Updated: Views of the confirmed Tory leadership contenders

Eight candidates made it through to the contest for Conservative leader and prime minister tonight.

Kemi Badenoch, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Nadhim Zahawi, each gained at least 30 nominations.

Two candidates, Sajiv Javid and Raymond Chishti, withdrew this evening. Grant Shapps left the race this morning.

The first round of voting is tomorrow afternoon.

DrillOrDrop has been looking at the background of the candidates and their attitudes to fracking, fossil fuels and climate change. We have listed them in alphabetical order. You can also catch up here for the results of the contest.

Kemi Badenoch

MP for Saffron Walden and former equalities minister

Ms Badenoch today opposed the current government’s net zero policy. She said told her campaign launch:

“Too many policies, like net zero targets, set up with no thought to the effects on industries in the poorer parts of this country.

“The consequence is simply to displace emissions to other countries – unilateral economic disarmament. That is why we need to change and that is why I’m running to be leader.”

She told the Telegraph, the net zero target was “ill-thought through” and politicians had become “hooked on the idea of the state fixing the majority of problems”

The former computer software engineer, systems analyst and Conservative Party vice chair has been an MP since 2017.

Suella Braverman

Attorney general and MP for Fareham

Ms Braverman said she would suspend what she called “the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050”.

Writing in the Express, she said:

“In order to deal with the energy crisis, we need to suspend the all-consuming desire to achieve net zero by 2050. If we keep it up, especially before businesses and families can adjust, our economy will end up with net zero growth.”

She had a 100% record voting for government plans to regulate shale gas extraction. She also voted in favour of stopping climate change in 9% of the relevant votes.

Ms Braverman previously said she was in favour of fracking:

“I fully understand and appreciate people’s concerns about fracking, but let me reassure you that the Government is creating a regulatory regime that provides clear, strong protections for the environment. With these in place, I think it is right that we explore and make use of shale gas and oil. The opportunity to extract this energy, as well as to secure jobs and investment, cannot be ignored.

“The Government has introduced draft regulations to Parliament that define the areas in which fracking will be banned. I can assure you that National Parks are covered by these protections, and as such, fracking cannot take place at depths of less than 1,200 metres in these areas. The

“The UK has one of the best track records in the world when it comes to protecting our environment while also developing our industries, and Ministers have assured me that that this experience will be brought to bear on the shale gas protections. The industry will be developed safely with world class environmental protections, creating jobs and delivering better energy security, while all the time safeguarding some of our most precious landscapes.”

Jeremy Hunt

Chair of the parliamentary health and social care committee, MP for South West Surrey and former foreign and health secretary

Mr Hunt recently protested about the grant of planning permission for gas exploration near the village of Dunsfold in his constituency.

He wrote to the then levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, saying ministerial approval of the scheme ignored the strength of local opinion and went against government commitments to devolution of powers and net zero. He said:

“I cannot see how this site has any role to play in our future energy supply needs. It will take years to ascertain if there is anything worth actually drilling commercially for by which point we will be well on our way to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. In short, it will create enormous disruption and environmental damage for little if any economic benefit.”

The developer, UKOG, rejected his criticism.

Mr Hunt had campaigned against the scheme. He said at a rally of local people in January 2022:

“It is absolutely extraordinary after COP26 in Glasgow that we are even thinking about drilling for oil and gas in this area. And you can see, by the huge number of people here representing all the local political parties, that we are completely united in our opposition.

“We are opposed on both local environmental grounds because of the impact the huge lorries and HGVs will have – and you’re about to see a human carbon neutral demonstration of what that might be.

“But we are also against it because we know that just under a third of all emissions are caused by generating electricity for human use through non-sustainable purposes. And that is why we have to get off the habit of using oil and gas for our everyday electricity and this is taking us in exactly the wrong direction.”

He backed the 2008 Climate Change Act and claimed to have secured the UK presidency of COP26. In He lobbied for the use of single-use plastics to be removed from parliament.

Penny Mordaunt

MP for Portsmouth North and former international development secretary

Ms Mordaunt voted for government policy on the regulation of fracking in the Infrastructure Bill and onshore hydraulic fracturing regulations.

She opposed explicitly requiring an environmental permit for hydraulic fracturing activities and voted not to require a review of the impact of fracking on climate change, the environment, economy, health and safety.

In votes on proposals to reduce climate change, 28% of her votes were in favour.

As the local MP, she received a copy of Portsmouth City Council’s objection to the expansion of drilling for oil by UKOG at Markwells Wood in the South Downs National Park.

Rishi Sunak

MP for Richmond, Yorkshire and former chancellor,

In May 2022, Mr Sunak imposed a 25% windfall tax on oil and gas producers, estimated to raise £5bn in one year.

But the scheme was criticised by environmental campaigners when it was tweaked to allow companies to offset the cost of electrification of producing fields and decommissioning old wells against the tax.

The government said the tax relief was “not technically a subsidy”. The New Economics Foundation said this risked short changing the public, with an estimated third of the tax being returned in relief. Fossil fuel projects that were expected to qualify could create 899 million tonnes of co2, it was estimated.

In February 2022, he was accused of hypocrisy and siding with oil and gas industry by encouraging fossil fuel investments

In his speech to the COP26 climate talks in November 2021, he said the UK would be the world’s first finance centre aligned to net zero emissions by 2050. He said large UK companies would be forced to show how they would reach net zero carbon emissions, as part of the “rewiring” of the global financial system. The UK would commit £100m to the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance – to make it easier for developing countries to get the money they needed.

In his spending review in October 2021, environmentalists accused him of extending the fossil fuel age. Less than a week before the start of COP26, the package was described as “shockingly bad”, “shameful” and likely to increase carbon emissions at a time when tackling climate change should have been the centrepiece.

He voted for government proposals for regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Along with other contenders, he voted against Labour’s amendment to block the new policing bill, which aimed to criminalise some non-violent protest.

Liz Truss

Foreign secretary and MP for South West Norfolk

Ms Truss has not spoken recently about fracking. But she defended the process when it was government policy.

In September 2015, she said a study by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering showed it was “perfectly possible to frack safely and in an environmentally friendly way”.

Earlier, in January that year, she initially refused to publish an internal document on the impact of fracking, which predicted house prices in shale gas areas could fall. It was “not analytically robust” or “signed off by ministers”, she said.

Also that month, she said in parliament:

“I am clear that fracking has a huge potential to provide jobs and growth and lower our energy costs. That is why it is so important that we proceed with this vital technology”.

Tom Tugendhat

Chair of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, MP for Tonbridge and Malling

Voting analysts conclude Mr Tugendhat has consistently opposed measures to prevent climate change. But his comments in print have been mixed.

In January 2022, writing in the Daily Mail, he said:

“The price of European gas has also risen by 350 per cent in a year, putting it around ten times the cost in the US, where fracking has helped keep prices more or less stable.”

But he wrote in January 2020:

“climate change is one of the greatest challenges we face and I fully appreciate the urgency in our need to combat it.

In October 2020, he voted not to require ministers to have due regard to the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when taking actions including setting up agricultural subsidy schemes.

The month before, he voted not to require a “climate and nature emergency impact statement” as part of any proposal for financial assistance under a United Kingdom Internal Market Act.

In October 2019, he voted against a motion calling on the government “to rebuild the economy so that it works in the interest of the many, not just handing out rewards to those at the top” and bring forward “a green industrial revolution to decarbonise the economy and boost economic growth”.

In May 2019, he opposed a reduction in the permitted carbon dioxide emission rate of new homes.

ThePublicWhip estimates that he always voted for Conservative policy on fracking and just 4% of votes would support stopping climate change.

Nadhim Zahawi

Chancellor and MP for Stratford on Avon

The former oil industry executive supported shale gas extraction when it was government policy.

He told Conservative Home in November 2014:

“Getting shale up and running is a top priority, which is why we’ve brought in a package of community benefits and strong environmental protections so we take people with us on this.

“Of course energy security also has to be delivered in the context of a legally binding framework on carbon emissions, which requires us to add more renewables to the mix. I fully accept the science on climate change, but there are also sound non-environmental reasons for diversifying our energy portfolio.”

He also said then:

“This is also a strong argument for the development of UK shale, but we can’t bet the farm on one industry which is still in its infancy.”

He was a member of the parliamentary committee looking at the Infrastructure Bill in December 2014


Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove and former health minister, has withdrawn from the election, as has Raymond Chishti, MP for Gillingham.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, has confirmed she is not standing.

Grant Shapps, the former transport secretary and MP for Welwyn Hatfield, withdrew this morning.

Round One: Wednesday 13 July 2022

Rishi Sunak 88

Penny Mordaunt 67

Liz Truss 50

Kemi Badenoch 40

Tom Tugendhat 37

Suella Braverman 32


Nadhim Zahawi 25

Jeremy Hunt 18

Round 2: Thursday 14 July 2022

Through to next round

Rishi Sunak 101

Penny Mordaunt 83

Liz Truss 64

Kemi Badenoch 49

Tom Tugendhat 32


Suella Braverman 27

Round 3: Monday 18 July 2022

Rishi Sunak 115

Penny Mordaunt 82

Liz Truss 71

Kemi Badnoch 58


Tom Tugendhat 31

Round 4: Tuesday 19 July 2022

Rishi Sunak 118

Penny Mordaunt 92

Liz Truss 86


Kemi Badenoch 59

Round 5: Wednesday 20 July 2022

Rishi Sunak 137

Liz Truss 113


Penny Mordaunt 105

1 reply »

  1. As contenders, I would hope they all realise their priority during their two years will be to get growth moving in UK and reduce cost of living, particularly focused upon the “Blue Wall” seats. Not to placate a few noisy protestors.

    Looks to be between Penny and Liz. Both of whom will need the support of the more radical right to get elected, so could be interesting to see how the next Cabinet reflects that support.

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