NADINE Dorries and Jacob Rees-Mogg have both backed Liz Truss to take over as Tory leader.

The two Tories, who were brought into Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and showed fierce loyalty, announced they would be supporting the Foreign Secretary’s bid for leadership in a joint press conference on Downing Street.

Rees-Mogg said Truss, a former remainer, had been his “strongest supporter in Cabinet in getting Brexit opportunities”.

The North East Somerset MP was handed the “Brexit opportunities” brief in a reshuffle in February which saw him lose his role as leader of the House of Commons.

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Dorries added that Truss (below) was “probably a stronger Brexiteer than both of us”, suggesting that she would offer the closest to continuity from Johnson’s government and 2019 campaign pledges.

The National: Liz Truss in Sarajevo

Asked if Truss was the “stop Rishi [Sunak]” candidate, Rees-Mogg said she was the “best candidate”, claiming she would move forward with tax cuts which he called “proper Conservatism”.

The news comes after Grant Shapps ended his bid for leadership, instead falling behind former chancellor Sunak.

Shapps wrote on Twitter: “Huge thanks to my team for helping to pull together my leadership bid in literally no time! Amongst a field of brilliant candidates I've spoken to @RishiSunak who I believe has the competence and experience to lead this country.”

He was joined by Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, who also threw his weight behind Sunak.

Raab told press: “During this contest you may just hear one or other candidate talk about tax cuts, just remember this: while others talk the talk, Rishi this month delivered the biggest tax cut for working people in a decade.”

The National:

Sunak will receive heavyweight support from another former chancellor, Norman Lamont, who said Sunak has the courage to take the “tough decisions” needed to deal with the “extremely serious” economic situation.

Candidates require the support of 20 MPs in order to make the leadership contest, with nominations closing on Tuesday at 6pm.

Under the timetable set out by 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, the first ballot of MPs will take place on Wednesday, with candidates failing to get 30 votes being eliminated. A second vote is expected on Thursday.

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The process is then likely to continue into next week, with the candidate with the lowest vote dropping out until the list is whittled down to just two – who will go forward into a ballot of party members.

By Tuesday morning, Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat looked to already have the declared backers to make the threshold of 20.

Several other candidates – including Truss, Nadhim Zahawi, Jeremy Hunt and Kemi Badenoch – were close enough before nominations formally opened to suggest they will be in the race.

Insiders from Sajid Javid’s campaign were also confident of making the cut, as were allies of Suella Braverman.

Rehman Chishti’s low-key campaign does not appear to have caught the imagination of his colleagues and he may well fall at the first hurdle.

Sunak – who has the most declarations of support so far – is alone among the contenders to succeed Johnson in not promising immediate tax cuts if he wins.

Tugendhat, the chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, who has already said he would reverse the rise in national insurance and cut fuel, said further measures are needed to boost economic growth.

In a speech on Tuesday, he will set out his 10-year plan for growth to address the UK’s lagging productivity, with investment in skills and infrastructure as well tax breaks for research and development.

Ahead of his speech, former soldier Tugendhat said: “Tax cuts cannot be the only round in the magazine to fire growth in the economy.”