'We deserve honourable leadership' - MP speaks out after campaign blow
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
The MP for Great Yarmouth has said he hopes the Conservative Party leadership campaign is carried out in a constructive spirit for the benefit of the country.
Brandon Lewis made his comments as he faced disappointment in the race to find the new leader for the party after the candidate he backed was voted out of the contest.
Mr Lewis had been running chancellor Nadhim Zahawi's leadership election campaign as Conservative Party heavyweights jostle to replace Boris Johnson.
But on Wednesday Mr Zahawi - along with MP Jeremy Hunt - did not secure enough votes to progress to the next round of the leadership contest with six candidates now left.
Mr Zahawi had been appointed chancellor last week by the embattled Mr Johnson, who announced he would be resigning on Thursday, July 7.
Last week also saw Mr Lewis resign from his role as Northern Ireland secretary.
Mr Lewis' resignation saw him say honesty, integrity and mutual respect were not being upheld by Mr Johnson's government.
Following Mr Zahawi’s leadership bid failure, Mr Lewis said: "I am incredibly proud to have chaired Nadhim’s leadership campaign and I must pay tribute to him and the character and decency he has shown throughout.
"This leadership contest is the most diverse in modern British history - as a former party chairman I am heartened by the depth and breadth of talent that stands before the party to become its next leader.
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"I supported and chaired Nadhim’s campaign because I believe he would make a fine leader for the Conservative Party and possesses the vision, determination and leadership that would make him a fine prime minister.
"I still believe he has so much to offer to our country. He will make a fine chancellor and possesses the skills and experience the UK needs to tackle our current national economic emergency.
"It is my hope that the remaining stages of the leadership contest are carried out in a constructive spirit, in the best interests of our party and the country.
"The British people deserve honourable and effective leadership."
When asked who Mr Lewis would now vote for as leader he did not respond.
The six Conservative leadership candidates left are: Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Braverman, Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch.
The next stage of the process was due to take place on Thursday with the candidate with the fewest votes eliminated.
The process continues until there are just two candidates.
The final pair will battle it out over the summer for the support of Conservative Party members, with the new leader announced on September 5.