Transport Secretary Grant Shapps launches bid to become next PM

Now Grant Shapps launches bid to become next PM: Transport Secretary swipes at rival Rishi Sunak by vowing to cut taxes as he throws his hat into the ring for Tory leadership

  • Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has launched his Tory party leadership bid 
  • He said he will end ‘tactical government by an often distracted centre’
  • Grant Shapps told the Sunday Times he was ruling out a general election

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has launched his Tory party leadership bid and says he will end ‘tactical government by an often distracted centre’.

Grant Shapps told the Sunday Times he was ruling out a general election.

He said he would produce an emergency budget, instructing his chancellor to cut personal tax for the most vulnerable and giving state support to firms with high levels of energy consumption.

Mr Shapps becomes the second serving Government minister to kick off their campaign for the leadership, after Attorney General Suella Braverman declared her intention on what turned out to be the eve of Boris Johnson’s resignation.

Shapps said: ‘I have not spent the last few turbulent years plotting or briefing against the Prime Minister. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has launched his Tory party leadership bid and says he he will ‘tactical government by an often distracted centre’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as Conservative Party leader after ministers and MPs made clear his position was untenable

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak is seen as one of the frontrunners in the race to be the next PM

‘I have not been mobilising a leadership campaign behind his back. I tell you this: for all his flaws – and who is not flawed? – I like Boris Johnson. 

‘I have never, for a moment, doubted his love of this country.’

Mr Shapps added: ‘It is easy to criticise Boris after keeping one’s head down for years while being happy to benefit from his patronage. I am glad that I did not do that.

‘Even as the skies darkened over his premiership, often because of errors committed by him, I hoped he could pull it back. 

‘Because in losing him, we would lose a man who makes a unique connection with people.’ 

Earlier, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that after ‘careful consideration’ and discussion with colleagues and family, he would not stand to be party leader and the next prime minister.

In addition to Mr Shapps, Mr Sunak and Ms Braverman, ex-minister Kemi Badenoch and senior Tory Tom Tugendhat have launched their own bids, with further announcements anticipated over the coming days.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is widely expected to stand, while other potential front-runners include trade minister Penny Mordaunt, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, and former health secretaries Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt.

Launching his campaign in the Sunday Times, Mr Shapps said he wants to rebuild the economy so it is the biggest in Europe by 2050, and address the cost-of-living crisis.

He said he believes in the spirit of levelling up, but the state should ‘get out of the way’ in some areas.

Mr Shapps said: ‘I do think we have lost sight of what we should be about as a Conservative government.

‘We should trust people and allow them to spend their money as they wish.

‘We must map a clear path to lower taxes, not just expressing good intentions.

‘Covid witnessed a necessary and extraordinary expansion of state spending and a quite unprecedented level of state interference in people’s private lives.

Sajid Javid, who stepped down as health secretary within minutes of Mr Sunak’s resignation, has 7/1 odds of taking his party’s reigns 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (right) and trade minister Penny Mordaunt (left) are among the bookies’ favourites to replace Mr Johnson, as the field of candidates begins to take shape

‘As Conservatives, we should tolerate the unnecessary continuation of neither.’

The newspaper said it is anticipated that Mr Shapps will launch his campaign website, as well as list his supporters, in the coming hours.

It was reported on Saturday that Boris Johnson intends to stand down as Prime Minister on Monday in order to run again for Tory leader.

But this suggestion was knocked down by a spokesperson for Mr Johnson as completely untrue.

Tory MP Mark Francois has said he believes at least 12 people will put their names forward.

He told GB News: ‘I haven’t yet decided who I am going to vote for.

Suella Braverman (left), the Attorney General, has thrown her hat in the ring for the Tory leadership contest – although she has been given slim odds. Jeremy Hunt (right) is also mulling another run

New Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (right) chats at the Spectator summer party in Westminster

Liz Truss (left) will pitch herself as the female Boris Johnson in the Tory leadership race – a candidate who can win seats both in the South and the Red Wall. 

Boris’s resignation speech at a glance 

PM vows to stay on until new Tory leader chosen  

‘I have today appointed a Cabinet to serve, as I will until a new leader is in place.’

He fought to stay in power out of ‘duty’ to 2019 voters

The PM hailed his ‘incredible mandate’ from the 2019 general election.

He added: ‘The reason I have fought so hard in the last few days to continue to deliver that mandate in person was not just because I wanted to do so, but because I felt it was my job, my duty, my obligation to you to continue to do what we promised to do in 2019.’

PM hits out at those who removed him in ‘eccentric’ rebellion

‘In the last few days I have tried to persuade my colleagues it would be eccentric to change governments when we are delivering so much and when we have such a vast mandate and when we’re actually only a handful of points behind in the polls.

‘Even in mid-term after quite a few months of pretty relentless sledging.’

Boris admits ‘pain’ at leaving and attacks ‘herd instinct’ of MPs

‘Of course it’s painful not to be able to see through so many ideas and projects myself.

‘But, as we’ve seen at Westminster, the herd instinct is powerful and when the herd moves, it moves.

‘In politics, no one is remotely indispensable.’

Pledges support to next Tory leader but urges them to cut taxes  

‘Our brilliant and Darwinian system will produce another leader equally committed to taking this country forward through tough times.

‘Not just helping families to get through it but changing and improving the way we do things – cutting burdens on businesses and families and, yes, cutting taxes.

‘To that new leader, whoever he or she may be, I say I will give you as much support as I can.’

His ‘sadness’ at giving up ‘best job in the world’

‘I know there will be many people who will be relieved and, perhaps, quite a few who will also be disappointed.

‘I want you to know how sad I am to be giving up the best job in the world, but thems the breaks.’

Message of support to Ukrainians

He said: ‘Let me say now to the people of Ukraine that I know we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.’

Promise of a ‘golden future’ for Britons

‘Even if things can sometimes seem dark now, our future together is golden.’

‘It looks like this is going to be the Grand National but without the fences, so we are probably heading for at least a dozen candidates at the moment.’

Ms Badenoch announced her campaign in The Times, with a plan for a smaller state and a government ‘focused on the essentials’.

She is backed by Lee Rowley, the MP for North East Derbyshire, and Tom Hunt, the MP for Ipswich.

Former minister Steve Baker has thrown his support behind Ms Braverman’s bid, despite previously saying he was seriously considering putting himself forward for the top job.

Those publicly backing Mr Sunak include Commons Leader Mark Spencer, former Tory Party co-chairman Oliver Dowden, former chief whip Mark Harper, ex-ministers Liam Fox and Andrew Murrison, and MPs Sir Bob Neill, Paul Maynard and Louie French.

Other potential contenders have also received endorsements from Tory ranks, despite not yet launching a bid of their own.

MPs Chloe Smith, Julian Knight and Jackie-Doyle Price have backed Ms Truss, while Tory peer and minister Lord Goldsmith has said Mr Zahawi ‘stands apart from most rivals’.

Gosport MP Dame Caroline Dinenage has declared her support for Ms Mordaunt, while former ministers Chris Philp and Rachel Maclean have said Mr Javid would be their choice for PM.

The leadership bids to date have coincided with some controversy over the appointment of new ministers to Mr Johnson’s caretaker Government.

Labour shadow minister Steve Reed lashed out at the Conservative Party after Sarah Dines, who reportedly asked an alleged victim of Chris Pincher if he was gay, was made parliamentary under-secretary of state jointly at the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

Meanwhile, education minister Andrea Jenkyns has admitted she ‘should have shown more composure’ after making a rude sign to a ‘baying mob’ outside Downing Street, prior to her new appointment.

Commons Leader Mark Spencer had said it was up to Ms Jenkyns to ‘justify’ her actions after the gesture was caught on camera.

Ms Dines said she was ‘honoured’ by her appointment, while Ms Jenkyns said she was looking forward to working with the team at the Department for Education.

Mr Sunak announced his bid for leader on Twitter on Friday afternoon, saying: ‘Let’s restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country.’

The absence of a clear front-runner in the leadership race has tempted a number of less-fancied contenders to step forward with backbencher John Baron saying he will be ‘taking soundings’ over the weekend.

Tory MP and newly-appointed minister Rehman Chishti also confirmed on Saturday he is ‘actively considering’ running for the post.

As candidates have started to make their move, Tory MP Sir Charles Walker said it is incumbent on those running for leader that they ‘don’t knock lumps out of each other’.

‘They are all Conservatives. I think we’ve got to get through the thinning process very, very quickly,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

Following elections to the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday, the new body will draw up a timetable for the leadership election. 

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