Penny Mordaunt beats Rishi Sunak in poll of Tory members

Penny Mordaunt beats Rishi Sunak in poll of Tory members to find most favoured replacement for Boris Johnson

  • The former defence secretary was the favourite of 20 per cent of Tory members 
  • Kemi Badenoch was a close second on 19 per cent – ahead of Rishi Sunak on 12
  • The poll comes after a rocky start including a row over her stance on trans rights
  • A supporter said she was ‘no woke warrior – she’s more of a liberty lioness’ 

Penny Mordaunt last night topped a poll of Tory party members on who should be the next leader.

The former defence secretary was backed by 20 per cent followed by ex-local government minister Kemi Badenoch on 19 per cent and Rishi Sunak on 12 per cent.

Attorney General Suella Braverman and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss both gained 10 per cent support in the Conservative Home survey. 

The results will worry the rivals of Miss Mordaunt, 49, as Conservative members will decide between the final two candidates after they are whittled down by MPs.

Mr Sunak is ahead on MP nominations at present, with 40 compared with Miss Mordaunt’s 26. 

Penny Mordaunt, 49, was the frontrunner in a poll of Conservative party members carried out by Conservative Home 

Kemi Badenoch, 42, was just a single point behind Ms Mordaunt on 19 per cent in the poll

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak, 42, considered to be one of the frontrunners in the race, trailed behind on just 12 per cent

It came as she tried to get her faltering campaign back on track after she was branded a ‘committed warrior for the trans lobby’ and was forced to edit her ‘PM 4 PM’ video to remove killer runner Oscar Pistorius.

Miss Mordaunt last night insisted that she can help the Conservatives break through the ‘Yellow Wall’ and finally defeat the SNP in Scotland. 

She pledged to work with the Scottish Tories to ‘turn the tide’ north of the border. 

She went on to say she could win votes across ‘the Yellow Wall, the Red Wall, Blue Wall and the entire United Kingdom’.

Earlier she issued a series of Twitter posts hitting back at attacks after she declared that ‘trans women are women’.

She stressed there was a difference between ‘biological women’ and those who are ‘legally female’ as she pointed to how she had ‘fought for women’s rights all my life’. 

Campaign group Conservatives for Women had said of Miss Mordaunt: ‘She has always been a committed warrior for the trans lobby. 

Her promotion of mantras and failure to see how this may cause enormous harm to women’s rights and children raises questions over her judgment.’

Two of Miss Mordaunt’s key supporters criticised attacks on her. Former science minister George Freeman told Times Radio: ‘When it comes to gender, she has been absolutely clear that a woman is a woman. 

‘Women need to know that their gender is sacred in law and protected. And she’s made that clear.’

He stressed: ‘Penny Mordaunt is no woke warrior – she’s more of a liberty lioness.’

Former Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom acknowledged that ‘mud sticks’ as she issued a plea for rival Tory camps to cool temperatures in the battle for No 10.

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