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Suella Braverman backs Liz Truss after being ousted from Tory leadership race

Suella Braverman backs Liz Truss after being ousted from Tory leadership race
Support means foreign secretary could be big threat to second-placed Penny Mordaunt

Suella Braverman says she will back Liz Truss to be the new Conservative leader after being ousted in the race to succeed Boris Johnson – in a move that dramatically heightens the stakes.

If Ms Braverman’s backers do likewise, the support will bring the foreign secretary within touching distance of second-placed Penny Mordaunt and boost Ms Truss’s campaign.

Sources have told The Independent the attorney-general will lend her vote to the foreign secretary in the third round of the battle to be PM.

Ms Braverman, who was eliminated from the race on Thursday after finishing bottom of the second ballot with 27 votes, said she made the decision after holding talks with Ms Truss.

However, Ms Truss has been accused of “black ops” in a desperate fight to stay in the race.

Ms Braverman singled out Ms Mordaunt for criticism, accusing her of failing to stand up for women in her apparent support of trans rights issues and of not being an “authentic Brexiteer”.

Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt maintained their places at the front of the Tory leadership race, receiving 101 and 83 votes respectively, in the ballot of Tory MPs.

Ms Mordaunt narrowed the gap between her and Rishi Sunak, the front runner, and also with Ms Truss in Thursday/s second round.

Prominent Brexiteer Steve Baker is also expected to back the foreign secretary, who came third.

“Suella has my complete loyalty. What she has decided, I will support,” he said.

Separately, another leadership contender, Tom Tugendhat, said he would scrap the policy of privatising Channel 4 if he became prime minister.

He told LBC radio: “I don’t think it’s a good idea – there are many other priorities.”

Mr Tugendhat also said he would not scrap the BBC licence fee.

Ms Truss won 64 votes, up 14, Ms Badenoch won 49, up nine, and Mr Tugendhat 32.