Penny Mordaunt threw her weight behind Liz Truss as next Tory leader and UK PM | Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images

Defeated Tory leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt threw her weight behind Liz Truss, in a fresh boost for the current frontrunner in the race to replace Boris Johnson.

Speaking from the podium ahead of a Conservative leadership hustings, Mordaunt said she was backing Truss due to her “graft, her authenticity, her determination, her ambition for this country and her sense of duty.”

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“She for me is the hope candidate,” Mordaunt added. Truss, the U.K.’s foreign secretary, welcomed the support from a “great person, a great politician and a great patriot.”

Mordaunt was eliminated from the Tory leadership contest in the fifth round, after initially piling up endorsements from fellow MPs before being eclipsed by Truss. Truss is now going toe-to-toe with former Chancellor Rishi Sunak as the pair vie for the votes of the approximately 200,000 rank-and-file members of the Tory Party.

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Whoever wins will be crowned as Conservative leader and the next prime minister on September 5.

As the candidates tour local Conservative associations in an effort to woo the membership, Truss has emerged as the frontrunner.

A YouGov poll of the Tory membership from July 21 gave Truss an 18-point lead over Sunak, although one leading pollster, Sir John Curtice, told GB News Monday that he’d be wary of “confidently asserting” the foreign secretary’s dominance in the race with weeks to go.

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“We have to bear in mind that since Tory MPs decided that this was the contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, we have had one, I repeat one, opinion poll of the people who will actually have a vote — that is Conservative members,” he said.

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