Liz Truss cuts short her G20 trip to jet back to London and join race for the Tory crown ‘pitching herself as the female Boris Johnson’

  • Liz Truss will pitch herself as the female Boris Johnson in Tory leadership race 
  • The Foreign Secretary has cut short a trip to Indonesia to prepare her campaign
  • Ms Truss was attending a G20 foreign ministers summit as Johnson resigned 
  • A close ally billed Ms Truss as being a Tory able to win seats in the Red Wall 

Liz Truss 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, supporters said last night.

The Foreign Secretary is among more than a dozen MPs preparing to launch bids to be the next Prime Minister within days.

Others in the running include Rishi Sunak, Sajid Javid, Ben Wallace, Nadhim Zahawi, Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat.

Miss Truss will land in Britain this afternoon after she cut short a trip to a G20 foreign ministers summit in Indonesia yesterday.

The minister, who is finalising plans for her campaign, will argue she can keep together the coalition of voters who backed Mr Johnson at the 2019 general election when he won a thumping majority.

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. Pictured: The Foreign Secretary was attending a G20 foreign ministers summit as Boris Johnson resigned yesterday

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace (pictured) is the frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson, according to the bookies 

Suella Braverman (pictured), the Brexit-backing Attorney General, has thrown her hat in the ring for the Tory leadership contest – although she has been given slim odds

A close ally said last night: ‘She is popular in both the Red Wall and the Lib Dem-facing marginals we need to keep hold of.’

In a swipe at former Chancellor Rishi Sunak who raised national insurance, Miss Truss will declare that she is a ‘low-tax’ Tory who will ‘get the economy moving again’. The ally added: ‘She is vastly experienced and knows how to drive difficult policy through Whitehall… She is tough and delivers and gets things done.’

Defence Secretary Mr Wallace is also planning to run for the top job after discussing a leadership bid with his family.

The former Army officer, 52, is expected to confirm his intentions in the coming days. He has emerged as a front-runner after a survey of Conservative Party members.

The father-of-three, who is separated from his wife, topped a YouGov poll with 13 per cent support, just ahead of Miss Mordaunt on 12 per cent, Mr Sunak on 10 per cent and Miss Truss on 8 per cent.

Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was beaten by Mr Johnson in the 2019 Tory leadership contest, trailed in on 5 per cent – the same as new Chancellor Mr Zahawi. Bookies installed Mr Wallace as favourite following the poll.

The MP for Wyre and Preston North has gained plaudits across the political spectrum for his handling of the war in Ukraine. Miss Mordaunt, who was the first female Defence Secretary before being fired by Mr Johnson, already has a campaign team in place. The resignations of Mr Sunak and Mr Javid from Cabinet on Tuesday triggered the mass exodus which ultimately crippled Mr Johnson’s leadership.

Mr Sunak was regarded as a front-runner for the Tory crown before his stock took a tumble following disclosures earlier this year that his wife had non-dom status for tax purposes. Last night it was reported he has set up a temporary campaign base in a Westminster hotel.

It is understood that former Health Secretary Mr Javid and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps are seriously considering running.

Rivals last night gloated that Mr Zahawi’s campaign was ‘falling apart’ after he took the job of Chancellor only to call for Mr Johnson to go 24 hours later.

But his allies said he would pitch himself as a successful former businessman who had delivered Britain’s Covid vaccine rollout.

Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for Trade Policy, is among the bookies’ favourites to replace Mr Johnson, as the field of candidates begins to take shape

Rishi Sunak, who stepped down as Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday at the very start of the coup against Mr Johnson, has emerged as an early favourite for the Tory crown

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 

Former Territorial Army officer Mr Tugendhat, a backbench MP who heads the Commons foreign affairs committee, has already won the backing of several top Tories, including Theresa May’s ex-deputy Damian Green.

Last night it emerged that Kemi Badenoch, who quit as a Levelling Up Minister on Wednesday, was ‘actively considering running’.

A source close to the 42-year-old, who was first elected to Parliament in 2017, said: ‘Some MPs are urging Kemi to run and she has started the process of taking soundings.

‘She is speaking to MPs to find out what they are looking for in a new leader to see if she has it.’

A poll last night showed Mr Sunak is the only one of the main candidates who can beat Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in a head-to-head contest. His closest rival in the JL Partners poll was Mr Javid, who was three points behind Sir Keir.

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