Who’s Backing Who: Tuesday Morning State of Play

Good morning. There were very few changes to backer numbers overnight, bar the big news that newly-appointed education secretary James Cleverly has swung in behind Liz Truss, while branding Rishi Sunak a “Labour chancellor”. It’s thought Nadine Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg will endorse the Foreign Secretary later today, though Guido’s waiting for official confirmation before they’re added to his spreadsheet…

Rishi launches his campaign today, promising that tax cuts are a matter of “when not if”. He’ll take to the stage accompanied by the backing of former Chancellor Lord Lamont, who – like Dominic Lawson in The Mail yesterday – claims it’s Rishi taking a Thatcherite approach to the economy, not the other immediate tax-cutting candidates. He will say:

“We need a return to traditional Conservative economic values – and that means honesty and responsibility, not fairy tales.”

“I have had to make some of the most difficult choices in my life when I was Chancellor, in particular how to deal with our debt and borrowing after Covid. I have never hidden away from those, and I certainly won’t pretend now that the choices I made, and the things I voted for, were somehow not necessary. Whilst this may be politically inconvenient, it is the truth.”

There’s going to be a huge rush of campaign launches today after the 1922 committee confirmed a rapid timetable between now and the first round on Wednesday. Kemi Badenoch will also launch this morning. Tom Tugendhat will give his first major speech. Good luck to all the hacks running from one venue to another given today’s weather is set to be a repeat of yesterday…

The big question of the day is will we see any of the minnows drop out ahead of today’s nomination deadline, which we now know has a threshold of 20 MP backers. No one’s any the wiser why Rehman Chishti’s having this very public midlife crisis; Priti Patel is still mulling over whether to run, though has reportedly hit an impasse with Suella Braverman, with whom she’s allegedly negotiating a joint ticket; and Grant Shapps languishes on just eight public backers. Last night Guido spoke to his biggest name backer George Eustice, who said the 20-person threshold was unfair though seems to think Grant may have a chance of squeezing through… 

The backers in full can be found here:

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