Solihull borough MPs announce who they are backing in Tory leadership contest - The Solihull Observer

Solihull borough MPs announce who they are backing in Tory leadership contest

Felix Nobes 4th Jun, 2019 Updated: 4th Jun, 2019   0

SOLIHULL MP Julian Knight and Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman have announced who they are backing in the forthcoming Tory leadership contest.

Theresa May revealed she will be stepping down as party leader and as Prime Minister on June 7 during a tearful address on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

Now 12 MPs have entered the race to replace her and take responsibility for negotiating Brexit, the defining issue of the contest.

Mr Knight, who recently called on the party’s next leader to prepare for a no-deal, had pledged his support to Braintree MP James Cleverly.

Brexit minister Mr Cleverly has told the press that not delivering Brexit would be significantly more damaging than a no-deal break.

Despite being an inexperienced MP only elected in 2015, he believes he can woo Tory voters by offering ‘something different’.

Mr Knight tweeted: “I want our country to have the brightest possible future, and I believe James Cleverly is the man who can make that happen.

“I’m backing James because he can connect with voters from all backgrounds and he will expand the appeal of the party at a time when it’s badly needed.

“He’s an optimist, a patriot and a true Conservative.”

Dame Caroline on the other hand will be supporting current health secretary, West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock, who has explicitly ruled out backing a no-deal Brexit.

She tweeted: “I am very pleased to support Matt Hancock in his bid to become leader of the Conservative Party and the next PM.

“It’s time to move beyond Brexit and reunite the country.”

Dame Caroline has had a prominent role in Brexit deliberations in Westminster to prevent what she believes would be a disastrous no-deal Brexit.

She says her first concern is for West Midlands manufacturing and car makers like Jaguar Land Rover who have repeatedly appealed to ministers to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

She voted to remain in the EU referendum in June 2016.

Despite also voting to remain, Mr Knight has grown more vociferous in his support for Brexit under any circumstances, including no-deal.

Other Tory heavyweights have joined the contest including front-runners Boris Johnson, Dominic Raab and Michael Gove.

On June 10 a list of candidates will be confirmed.

Each leadership hopeful needs two votes from their fellow MPs to be up for consideration.

MPs will then vote in rounds to eventually whittle down the most overcrowded candidates list in the party’s history to only two, with one kicked out of the race at the end of each round.

After MPs have decided the two final contestants, the matter is put to Conservative Party members in a postal ballot – while candidates tour around gathering support in hustings.

Party officials hope the new leader will be elected by the beginning of July.


James Cleverly MP has this morning announced he has withdrawn from the leadership contest.

It comes after calls from senior Conservatives – including minister for housing James Brokenshire – for outsiders to withdraw from the packed contest.

Mr Knight tweeted in response to the news. He said: “It is sad that James Cleverly has decided to withdraw from leadership race but it is the mark of the man that has recognised facts, made a tough decision and will be a hundred percent behind whomever the new PM is. If we had more James’ in politics we’d be very lucky!”

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