Huge blow for Sunak as ex-minister becomes first to switch support to Truss

CHRIS Skidmore has become the first MP to switch allegiance from Rishi Sunak to Liz Truss in a major blow to the underdog’s leadership campaign.

The former minister last night claimed he swapped sides because the ex-chancellor was “consistently changing position” on policies.


Rishi Sunak suffered a major blow to his campaign last night after Chris Skidmore defected to support rival Liz TrussCredit: PA

Just one day before defecting Mr Skidmore declared the next PM should create a minister for climate change role in their new government.

The chair of the Conservative Net Zero Support Group pleaded with colleagues to join him in rallying around Ms Truss.

He said: “I know some of my colleagues are in two minds about the choice in this contest and that some are minded, like me, to come over and back Liz.

“I would say it is never too late to make the right decision and to join me.”

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Last night a further nine MPs declared their allegiance to the Truss campaign.

More defections from the Sunak camp are expected to come.

A Truss campaign spokesperson said: “We’re in talks with others from camp Rishi and Chris coming over could trigger a bigger exodus of MPs from Sunak to us.

“Rishi’s flip flopping and on the economy is clearly upsetting a lot of his backers.”

The Foreign Secretary is blazing ahead of rival Mr Sunak in the polls.

The latest YouGov survey showed a whopping 69 per cent of Tory members back her, compared to 31 per cent for the ex-Chancellor.

This week the leadership contest heated up as news of the cost of living crunch got worse.

A war of words broke out between the wannabe PMs around who has the best plan to tackle spiralling inflation.

Annual energy bill are expected to hit an eye-watering £4,200 per year from January.

Ms Truss is adamant soaring bills are best tackled through slashing taxes, including the National Insurance hike and green levy.

But Mr Sunak attacked the idea at a hustings in Darlington yesterday, saying cuts won’t do anything to help the hard hit poor or OAPs.    

He vowed to give squeezed Brits a “few hundred pounds more” this winter to help with energy bill rises which are forecast to soar to £4,266 a year by January.

Mr Sunak’s allies accused Ms Truss of being “divorced from reality.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who supports Ms Truss, urged them to halt their “unnecessary attacks”.

He said: “Blue-on-blue is not going to help the Conservative Party win the next election.”

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