A HAMPSHIRE MP says Southampton-born Rishi Sunak should be the next leader of the Conservative Party.

With almost a month to go before the outcome of the leadership race is announced, Paul Holmes, Tory MP for Eastleigh, has thrown his support behind the ex-chancellor.

Posting on social media Mr Holmes said: "I’m supporting Rishi Sunak to lead us into the next election.

"He led the charge for a Solent Freeport and being from Southampton knows our challenges and how to solve them. I am convinced he’s ready for the challenges ahead."

Mr Holmes, 33, has represented Eastleigh since 2019.

He originally backed the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, in the Tory leadership race, but he was later eliminated from the contest.

Mr Holmes resigned as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Home Office in May following the publication of the Sue Gray report, which probed the Partygate scandal.

Speaking at the time Mr Holmes said he was shocked and angered by what happened "when so many people across Eastleigh followed the rules".

Following the subsequent resignation of Boris Johnson Mr Holmes added: “It is absolutely the right thing to do.

“Boris Johnson could not demand the confidence of the Conservative Parliamentary Party.”

Mr Sunak was once seen as the natural successor to Mr Johnson but political insiders say Liz Truss has emerged as the frontrunner.

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