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Sir Robert Buckland announced he had switched his support in the ongoing Tory leadership race from ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss yesterday. The decision comes just days after ex-Health Minister Chris Skidmore defected to the Truss camp and while some insiders warn “the floodgates could open”.
Ms Truss, who finished behind Mr Sunak among Tory MPs, is currently leading the ex-Chancellor in the opinion polls.
A recent opinion poll by ConservativeHome put Ms Truss 32-points ahead of Mr Sunak among Tory Party members.
However, according to a Labour Party insider, Mr Sunak leaves Southside “more worried” than the Foreign Secretary.
Writing for the Telegraph, Sir Robert revealed he now thinks Ms Truss is the “right person to take our country forward”.
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The South Swindon MP, who returned to Mr Johnson’s Cabinet following July’s cabal just 10 months after he was sacked as Justice Secretary last September, said: “I know both candidates well and have worked with them in Government and in Cabinet.
“At the outset of the contest, I wrote for The Telegraph outlining what my underlying approach to this contest would be.
“I have looked at ideas and principles first, and personalities second.
“During the parliamentary rounds, I backed Rishi Sunak as I felt that he was at that stage embodying what we needed.”
However, the Llanelli-born Welsh Secretary added: “As the campaign has moved on, and as I have listened carefully to both candidates, I have thought deeply about the issues that move me and what I want to see the next Prime Minister doing.
“Changing your mind on an issue like this is not an easy thing to do, but I have decided that Liz Truss is the right person to take our country forward.”
Sir Robert highlighted how Ms Truss’ support for a British Bill of Rights and plan to address the country’s economic woes had also influenced his decision.
But Buckland released a video voicing support for Mr Sunak on July 14.
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During the 25-second clip, he said: “I’ve sat round the Cabinet table with Rishi Sunak and worked with him on the big issues in politics.
“I believe now is the time for serious leadership with integrity, good judgement and the clear thinking that we need in order to get through these challenging economic times.”