Penny Mordaunt hits back at Anne-Marie Trevelyan over ‘work ethic’ jibes
Fallen Tory leadership contender Penny Mordaunt has mocked her ministerial boss Anne-Marie Trevelyan today, after she was the victim of a series of attacks about her “work ethic” during the campaign.
Mordaunt, a trade minister, said she was “amazed to find myself” in the House of Commons chamber after Trevelyan, the trade secretary, questioned her deputy’s work ethic.
Trevelyan, who backed Tom Tugendhat and then Liz Truss in the leadership contest, told LBC that Mordaunt had prioritised her potential leadership campaign over her ministerial job for several months and that “there have been a number of times when she hasn’t been available … and other ministers have picked up the pieces”.
City A.M. exclusively reported last week that Mordaunt had been accused by her trade colleagues of “going missing for months”, with one saying the department had been “down a minister” for a long time.
Mordaunt dropped out of the Conservative leadership race yesterday, after falling eight votes short of reaching the final two and going on to face the members in a six-week campaign.
Truss managed to overtake Mordaunt during the last vote and her camp was widely accused of spreading underhanded attacks on the trade minister.
Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mordaunt said: “I’m amazed to find myself here this morning given my reported work ethic, but I am here.”
When asked about parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals she appeared to take another shot at Trevelyan, who has refused to attend the International Trade Committee several times.
“I will ask [Trevelyan] to set out any parliamentary business and timetable for any future trade agreements that are continuing,” she said.
“Clearly we have committed to a particular process. For my own part, every single time the International Trade Committee or other body of this house has asked me to go before it I have.
“I think that’s the attitude of the ministerial team and we’ll continue to do that.”
A senior Department for International Trade source said Mordaunt and Trevelyan have a long-standing rivalry.
“I reckon there are some competitive tendencies between them – not least given we’ve always known about Penny’s leadership appeal and the fact both were international development secretary,” they said.