Penny Mordaunt has 'the it factor' says Michael Fabricant
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Louise Mensch, who served as the Conservative MP for Corby from 2010 to 2012, joined Dan Wootton on GB News to discuss the ongoing Tory leadership election. Ms Mensch voiced her support for the Brexit-backing Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt.
Ms Mordaunt retained her second-place position in the latest ballot among Tory MPs, with the support of 82 Conservative colleagues.
Ms Mensch, who once described the European Union as an idea which has “come and gone”, told Mr Wootton: “He [Boris Johnson] was underestimated for most of his political career, I will say that about Boris, by absolutely everybody.
“And I think you’re underestimating Penny Mordaunt now.
“Honestly, I don’t know how many times Liz Truss has to fail to beat her, this massive Remainer, for you to accept that Conservative MPs prefer Penny by quite some distance.”
Mr Wootton interjected to claim the right-wing of the Conservative Party is split between Ms Truss and ex-Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, which he suggested has helped Ms Mordaunt retain her position in second place.
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However, Ms Mensch replied: “If that were true, and it isn’t, Liz Truss would have got more votes.
“I think Penny’s best line at the debate yesterday, and it was a killer one for me, was ‘I am the only person on this stage who has taken a seat from Labour’.”
Ms Mordaunt, who has since served as Defence Secretary and International Development Secretary, was elected as the MP for Portsmouth North in 2010.
Portsmouth North had fallen away from the Conservative Party when Tony Blair romped to victory in 1997.
Since entering office in 2010, Ms Mordaunt’s majority has increased from just 7,289 to 15,780.
Speaking about Ms Mordaunt’s Eurosceptic credentials, Mr Mensch added: “I was in the trenches of Brexit with her and she’s Brexit through and through.
“She did not stab Boris in the back and she is the leader that we need.”
Ms Mensch also took aim at Ms Truss on social media by sharing an image of the then Environment Secretary campaigning for the UK to remain in the Brussels bloc.
Despite Ms Mensch’s praise for Ms Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak opened up a lead at the top as 115 MPs backed the ex-Chancellor.
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Ms Truss and Ms Badenoch saw off the threat from Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat to reach the next round of the leadership race.
Ms Mordaunt has also come under pressure from Conservative colleagues in recent days.
Ex-Brexit Minister Lord David Frost, who worked alongside the Portsmouth North MP during negotiations with the EU, said he had “grave reservations” about Ms Mordaunt’s leadership bid.
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan added: “There have been a number of times when she hasn’t been available, which would have been useful, and other ministers have picked up the pieces.”
The next ballot in the race to replace Mr Johnson is scheduled for tomorrow when MPs will reduce the field from four candidates to just three.
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