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Iain Duncan Smith Says Liz Truss Has "Done The Most To Deliver Benefits Of Brexit"

3 min read

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has said he was backing the Foreign Secretary in the Conservative leadership race because he believes she has the strongest record over Brexit.

Smith was defending Truss's record on Brexit after she was criticised by some colleagues for having campaigned for Remain during the 2016 referendum.

Truss is currently in third place in the race to replace Boris Johnson after the second ballot of MPs on Thursday afternoon, but is lagging behind frontrunners Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt.

But in a boost to her campaign, she has received the backing of Attorney General Suella Braverman, who was eliminated on Thursday evening with 27 votes.

Braverman has urged all her backers to shift their support to Truss, saying she was the "best person to unite the party", adding she would be "the strong guardian of Brexit promises".

Duncan Smith, said he believed Truss had done more than the remaining candidates to "deliver the benefits of Brexit".

"Whether in trade deals with Australia or many others, or getting us back into the Transpacific partnership...but also when she's been at the Foreign Office, she has led, with the Defence Secretary on Ukraine and the Russian invasion," he told LBC on Friday.

"Also, she has been the one who has called out the threats on China. But importantly, she is leading on the protocol in Northern Ireland to help deliver Northern Ireland back into the UK and safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement – she has been very tough with the European Union over negotiations, so I think her record in government, amongst anyone else, she has actually delivered."

He added: "Every one of these people has been in government for two-and-a-half years, so the question really is, in that time, with the power, what did you do to deliver the benefits of Brexit to a country that chose to leave the European Union, otherwise there was no point in leaving.

"That is the critical test for me, and so far, I've heard and seen the most from Liz Truss."

Tonight will see the first of three televised leadership debates taking place over the weekend, with candidates having the opportunity to debate head-to-head on the key issues facing the country. Sunak and Tugendhat are expected to take part in Friday's debate. 

Supporters of Truss hope the debates will provide her an opportunity to shore up flagging support with Conservative Party members, with several polls showing Penny Mordaunt as the clear favourite over her rivals.

But Duncan Smith said the focus should continue to be on persuading fellow Tory MPs who will ultimately decide which of the candidates make it to the final two.

"The most important thing is not to look at what the polls say...the key thing amongst colleagues, which is a very different electorate from just the general public, is exactly who they are voting for," he said.

"We are not electing a leader of the Opposition. You have to have an absolute clear understanding of what people stand for."

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