Five Indian-origin MPs declared their support: three for Boris Johnson and two favour Dominic Raab

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New Delhi:  As leading candidates to replace Prime Minister Theresa May set out their stalls in the leadership election, five Indian-origin Conservative MPs declared their support: three back Boris Johnson and two favour Dominic Raab.

Promises by Johnson of withholding the ‘divorce bill’ from EU to get a better deal, or he and other candidates offering tax cuts became the subject of intense debate, as the deadline to file nominations for the contest ended at 5 pm on Monday.

The declared support by Conservative MPs to the 10 contenders is being carefully monitored to indicate their level of support among the 318 party MPs, who will vote in the first phase of the two-phase election.

The MPs will whittle down the number of candidates to two through several rounds of voting that will eliminate contenders with the least number of votes. The second phase will see 1.2 lakh party members vote on the two candidates, with the result declared in week beginning July 22.

The three Indian-origin MPs supporting Johnson – who also faces much opposition – are junior minister Rishi Sunak (son-in-law of Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy), minister of state Alok Sharma, and former international development secretary Priti Patel.

Raab is supported by former junior ministers Shailesh Vara and Suella Braverman.

After Johnson, contenders with the most support so far are foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt and environment secretary Michael Gove. Home secretary Sajid Javid, who has been gaining some support, is among contenders with the least support.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said promises of tax cuts and spending increases coming by the candidates will horrify bureaucrats in the Treasury grappling with budget cuts and a slowing economy.

 

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