Tom Tugendhat says Boris Johnson is not being honest as other leadership rivals are unable to respond
Tom Tugendhat said that Boris Johnson is not an honest man to break with other rivals in the Tory leadership who have been unable to make a clear judgment on the prime minister’s integrity.
The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee won the first applause of the evening from the audience channel 4‘s live debate for his response to a question put to each of the five candidates as to whether Mr Johnson was honest.
After lengthy replies from every candidate except Kemi Badenoch, who laughed and said ‘sometimes’, Mr Tugendhat started shaking his head and answered ‘no’ before host Krishnan Guru-Murthy had asked him the question.
Mr Tugendhat narrowly survived Thursday’s second round of voting for Tory MPs after receiving just 32 votes – five more than Attorney General Suella Braverman, who was eliminated.
But the former Army officer’s campaign insisted he was “in it to win it” and looked forward to the three televised leadership debates – in which frontrunners like Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and, to a lesser extent, Liz Truss seemed to have more to lose.
Tugendhat promised Channel 4 viewers a “clean start”, which is his campaign slogan, and called for “a break from those Johnson years”. party, those in our leadership positions, to ask ourselves, “Is this really what the public expects?”
“Are you serving the people of the UK or are you serving your career? Because that’s the real question tonight. That is the real question for all of us.”
That The debate saw candidates clash over taxeswith ex-Chancellor Mr Sunak accusing Ms Truss of spreading economic “fairy tales” and portraying herself as the only realist among the contenders willing to make difficult choices, such as choosing
But this central pillar of Mr Sunak’s campaign risked being somewhat undermined after Mr Tugendhat claimed the former chancellor privately told him he was only raising Social Security “because the boss wants it”.
Addressing questions about whether his boss at Downing Street was dishonest, Mr Sunak said: “I tried for as long as I could to help him when in doubt and finally concluded I couldn’t , and that’s why I quit.
“There were a number of reasons why I resigned, but trust and honesty were among them.”
Ms Mordaunt – who was sacked by Mr Johnson as defense secretary in 2019 for her support of his then-rival Jeremy Hunt – said that “there have been some really serious issues” and that Mr Johnson “paid a price for it”.
Ms Truss, who was in Indonesia as foreign secretary during the implosion of Mr Johnson’s government and remained silent until he announced his plans to step down, said the prime minister was “very clear to himself that he had made mistakes in government”. and she did his explanation for inaccurate statements about the Partygate scandal “at face value”.
She added: “I have of course stood by Boris Johnson, I have addressed issues with him privately, but I have supported him for the leadership election. I was part of his cabinet and I owed him my loyalty.”
A Opinium’s quick poll of 1,159 viewers found that 36 percent believed Mr Tugendhat had done best in the debate, placing him 11 points ahead of front-runner Mr Sunak.
Ms Truss, meanwhile, appeared to be having a disastrous outing as polls broken down by voter intent showed just 10 per cent of those who voted for Tory in 2019 thought she had done best – a figure that was even lower in the general population.