Not only is Miss. Mordaunt is urging Britons to vote for Brexit, but she also played a minor, if memorable, role in the campaign, warning that Turkish migrants would flock to the UK when their own country joined the European Union, which she said the UK would not be able to block. The claim was wrong: Britain, like other members, had the right to veto Turkey’s membership.
She is viewed with suspicion by Brexit supporters for another reason: she voted for Prime Minister Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit deal.
RS. Mordaunt combines an interest in security and a military background with views on social issues that are moderately progressive by Tory party standards. For example, she spoke out in defense of the rights of transgender people, which got her in trouble with the cultural activists on the right of the party.
In an effort to defuse the situation, Mr. Mordaunt said last week that transgender women “are not biological women like me, but the law recognizes them in the new field, and this is very simple and understandable.”
Of course, in Tory politics it is neither.
During the televised debate on Friday evening, M. Mordaunt was again under pressure on this issue: one of her opponents, Kemi Badenoch, asked if she had retreated from her previous position. Critics said that Mr. Mordaunt’s performance was wobbly and unfocused.
Analysts say the unsettled nature of the contest has made it particularly violent. mr. Sunak, an early leader, has been attacked by Mr. Johnson’s allies, who view his resignation less than two weeks ago, setting the stage for the prime minister’s fall, as a betrayal. mr. Sunak’s tax policy as chancellor has been criticized by Jacob Rees-Mogg, with whom he sat in cabinet just a few days ago. mr. Rees-Mogg declined to deny reports that he called the policy, which included tax increases, “socialist.”