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Which Kent MPs back who as Boris Johnson 'eyes bid' to become Prime Minister after Liz Truss resigns

Boris Johnson enjoys the backing of one Kent MP – but another says he'd quit if he came back.

The former Prime Minister, who was on holiday in the Dominican Republic until jetting back early yesterday, is said to want to stand in "the national interest" and claims he could win the under-fire Tories the next election.

Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister and Boris Johnson is reported to be eyeing another tilt at the top job
Liz Truss has resigned as Prime Minister and Boris Johnson is reported to be eyeing another tilt at the top job

In addition to Mr Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt are the other front runners.

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti stood in July but has lent his support to Mr Sunak this time.

An ally of Tonbridge and Malling's Tom Tugendhat suggested he would not be standing again but he's yet to declare who he will be supporting.

Folkestone and Hythe rep Damian Collins tweeted yesterday afternoon that he will be supporting Ms Mordaunt, as he did this summer.

Similarly, Faversham and Mid Kent MP Helen Whately repeated her pledge from July, throwing her political weight behind Mr Sunak, as has Sevenoaks' Laura Trott and Tunbridge Wells' Greg Clark.

Meanwhile, Kelly Tolhurst of Rochester and Strood and Dartford's Gareth Johnson have backed Mr Johnson to return to the premiership.

Veteran MP Sir Roger Gale says he'd quit if Mr Johnson returned. He didn't say who he was back.

Tracey Crouch, Helen Grant, Adam Holloway, Damian Green, Gordon Henderson, Natalie Elphicke and Craig Mackinlay also have not come out for any candidate.

It comes as Truss stepped down after just 44 days, following a disastrous uncosted mini-budget which sent the pound plummeting and interest rates soaring.

Three weeks later she sacked Chancellor and close friend Kwasi Kwarteng and replaced him with centrist Jeremy Hunt.

Letters of no confidence began piling up in the 1922 Committee chairman Graham Brady's in tray.

Yesterday, Suella Braverman sensationally resigned, becoming the shortest serving Home Secretary since the war.

The exact reason for her departure was unclear. Her letter to Ms Truss pointed to a breach of the rules after she accessed confidential emails from a personal phone but sources suggested there had been a blazing 90-minute row between the pair over student visas.

In her resignation letter she made thinly veiled digs at Ms Truss, criticising the direction of the government especially on issues relating to immigration and Channel crossings.

Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA
Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Former transport secretary Grant Shapps replaced her. Less than two weeks ago he'd warned Truss' days were numbered unless she got a grip on the economic situation.

Then, in a farcical vote last night Tory MPs were first told they had to vote against Labour's motion to ban fracking, then that they didn't and then that they did again.

The Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip resigned and then unresigned, the latter allegedly saying: "I am f****** furious and I don't give a f*** anymore."

Other MPs were reportedly manhandled through the lobby, some in tears. Jacob Rees-Mogg and Thérèse Coffey denied they were involved.

Kent MPs Tracey Crouch and Greg Clark both abstained, meaning they face punishment although neither has responded to confirmation of whether they have been contacted by the whip's office yet.

But in the chaos not even Ms Truss voted. She'd reportedly chased after Chief Whip Wendy Morton, losing her security guards and her position in the queue in the process.

Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA

In the aftermath, backbencher of 17 years Charles Walker said: “This is an absolute disgrace. As a Tory MP of 17 years who’s never been a minister, who’s got on with it loyally most of the time, I think it’s a shambles and a disgrace. I think it is utterly appalling. I’m livid.”

The government actually won the vote by 230 votes to 326.

At lunch time today, Mr Brady was seen entering Downing Street, viewed by many as a sign Ms Truss' remarkable tenure was coming to an end.

Speaking to Sky outside Downing Street, Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke said she had voted for Ms Truss but was "disappointed" and needed the PM to "set out her priorities", especially regarding issues like small boat crossings.

After the meeting with Mr Brady, which Ms Coffey and Tory chairman Jake Berry also attended, it was announced a press conference would take place at 1.30pm.

Ms Truss then emerged from Number 10 and announced she would be resigning., saying she realised she could not deliver the mandate which the Conservative party members elected her on.

Speaking in Downing Street, she said: “This morning I met the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

“We've agreed that there will be a leadership election to be completed within the next week.

“This will ensure that we remain on a path to deliver our fiscal plan and maintain our country's economic stability and national security.

“I will remain as prime minister until a successor has been chosen.

“Thank you.”


Mrs Elphicke tweeted: "It’s very sad it has come to this, but Liz Truss has done the right thing.

"It’s now important we move forward very urgently to get a new PM and restore stability in the national interest."

Veteran North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale said: "Following the resignation of the PM we need to maintain stability and as a Parliamentary party get behind an agreed leader that can allow Jeremy Hunt who, as Chancellor, will not be standing for the Leadership, to continue the vital work that he is doing on behalf of the Country."

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson added: "Unfortunately, Liz Truss just made too many mistakes to continue and has now taken the decision to stand down. We need to get on with governing the country, that's what people rightly demand of us. People want good governance and not endless infighting. We have to prioritise the economy and the cost of living whoever takes over.

"She said we'll choose a new leader in a week and I think that's a sensible time frame because we've got to resolve this situation quickly There may be an opportunity for an online ballot if MPs choose more than one person - although if they only choose one there doesn't need to be a ballot.

"I don't know who's standing I've been getting on with my new job in the ministry of justice. It's incredibly frustrating that people want us to be a good government and get on with the job, and what people see instead is too much infighting.

"I don't think there's any necessity for a general election - I think what people want more than anything is a good competent government. They want us to prioritise issues like the cost of living, getting the economy on an even keel and international matters like the situation in Ukraine."

MP for Ashford Damian Green said that he was “sorry for Liz personally,” but that her resignation had been “the right thing to do".

“It was clear from the state of play that this had to happen, and our focus now needs to be finding the right replacement quickly,” he added.


When asked who he would be supporting, he said he would wait until the candidate list came out.

Addressing a tweet from ITV‘s Paul Brand, which suggested that he and other one nation MPs had met to decide on a new candidate, he confirmed the group had met but said no such discussion took place.

Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins has this afternoon backed Penny Mordaunt for the top job.

"Liz Truss dedicated most of her professional life to public service, and was the longest serving member of the Cabinet," he said.

"She has made a necessary, but difficult decision to stand down as Prime Minister, and in so doing we must thank her for her years of service. It is important that a new leader of the Conservative Party is elected as soon as possible, to restore stability to the government and continue the work of delivering the manifesto on which we were elected in 2019.

The global forces of war, recovery from the COVID pandemic and the rising economic pressures being experienced right around the world will challenge our new Prime Minister.

"We need someone with experience in high office and the strength of character to build a strong and united government that will inspire confidence. I was proud to support Penny Mordaunt in her bid this summer to become Leader of the Conservative Party and will be pleased to do so again should she stand as a candidate."

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