Published: 11:06, 31 January 2022
| Updated: 15:14, 31 January 2022
Dragons' Den star Deborah Meaden has backed Kent MP Tom Tugendhat as a future party leader.
The Tonbridge and Malling MP said he would stand in a leadership contest if Boris Johnson was forced to quit.
His odds have fallen from 16 to 1 at the height of Partygate to as low as 5 to 1, putting him fourth favourite behind Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Jeremy Hunt.
Ms Meaden, who has become well-known as one of the business entrepreneurs on the BBC series said the Conservative Party would be mad not to back the MP.
She tweeted twice to express her support: “Tom Tugendhat would be one hundred times the leader Johnson is… he knows how to lead, serve and has a moral compass. If the party does not jump at this they will be mad.”
In another tweet, she said the MP “Knows what it is to serve your country at the highest level. Bring it on!”
Meanwhile the chairman of the local constituency association said the MP had the right qualities to put the government on track.
Dennis King said he had qualities needed to bring stability to government at a time of uncertainty.
“One of the things the country needs at the moment is straight talking so everyone knows what the country stands for and where we are going.
“As an ex-soldier, I have found him to be a very clear thinker. We do need to sort things out and that has to come from the top.
“Do I think it's premature? Probably not. I think it's probably about the right time because I think what's happening is people are looking around in the current uncertainty at other people that could take over if it becomes necessary. In my opinion, Tom is one of the people who could,” he said.
Mr Tugendhat said it would a "huge privilege" to serve as Prime Minister - if the position became available and he had the support of colleagues.
Speaking on Times Radio, the 48-year-old chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said: "I don’t think you should be embarrassed to want to serve your country. I was very proud to serve my country in the armed forces and I got to the highest rank I could so that I could have the best effect that I could. And I was very proud to serve as a diplomat around the world."