Wrexham and Clwyd South's MPs have confirmed who they will be backing in the Conservative leadership race.

Following announcements of candidacy by a number of MPs who are hoping to succeed Boris Johnson, Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton and Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes have shared their thoughts on who should take up the post.

Sarah Atherton MP said: "I’m backing Penny Mordaunt; a politician with integrity, empathy, a team player, who holds core conservative values with a solid plan to tackle what impacts most – the cost of living. 

"Penny’s commitment to supporting families up and down the country is genuine, serious, and significant. 

"This is shown by her promise to lower taxes and cut VAT on fuel at the pump by 50 per cent. 

"As a strong Brexiteer, I wholly believe that Penny will honour and deliver my constituents’ wishes of safeguarding Brexit, taking advantage of the opportunities, and keep our borders secure. 

"Her experience in trade, the economy, and as Secretary of State for Defence, will galvanise our party and unite us in a common aim – to win the next General Election."

Simon Baynes MP said: "As a Boris loyalist who backed him until the end, I have found the leadership campaign upsetting and difficult to navigate. 

"Now that Priti Patel, whom I urged to stand, has withdrawn from the race, I have decided to back Rishi Sunak as I think he is the best placed in terms of ability and experience to be Prime Minister at this exceptionally difficult time both at home and abroad.

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"I have either spoken to all the leadership candidates or seen them speak in a hustings meeting and I have had many private conversations with colleagues about them. 

"They are a diverse, highly talented and compassionate group of people who are a great credit to the modern Conservative Party which has, in turn, made making my choice even more difficult.

"I have chosen to support Rishi Sunak on ability and experience but recognise that he still has a great deal of persuading to do with not only my band of Boris loyalists but also the membership of the Conservative Party who will make the final choice between the two candidates shortlisted by us as MPs. 

"There are four main reasons why I am supporting him: [firstly] due to his government experience, particularly during the Covid crisis where he excelled in supporting people and businesses throughout the pandemic, Rishi can hit the ground running as PM, a necessity in these troubled times.

"[Secondly] he is right to be cautious about immediate tax cutting as there are also massive spending priorities that we face such as helping people with the cost of living, social care for the elderly, increasing defence spending and funding our support for the war in Ukraine which I think is of paramount geopolitical importance.

"[Thirdly] I had a chance to see him at work since I was elected in 2019 and have been impressed by not only his exceptional intelligence, imaginative ideas, good communication skills and administrative ability but also by the interest he has always shown in us as colleagues, particularly as new backbenchers. This is a vital aspect of good leadership and one at which Boris excelled. And this accessibility and collegiate approach will be very important in bringing the party together after the leadership race has finished.

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"[Finally] Rishi is a compassionate politician and not divisive by character - these are important attributes for taking the country forward and persuading people to continue supporting the Conservative Party in the future.

"Over the next week, MPs will vote on reducing the list of 9 candidates down to two via a series of ballots which start today and finish by Wednesday next week. 

"Two names then go before the membership of the Conservative Party and the winner will be declared on September 5 in time to take part in his or her first PMQs as our new Prime Minister."

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