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Faversham MP Helen Whately welcomes Tory leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak at members event in Lenham

One of the two contenders for the leadership of the Conservative party - and hence to be the next Prime Minister of the nation - was in Lenham today.

The former Chancellor Rishi Sunak was invited by Helen Whately, the MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, to address around 150 Conservative party members in the Tithe Barn in the village near Maidstone.

Helen Whately invites Rishi Sunak to the stage
Helen Whately invites Rishi Sunak to the stage

The event was Mr Sunak's third visit to Kent during the leadership contest, having previously been to Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.

Mrs Whately, who is backing Mr Sunak over his rival Liz Truss, introduced him as “the outstanding politician of my generation".

She said she had witnessed the Chancellor's "judgement, integrity and grip" while working alongside him in the Treasury.

Miss Truss also visited Kent last month.

Mrs Whately said: “I was delighted to welcome Rishi to Lenham as part of his leadership campaign.

Rishi Sunak and the audience in Lenham
Rishi Sunak and the audience in Lenham

The Faversham MP said: "The number of people who turned out on a hot Friday in August shows the support Rishi has among local party members – something not always reflected in polling.

"It’s clear Rishi has already turned his mind to how he would tackle the challenges we face in Kent – from Operation Brock and housing numbers to small boats crossing the Channel."

She said: “I’ve known Rishi since we both turned up in the House of Commons in 2015.

"And in the last nine months working alongside him in the Treasury I have got to know him better.

"I know Rishi will grip the challenges we face and put us on a path to a better, brighter future.”

Rishi Sunak addresses party members
Rishi Sunak addresses party members

Earlier today the former Chancellor landed in hot water after a video published by the New Statesman Magazine showed him telling Tory members in Tunbridge Wells the party had "inherited funding formulas from the Labour party that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas".

He said that needed to be redone and he had "started the work of doing that".

The results of the contest will be announced on September 5.

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