Conservative leadership race: I am backing Rishi Sunak, says Jeremy Hunt
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has endorsed former Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the contest to become the leader and prime minister of the Conservative Party.
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Mr. Hunt were both eliminated from the race for lack of support.
In British politics, Mr. Hunt referred to Mr. Sunak as “one of the most decent guys” he had ever encountered.
Politics is about momentum, and I’m sorry to say I didn’t have it this time, Mr. Hunt remarked in response to his own defeat.
Mr. Hunt came in second place to Boris Johnson in the most recent Conservative leadership contest in 2019.
The former leadership candidate stated in an interview that seeking the position of prime minister was an “honour,” but added: “You only get one chance to accomplish that. My chance was actually in 2019 – politics marches on.”
He claimed that the current election had generated an “outstanding list of candidates,” demonstrating how “contemporary and outward-looking” the Conservative Party was.
When asked why he was backing Mr. Sunak, he responded that he thought the former chancellor had “formidable competence” and had spent the previous two years carefully considering what was best for our economy and for families across the nation.
He said that Mr. Sunak was “one of the most decent, straight guys with the highest standard of honesty I have ever encountered in British politics” in his description of him.
Mr. Sunak won the first round of voting among Conservative MPs; his resignation as chancellor last week contributed to Mr. Johnson’s demise.
Some of his former cabinet members have, however, criticised him, notably Jacob Rees Mogg, who told Sky News that Mr. Sunak was to blame for “endless tax increases that I think have been economically destructive.”
In the first round, Mr. Sunak received 88 votes, followed by Penny Mordaunt, the trade minister, with 67 votes, and Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, with 50.
Along with the remaining contenders, Kemi Badenoch, Tom Tugendhat, and Suella Braverman, they will be up for more votes in the coming days.
On September 5, a vote among Conservative Party members will decide between the final two.