Live – Sir John Major says the cabinet sat by silently while the law was broken

BREAKING: Twitter sues Elon Musk for terminating his $44 billion takeover deal

BREAKING: Twitter sues Elon Musk for terminating his $44 billion takeover deal

4.34 pm – Ministers are closing ranks around their preferred candidate for party leader, Rishi Sunak.

Health minister Gillian Keegan has joined among others Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab in throwing their support behind the former chancellor in his bid to be the next party leader.

She told Sky News: “We’re facing really quite challenging times in our country. I think serious times need serious people.

“He’s got proven experience. Obviously, he navigated some really tricky things during the pandemic.

“He got it right. I like his honesty, and integrity.”

4 pm – In an appeal to Johnson supporters Rishi Sunak has called on party members not to demonise him, saying he is a “remarkable man.”

Sunak went on to criticise his rivals’ tax-cut promises, dismissing them as “not credible” until the rate of inflation is brought under control.

3.45 pm – Sir John Major has come out and criticised senior Tory party members who he says “sat aside silently when they should’ve been speaking out.”

The thinly-veiled swipe at some of the leading candidates comes at a crucial time during the election race, but it remains to be seen whether it has any impact on the final outcome.

Attacking the cabinet specifically during a House of Commons Committee meeting on Tuesday, July 12, Sir Major said he knew the government had “broken the law” and had “risked pulling our constitution into threads” but that cabinet members only spoke out “when their silence became self-damaging.”

He added: “What has been done in the last three years has damaged our country at home and overseas and I think has damaged the reputation of parliament as well

“The blame for these lapses must lie principally – principally, but not only – with the prime minister, but many in his cabinet are culpable too and so are those outside the cabinet who cheered him on.

3.29 pm – Latest reports are that four candidates have managed to muster sufficient support to get past the first round, with Rishi Sunak the leading candidate.

The other three candidates said to have reached the magic number of 20 supporters are Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat. The latter is however said to be saving his reserve votes for the next round in a game of cat and mouse.

3:04 pm – Reports are coming in that Home Secretary Priti Patel has decided not to enter the Tory leadership election race, effectively ruling herself out.

A statement released by Patel, who has yet to endorse a candidate said:

“I am grateful for the encouragement and support colleagues and party members have offered me in recent days in suggesting that I enter the contest for the leadership of the Conservative Party. I will not be putting my name forward for the ballot of MPs.

“As home secretary I have always put the security and safety of our country and the national interest first and my focus is to continue working to get more police on our streets, support our amazing security services to keep our country safe and control our borders.

“As a lifelong and committed Conservative, I will always make the case for freedom, enterprise and opportunity and work with colleagues to deliver these values in government. Like all Conservative MPs and party members, I will be listening to cases being put forward by the candidates standing for the leadership of the party and trust the contest will be conducted in a good spirit that brings our party together.”

With the home secretary backing out, the nine MPs who previously endorsed her candidacy will now be being courted by the other contenders.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at