JRM fires urgent Brexit warning against ‘those who betrayed Boris’ -leadership race erupts

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Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg compared the ousting of Mr Johnson to the slaying of Julius Caesar and predicted that “those who betrayed Boris will now seek to neuter Brexit.” His warning came as leadership contenders pledged to pursue Britain’s Brexit opportunities, with MPs due to vote in the first rounds of the contest this week.

Former Health Secretary Sajid Javid will tomorrow make his case to be the next Prime Minister, with Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi formally launching his campaign on Monday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps threw his hat into the ring, saying his goal was to address the cost of living crisis and make Britain’s economy the biggest in Europe by 2050.

He pledged to produce an emergency budget, cut personal tax for the most vulnerable and give state support to firms with high levels of energy consumption.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is also planning to run, reportedly with a pledge to reverse tax rises, but Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has decided not to enter the contest.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is understood to be considering running but there is concern that the vote on the right of the party could split; former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also running.

Meanwhile, foreign affairs committee chairman Tom Tugendhat set out why he should have the top job, saying: “The reason I’m standing is simple. Trust in our politics and our party is collapsing.

“We need a clean start.”

Former equalities minister Kemi Bedenoch wants to succeed Mr Johnson and described her support for Brexit in 2016 as “a vote of confidence in our abilities as a sovereign country”.

Attorney General Suella Braverman’s campaign has been boosted with the backing of leading Brexiteer Steve Baker – one of the so-called “Spartans” who was instrumental in thwarting Theresa May’s efforts to secure a deal with the European Union.

He said: “When even I wobbled under the pressure, she was still absolutely resolute on the basis of the authority of her own analysis. She is the bees’ knees.

“She has got resolve, she has got authenticity. She has got the humility to listen to others and yet the authority to carry things through.

“She is a true Conservative. I think she would make an absolutely great Prime Minister.”

Ms Braverman claimed that Brexit is at risk of being unpicked.

She said: “It can be. Unfortunately some people want to.

“If they’re allowed to, it’ll destroy the party and deservedly put us out of office for a generation.”

Former equalities minister Kemi Bedenoch wants to succeed Mr Johnson and described her support for Brexit in 2016 as “a vote of confidence in our abilities as a sovereign country”.

Attorney General Suella Braverman’s campaign has been boosted with the backing of leading Brexiteer Steve Baker – one of the so-called “Spartans” who was instrumental in thwarting Theresa May’s efforts to secure a deal with the European Union.

He said: “When even I wobbled under the pressure, she was still absolutely resolute on the basis of the authority of her own analysis. She is the bees’ knees.

“She has got resolve, she has got authenticity. She has got the humility to listen to others and yet the authority to carry things through.

“She is a true Conservative. I think she would make an absolutely great Prime Minister.”

Ms Braverman claimed that Brexit is at risk of being unpicked.

She said: “It can be. Unfortunately some people want to.

“If they’re allowed to, it’ll destroy the party and deservedly put us out of office for a generation.”

Describing the battle for Brexit, she told the Sunday Express: “I didn’t back Brexit because it was easy, but because it was the right thing to do. When we were under enormous pressure to support Theresa May’s deal, I voted against every time because the alternative was being ruled by Brussels.

“If I become Prime Minister, one of my priorities will be to finish the job – deal with the Northern Ireland Protocol and stop the despicable people smugglers from trafficking people across the channel.”

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged to go forward “faster” in making the most of Brexit opportunities.

He said: “I believe in Brexit. That’s why, despite being a tough choice, I baced leaving the European Union in 2016.

“For me Brexit was not just about what we couldn’t do, it’s what we didn’t do.

“Fast forward six years and under my stewardship, the Treasury has led the Government in starting to exploit the newfound freedoms Brexit has borne us – whether that’s bringing in freeports or overhauling the taxation of alcohol, air passenger travel and shipping.”

He said such measures were “just the start of the journey our country is taking outside of the EU,” adding: “Under my leadership, we will move forward, faster – seizing this historic opportunity to take back control of our destiny and build a nation that is freer, fairer and more prosperous.”

Stressing his enthusiasm for Brexit, Chancellor Mr Zahawi said: “Thanks to Brexit, we are now a free nation. Let’s not just talk about the opportunities that follow, let’s take them.”

Former security minister Sir John Hayes – who is supporting Ms Braverman – said the party should choose a Brexiteer as its next leader.

He said: “The party certainly can’t elect a Remainer or the electorate would think we’d ditched Boris and ditched Brexit which we must avoid.”

Sir John set out his support for Ms Braverman, saying: “Suella represents family, community and nation and that’s authentic conservativsm. It’s not a lurch to arch-liberalism and it’s not a pale imitation of social democracy; neither of those things will do to face and meet the challenges that prevail.”

Foreign Secretary Ms Truss voted Remain in 2016 but in 2017 she said she would support Brexit if a referendum was held again.

An ally of Ms Truss said: “Liz is the best person to deliver on the opportunities of Brexit. She wants Britain to diverge fundamentally from the EU, and as PM would deliver a free trading, global, confident and outward-looking Britain.

“Her record in government in delivering on Brexit speaks for itself. As trade secretary, she delivered dozens of trade deals around the world, and in the foreign office she’s helped Britain lead the international response to Ukraine.”

A campaign spokesman for ex-Health Secretary Mr Javid said the candidate had a plan which would win over MPs this week.

He said: “Drawing on his record as the most experienced candidate, he will set out a plan to cut taxes, tackle the cost of living – and smash the slow growth trap we currently face. At the heart of his plan is cancelling the scheduled rise in Corporation Tax, ensuring the UK remains internationally competitive.

“Sajid is the candidate with the integrity, the experience and the new, Conservative plan for our country.”

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