‘I am the clean start!’ Tugendhat lays down why he should be next Prime Minister

Tom Tugendhat insists he's 'going to win' the Tory leadership

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Speaking to GB News, the Tory leadership candidate said he was “very much” looking forward to the first televised contest debate on Friday evening as the remaining five candidates fight to be a part of the final two run out. Mr Tugendhat said he is “going to win this race” as he declined to say who he would back if he was the next to be eliminated. But he picked up only 32 votes in the second round of voting on Thursday, just five more than Suella Braverman, who was eliminated after finishing in last place. 

Mr Tugendhat said: “Tonight is the big event because what this is actually about is not just Conservative Party members, as important as they are, but actually about the country at large. 

“So, what we need to show, what everybody needs to show, is that they are able to communicate Conservative messages strongly and debate hard. 

“Because this is not actually a knife fight in a foam box, this is about governing the United Kingdom. “This is about changing the way our country is governed and in two years’ time that means bringing the fight to Labour.” 

Asked if he was looking forward to the debate, Mr Tugendhat said: “Very much.” 

He added: “[My preparation] is going very well. I’ve had a lot of fun and the reality is we are having huge amounts of debates amongst the team as to how we address different areas. 

“You’ve got to make the argument for the union, you’ve got to make the argument against the SNP for their failures in education and healthcare. 

“You’ve also got to make the argument against Labour for their total lack of leadership and absolute vagaries on everything. You’ve got to make the argument against the Lib Dems who are, well, I don’t know where they are frankly. 

“So, the whole thing is all about focussing on what we are going to deliver for the United Kingdom and about a clean start. 

“Because the way we are going to make this work is by changing the way in which the government works, bring trust and have a clean start.

“And as the only candidate who has not been in this government, I am the clean start. I am going to win this race.” 

Tory MP Jake Berry said it will be a “key weekend” for Tom Tugendhat as live debates begin in the Conservative Party leadership contest.

He said it has been an “extraordinary performance” for Mr Tugendhat to get this far.

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Mr Berry said: “He has had so much support from across the party, and wider, in terms of being able to get into this phase and to set out his case. It is all up in the air.” 

Mr Berry added it is up to the other candidates to prove they have fresh ideas for the party, saying: “I think the sense of a clean break is immensely important.”

Penny Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak have emerged as the frontrunners and are tipped to make it to the final two run-outs. 

In yesterday’s second round, both candidates gained votes on their first round tallies, with Mr Sunak crossing the threshold of 100MPs worth of support and Ms Mordaunt gaining 83 votes. 

Their nearest competitor is foreign secretary Liz Truss, who won 64 votes on Thursday. 

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