Tory Chaos As Minister Is Forced To Insist Rishi Sunak Will Still Be Leader At The Election

BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (L) and Conservative MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke Jack Lopresti (R) listen to information on engine development during a visit to the Rolls-Royce manufacturing facility on March 14, 2024 in Bristol, England. The Prime Minister met with apprentices, was shown the Rolls-Royce Typhoon and naval engines before opening their new 'Future Works' facility. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

A government minister was forced to insist Rishi Sunak will still be the Tory leader come the general election amid mounting speculation he could be ousted by his own MPs.

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt is being tipped by Conservative backbenchers to replace the prime minister before the country goes to the polls later this year.

Incredibly, she would be the country’s fourth PM since the last election in 2019 if that were to happen.

One rebel backbencher told HuffPost UK “bring it on” when told about the plan to install Mordaunt in No.10 at Sunak’s expense.

On Sky News this morning, transport secretary Mark Harper urged his Tory colleagues to stand by Sunak.

Presenter Trevor Phillips asked him: “Will Rishi Sunak still be leader of your party at the next general election?”

Harper replied: “Yes he will and he’ll take us into that election and he’ll set out very clearly that we’re a government with a plan.

“The plan is working, we’re driving down inflation, we’re reducing people’s taxes, we have the answers for the challenges facing the country in the future. We’re the only party that’s got a plan to deal with the priorities of the country.

“He’ll take us into that election, he’ll set out the choice and I’m confident that when he sets out the choice between our party with a plan, a labour party without a plan, that we’ll get that support from the public.

“I’m going to support him all the way through and I’m confident that my colleagues will.”

Asked what he would say to Tory MPs who want Sunak replaced, Harper said: “I spend my time as transport secretary focusing on what I think is the right thing for the country, making decisions that I think are sensible.

“That is the approach that the prime minister takes as well. He focuses on making the right decisions, even if in the short-term they’re not necessarily popular.

“He had to take tough decisions when he became prime minister to get inflation down from 11.1% down to 4%. I’m confident those decisions will pay off.”

HuffPost UK reported yesterday how Conservative MPs are in despair in the wake of Lee Anderson’s defection to Reform UK and the row over Tory donor Frank Hester’s comments about Diane Abbott.

One said: “This feels like the week where it’s started to fall apart completely.

“But that’s good because it’s been needed to to get people to do something – there is no outcome other than total disaster if we don’t change course.”