Tom Tugendhat is backing Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership race, delivering a major blow to Rishi Sunak

Former Tory leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat has backed Liz Truss in the race to be prime minister, in a major coup for Rishi Sunak.

Writing in The Times, Mr Tugendhat said the Foreign Secretary’s tax cut promises were based on “genuine Tory principles” and could bring the party together.

He said: “Liz has always stood up for British values ​​at home and abroad. With her at the helm, I have no doubt that we will move with determination to make this country safer and more secure.”

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Mr. Tugendhat had presented himself as the outsider who could make a clean break with a party mired in scandal and scandal. But he was eliminated from the leadership contest in the third round of voting by MPs earlier this month.

The ex-serviceman, who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said that after watching the candidates face off in the live televised debates, “only one has convinced me that she is ready”.

He said both contenders have “tremendous qualities and many talents” but Ms Truss has an advantage on the world stage because of her cabinet position.

He said the world “is getting tougher” as fuel prices rise around the world and we need a leader “with experience in foreign affairs to build alliances and keep our country safe.”

He said: “That’s where allies come in. As Foreign Secretary, Liz starts with a big advantage. She can make our voice count.”

Mr Tugendhat has become the latest high-profile Tory to back Ms Truss.

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace gave his backing to Ms Truss last night, describing her as “genuine, honest and experienced”.

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14:59 Ben Wallace backs Liz Truss

Sunak was initially the favorite in the race, winning the most support from parliamentarians in the first rounds of voting.

But polls have shown Ms Truss is more popular among Conservative party members, who will ultimately decide who will be the leader and the next Prime Minister.

Despite this, Ms Truss insisted today that she was “not complacent at all” about her prospects.

Asked if she is confident she is now ready to win the race, she said she is “fighting for every vote across the country.”

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“I am the person who can grow our economy, cut taxes but also unlock all the opportunities of Brexit, and that is what I am determined to do,” he told reporters in Norfolk.

“I am delighted to have the support of Ben Wallace. We have worked very well together. He has been a fantastic secretary of defense for our country.”

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will take part in a face-to-face debate on Sky News on Thursday 4 August at 8pm hosted by Kay Burley.

If you would like to be a member of the live studio audience and have the opportunity to ask a question, please apply here.

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