Whose backing who?
With the race for the leadership of the Conservative party under way, how will our Somerset MPs vote? The five we usually cover are whittled down to four, as David Warburton is unable to vote. Mr Warburton currently sits as a Independent MP having had the Conservative whip withdrawn.
James Heappey, MP for Wells, has nothing to say on who he is backing just yet. However he did helpfully (not) say he would have backed Ben Wallace if he had stood. But Mr Wallace is not standing. So we are none the wiser.
Marcus Fysh, MP for Yeovil has come out and nailed his colours to the Liz Truss mast. The arch Brexiteer and member of the European Research Group has decided to be pragmatic. Truss voted remain but has managed to sound quite Brexity ever since the vote. In backing Truss he is joining fellow ERG member and North east Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Rebecca Pow, MP for Taunton has come out in support of Rishi Sunak. No doubt she is still hoping Rishi won’t notice that she called out Johnson’s questionable ethics only after he resigned.
That leaves Ian Liddell Grainger. We did ask the MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset who he would be backing. However we were told he would not be saying at this point in the contest.
For now the candidates for leadership have to secure the backing of Conservative MPs. Until we get to the last two candidates, that is the only electorate. Once the field is whittled down to two candidates, the choice is made by Conservative Party members.
Things will now move rapidly. Anyone who does not have 20 backers signed up by the end of today (Tuesday 12 July) will be rejected. There will be a vote among Conservative MPs on Wednesday and the minimum threshold there will be 30 MPs. The Leveller understands a further vote will take place on Thursday at which the lowest place candidate will be rejected.
MP for Somerton Frome does not currently sit in Parliament. His constituents are unrepresented and the enquiry shows no signs of progressing.