conservative MP for Beckenham Bob Stewart told Tom Swarbrick: "I've known Penny a long time. She was elected at the same time as me.
"I've always liked her, so I like her - that's a good start.
"I think she's excellent on her feet in the Commons in debate, and the way she took apart Angela Rayner on a couple of occasions was music to the ears frankly, or to the eyes. She's balanced, she's sensible, and that really does matter.
"She looks at things from a sensible point of view, and not particularly partisan, and I like that.
"I think she's also [got] good leadership qualities. I mean, witness the fact that at the age of 40 she signed up to join the Royal Navy and went through Dartmouth, which is not easy either for someone of that age."
Tom replied: "And nor was jumping off a diving board in a swimsuit some people say."
"Yeah, I mean that's courage!" Mr Stewart said, referring to her appearance on the ITV competition show 'Splash' in 2014.
"Physical courage she's shown, when she did it twice. She did a belly flop first.
"And I remember she showed me the result on her legs which was appalling! They were black all the way up, the pain must've been enormous. And then she had the nerve to do it again.
"I wouldn't have done it, so you know, I've got evidence that she's got raw courage! That's what I like."
Tom asked: "Do you think Penny Mordaunt will get to the final two?" "Who knows?" said Mr Stewart.
"The most duplicitous bunch of people in the whole of this country are the 650 members of Parliament. They'll say one thing and do something else. But I'm telling you this - I am voting for Penny."