Labour has ramped up its attacks on Tory leadership frontrunner Rishi Sunak at Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) as Boris Johnson declared he would leave Number 10 “with my head held high”.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for the end of non-domiciled tax status – in a likely dig at Sunak’s wife who was a non-dom until this year – while also accusing the ex-chancellor of being responsible for a “broken economy”.
Starmer said Sunak’s promise yesterday during his leadership campaign launch to “rebuild the economy” was akin to “Johnsonian brass neckery”
It comes as Sunak leads the Tory leadership pack with the most MP endorsements ahead of today’s first vote in the contest.
There will be a series of votes among Tory MPs until they whittle down the field of eight to two final contenders, who will then run a six-week campaign to try and win the votes of the party’s 200,000 members.
Johnson said at PMQs that any of the candidates would “wipe the floor” with Starmer who he called “Captain Crasharoonie Snoozefest”.
He added: “It is perfectly true that I leave not at a time of my choosing. Absolutely true.
“But I am proud of the fantastic teamwork that has been involved in all of those projects both nationally and internationally and I am also proud of the leadership that I have given.
“I will be leaving soon with my head held high.”
Trade minister Penny Mordaunt came out on top against every contender in a shock YouGov poll of Tory members today, which pitted contenders against each other in one-on-one battles.
Sunak’s numbers, however, were dire.
He only beat attorney general Suella Braverman and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt – two MPs that are not likely to get to the final two.
Mordaunt said promised in her speech that she would run surplus annual budgets “over time”, create a new Civil Defence Force, reform the civil service and bring in unspecified tax cuts.
“The British people are fed up. They are fed up with us not delivering, they are fed up with unfulfilled promises and they are fed up with divisive politics,” she said.
Yesterday saw rival camps get increasingly vicious as backers of Truss lined up to bash Sunak as he begins to look like the candidate to beat early on.
Truss now appears to be the most likely standard bearer for the right of the party after Priti Patel decided not to run yesterday, and after getting the endorsements of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Nadine Dorries.
Rees-Mogg has launched a series of attacks on Sunak, and this morning the Brexit minister said he would not accept a job in a potential Sunak cabinet.
“I believe his behaviour towards Boris Johnson, his disloyalty, means that I could not possibly support him and he wouldn’t want me in his cabinet anyway,” he said.
“In cabinet, Liz was the most supportive cabinet minister in getting Brexit opportunities and was using her role and her chairmanship of cabinet committees to make sure we could get the Brexit opportunities through.
“She also opposed the endless tax rises of the former chancellor which I think have been economically damaging, I also was opposed to within cabinet.”