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Will Ben Wallace be next to announce his bid for Tory leadership?

Will Ben Wallace be next to announce his bid for Tory leadership?

  • Tory MP Ben Wallace has a Conservative leadership campaign team ready to go
  • The Defence Secretary is a favourite with some bookies to replace Boris Johnson
  • Last night supporters said he was still discussing with his family whether to enter

Ben Wallace has a leadership campaign team ready to go – but was still holding fire last night.

The Defence Secretary is a favourite with some bookies to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader and has topped a YouGov poll of potential runners.

But last night supporters said he was still discussing with his family whether to enter the contest.

Armed Forces minister James Heappey, who is understood to be managing Mr Wallace’s campaign, told The Daily Telegraph: ‘One of the things I most like about Ben is he has spent the last 48 hours thinking really hard about whether he wants to do it. It’s so typically Ben that he understands it is a massive responsibility and wants to make sure he is ready for it, and if he is, he will make a great prime minister.’

Former Scottish secretary David Mundell, who is also said to be involved in the leadership campaign, said he would support father-of-three Mr Wallace, 52, if he stood. ‘His decency and integrity is not in question,’ he added.

Ben Wallace has a leadership campaign team ready to go – but was still holding fire last night

New Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi (right) chats at the Spectator summer party in Westminster


Suella Braverman (left), the Attorney General, has thrown her hat in the ring for the Tory leadership contest – although she has been given slim odds. Jeremy Hunt (right) is also mulling another run


Chancellor Rishi Sunak (right) and trade minister Penny Mordaunt (left) are among the bookies’ favourites to replace Mr Johnson, as the field of candidates begins to take shape

‘We’ve had too much drama recently and he is ideally placed to bring in a period of calm, competent leadership.’

Mr Wallace held off announcing his candidacy even after former chancellor Rishi Sunak launched his campaign yesterday.

Several other likely candidates, including Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt, are also yet to declare.

Mr Wallace, a former Army officer, is expected to attract support from across the Conservative parliamentary party. He remained loyal to his close friend Mr Johnson and did not resign from the Cabinet. Supporters speak of his strong sense of duty and service. He is also considered a ‘safe pair of hands’ after leading the UK’s military effort in Ukraine – and before that the mission to rescue UK nationals and entitled persons from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in August 2021.


Liz Truss (left) will pitch herself as the female Boris Johnson in the Tory leadership race – a candidate who can win seats both in the South and the Red Wall

At the end of 2021 the Chancellor was the number one candidate to succeed Boris Johnson.

The YouGov poll earlier this week asked Conservative Party members to name their preferred candidate. Mr Wallace won 13 per cent of the votes, ahead of Miss Mordaunt on 12 per cent, Mr Sunak on 10 per cent and Miss Truss on 8 per cent.

Mr Hunt trailed in joint eighth on just 5 per cent, the same as new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi.

Earlier this year, the Defence Secretary topped a ‘satisfaction rating’ poll for Government ministers, with 79.7 per cent of respondents saying he was doing a good job. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss polled second on 66.7 per cent.

Mr Wallace, MP for Wyre and Preston North, has repeatedly sought to present himself as a reluctant leadership candidate. But he has never ruled himself out of running.

Last night, a supporter said: ‘He’s decent, straight-talking and has a real sense of duty and service… He’s got a good sense of humour too, even when things go wrong.

‘But [running for leader] remains an if. Right now he is discussing it with his family and those he loves.’

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