Former Tory leadership contender Tom Tugendhat announced on Friday night that he would be backing Liz Truss.
Dealing another huge blow to Rishi Sunak’s campaign, Mr Tugendhat said that Ms Truss’s plans for vast tax cuts are “founded on true Conservative principles”.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee criticised Mr Sunak’s tightening of fiscal policy, saying it is “not right” that the tax burden should be rising when people are heading into winter with “dread”.
Writing in The Times, he said: “Rising fuel prices, pushing families across our country into difficulty, are bringing the pain home.
“We know we need answers, now. That’s where allies come in. As foreign secretary Liz is starting with a huge advantage. She can make our voice count.”
His endorsement is important as he is popular among Conservative Party members and a senior figure in the One Nation group of Tory MPs.
Mr Tugendhat said he believed Ms Truss would make the UK “safer and more secure” from threats abroad.
He added: “From China to Ukraine, the world around us is getting more challenging and the cost of failure abroad is being felt hard at home.
“Rising fuel prices, pushing families across our country into difficulty, are bringing the pain home. We know we need answers – now.
“That’s where allies come in. As Foreign Secretary, Liz is starting with a huge advantage. She can make our voice count.”
Mr Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, was knocked out of the leadership contest in the third round of MPs voting earlier this month.
The Telegraph can also disclose that Priti Patel has decided she will not be endorsing either candidate.
It is understood she has decided that the position of Home Secretary demands the holder of the office to be entirely focused on the businesses of government and the national security of the United Kingdom.
She wants to put the safety and security of the public and country above party politics, meaning she cannot compromise the responsibilities she holds.
Mr Tugendhat’s endorsement of Ms Truss follows that of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace on Thursday. Mr Wallace was one of the few remaining Cabinet “big beasts” not to have declared who he was supporting.
Speaking on Sky News, Mr Wallace suggested that Mr Sunak’s policies had undermined entrepreneurs.
He also criticised the former Chancellor over his March 2020 Budget, in which he slashed by 90 per cent the amount of tax that small business owners can save when they sell their firms.
Mr Wallace said he believed Ms Truss’s approach of tax cuts is the best way to stimulate the economy.
Criticising Mr Sunak’s decision to scale back Entrepreneurs’ Relief as “not a way to create either wealth or indeed growth”, Mr Wallace said: “I think people seem to think that it is very simple, you just simply raise a tax, pay off the debt and go back. That is tax and spend economics.
“The economics I am interested in is how do we stimulate growth. So cutting the right taxes, like not proceed with corporation tax rises helps us grow.
“When Rishi was chancellor he cut entrepreneurial relief. He cut the relief that we give to our entrepreneurs who have invested in this country and invested in businesses and that is not a way to create either wealth or indeed growth.”
Mr Wallace also accused Mr Sunak of trying to block “vital” defence money during his time in the Treasury.
He said the Foreign Secretary recognises that “the threats we face every day” need to be “funded properly”, pointing to Ms Truss’ commitment to increase defence spending to three per cent of GDP by 2030.
‘She’s been very consistent’
He also said that without any prompting or asking, Ms Truss wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying that defence needs more money.
Mr Wallace said that in stark contrast, Mr Sunak had tried to block defence funding in 2019, only to find himself over-ruled by the Prime Minister.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast, the Defence Secretary insisted Mr Sunak would be a “fine member of anybody’s Cabinet”, but added: “For me, Liz is the one that I think will do best by defence of this nation, by investing in it.”
He went on: “When I was in Government, without any prompting or asking, Liz, I remember, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying that defence needs more money, it’s a more dangerous, risky world.
“She did that off her own back. She’s been very consistent.”
The Defence Secretary, who would have liked the Prime Minister not to have resigned, was also critical of the way the former chancellor quit, telling Sky News: “I just don’t think triggering Cabinet ministers walking out at a time of a crisis is the right course of action.
“There were other mechanisms to do what they wanted. If Rishi Sunak didn’t want the Prime Minister to be Prime Minister, there are other mechanisms to do that. And that goes for all the other ministers.”
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( Information from telegraph.co.uk was used in this report. To Read More, click here )