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By Bishop of Leeds
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The Rundown Podcast: Rehman Chishti Has No Regrets

3 min read

Short-lived Tory leadership candidate Rehman Chishti joined Alain Tolhurst and Adam Payne to talk about why he threw his hat in the ring to be the next Prime Minister as the race to replace Boris Johnson heats up.

The foreign office minister suggested he launched his campaign too late, otherwise he may have had the support to make it through, as well as refusing to rule out another tilt at the top job despite getting no public declarations of support by his fellow Conservative MPs.

He also offered some advice for anyone else thinking of having a go at becoming leader.

“If you believe in yourself, then go for it," he said.

“If you feel you have skills to offer, then go for it because at the end of the day you can’t look back and think if only I had.”

Chishti was the 11th Tory to declare when he formally announced his bid on Sunday night. Candidates have since been whittled down to a shortlist of fivePoliticsHome discusses whether frontrunner Rishi Sunak is doing as well as expected, or if the former Chancellor would have hoped to have drawn more support from MPs in the first round of voting.

Similarly Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, was pushed into third place behind surprise favourite Penny Mordaunt, and is now embarking on an operation to scoop up the supporters of the other right-wing candidates Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch to try and make it into the final two and the run-off with the Tory party members.

Chishti, who eventually withdrew as the deadline to get 20 supporters drew near on Tuesday afternoon, is now backing the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and fellow Kent MP Tom Tugendhat.

"I think when it comes to courage, when it comes to having a vision, and when it comes to being resilient in the work that he did in the armed forces, Tom is somebody who I think will be amazing, leading our great country as we move forward into the next stage, for a fresh start,” he added.

On his own attempt to lead the party, the Gillingham MP said he had no regrets, and was not worried it was what he may be remembered for in the future.

“Hopefully what I would be remembered by is somebody who has self belief, and somebody who has the courage to stick by their conviction and put themselves forward,” he said.

"If you think you have what it takes, and you have something to offer, then you have to put yourself forward, and you have to have a vision and let others judge if that is that the right vision.”

He was asked why he felt he was the right man for the job, given the number of experienced candidates already in the race, and with little public profile of his own.

The former lawyer said after Johnson announced he was stepping down every Tory MP has a responsibility "to ask themselves the question, what direction of the party do we want to see, as we move forward, what skills do we have that we can put forward to serve our great country”.

Chishti added: “So I thought, you know, why not?”

  • For the full discussion listen to this week’s episode of The Rundown, out Friday


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