Local Tory MPs line up to back leadership bids as voting gets started

Health Secretary Matt Hancockis running for party leader but he hasn't got the support of any of hi

Health Secretary Matt Hancockis running for party leader but he hasn't got the support of any of his neighbours. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire - Credit: PA

As MPs start voting today for their choice of new party leader, most from Suffolk have now confirmed which way they will be voting in the early rounds of the contest.

The only MP from the county actually standing is West Suffolk MP and Health Secretary Matt Hancock. He has managed to secure the endorsement of the last two deputy Prime Ministers - Damian Green and incumbent David Liddington - but he has not got the backing of any of his neighbours.

The other five MPs have split their votes between several different candidates.

Only Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter has still to announce who will get his vote.

He said: "I'm still due to have meetings with two of the candidates and until I have spoken to them I won't finally make up my mind.

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"I think it comes down to a choice of one of two possible candidates - and I am leaning towards one. But I've got a meeting of my Conservative Association on Friday and I want them to be the first to hear who I'm supporting."

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill has followed South Suffolk MP in backing Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt who is now seen as second favourite in the race after his predecessor at the FO Boris Johnson.

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Waveney MP Peter Aldous has remained in the Michael Gove camp despite the Environment Secretary's admission that he used cocaine on several occasions when he was journalist more than 20 years ago.

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey has become the first in the county to back Mr Johnson who is seen as the strong favourite among grassroots Tories - many believe if he gets on to the final ballot paper for party members he will be unstoppable. She tweeted: "BoJo has the mojo to make Brexit happen and reach out to many parts of our country to deliver a better, brighter Britain."

Mr Johnson so far has 79 pledges of support from Conservative MPs according to the Conservative Home website. Mr Hunt has 37 and Mr Gove 34. Mr Hancock so far has only 16 - making him something of an outsider.

Among Essex MPs Priti Patel, James Cleverly and John Whittingdale have backed Mr Johnson and Will Quince is backing Mr Hunt.

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