First candidate to pull out of Tory leadership race says he’s backing North Yorkshire MP Rishi Sunak now
Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, has pulled out of the Conservative Party leadership race – the first candidate to do so.
He will instead back Rishi Sunak, former chancellor and MP for Richmond here in North Yorkshire.
Less than 24 hours ago Mr Shapps was on the campaign trail but at 11am this morning he tweeted:
“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.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has also come out in support of Rishi Sunak.
And another North Yorkshire MP is also backing Mr Sunak. Last night, the PA news agency had calculated that he had amassed the backing of 37 of his fellow parliamentarians – among them Kevin Hollinrake, the Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton.
In order to stand as a candidate in the first ballot tomorrow, each leadership hopeful must present 20 endorsements to the 1922 committee by 6 pm tonight (Tuesday).
So far Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat have met the threshold with public endorsements, as has foreign secretary Liz Truss.