Tory leadership contest: Each candidate’s voting record

Penny Mordaunt is Tory's 'most electable' candidate says expert

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Candidates are making pledges this week on tax, immigration, and healthcare as they set out their plans to win over their fellow MPs and Tory members. One of the key issues on the minds of Tory voters is Brexit, and how each candidate has voted on Britain’s departure from the bloc will play a crucial role in deciding the new prime minister. Here is how each Tory leadership candidate has voted, according to

Kemi Badenoch – former equalities minister


Kemi Badenoch is a Brexiteer who, in her maiden speech in Parliament in 2017, called leaving the EU “the greatest ever vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom.”

She has consistently voted in favour of pro-Brexit policies, including voting against extending the UK-EU transition period in July 2020.


Ms Badenoch has voted for a stricter asylum system in the UK, including voting in favour of removing the right for unaccompanied children who are trying to join an adult family member legally present in the UK.

Climate change

The former equalities minister has voted against measures to prevent global warming, such as voting down a bill requiring ministers to take into account the UK’s net-zero emissions target when making agriculture policy.

Rishi Sunak – former chancellor


Rishi Sunak was one of the first senior Tory MPs to leave Boris Johnson’s government in a week of mass resignations.

Mr Sunak has said he is proud to have voted for Brexit, and his voting record shows he has consistently voted in favour of pro-Brexit bills.

Welfare and benefits

The former chancellor has voted to reduce spending on welfare and benefits. Speaking about out-of-work benefits in 2017, he said: “Universal credit is not perfect—no system so large and complex can be—and we should make improvements where we can, but it is significantly better than what it replaces.”

Social issues

Mr Sunak abstained on votes in the House of Commons on same-sex marriage, and in 2016 he voted in favour of repealing the Human Rights Act 1998.

Sajid Javid – former health secretary


Mr Javid backed the Remain campaign in 2016, but has also praised the Prime Minister for “getting Brexit done.”

He was one of the most senior Conservatives to resign from Mr Johnson’s Government along with Rishi Sunak on June 5.

Climate change

Mr Javid has voted against introducing new measures to tackle climate change.


In 2010, the former health secretary voted to raise university tuition fees to £9,000, a controversial bill which saw thousands of students protest around the UK.

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Jeremy Hunt – former health secretary


The former health secretary has a wealth of experience in government, and has consistently voted for a stricter asylum system.

Speaking on Brexit in 2018, he said: “Britain will be given unprecedented scope to co-operate with the EU to protect our citizens from terrorism and organised crime as we regain parliamentary control of our immigration policy.”

Local government

Mr Hunt has always voted in favour of reducing central government spending on local authorities.


In terms of investment in transport, The former health secretary has consistently voted in favour of HS2.

Tom Tugendhat – Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee


Tom Tugendhat has voted against paying higher benefits over a long period of time to disabled people.

He has also voted to reduce spending on welfare benefits overall.

Home affairs

Mr Tugendhat has voted in favour of introducing a stricter asylum system in the UK, as well as for the state collecting mass data of people’s internet usage.


He is a supporter of low taxes, and has voted to reduce Corporation Tax, as well as increasing the threshold for income tax, meaning people earn more before it is taxed.

Suella Braverman – UK Attorney General

Home affairs

Mrs Braverman has consistently voted down efforts to transfer more powers to the Welsh and Scottish parliaments.

She has also voted against lowering the voting age to 16, including against allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the EU referendum in 2016.


The Attorney General voted against allowed same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland in July 2019.

Climate change

On the environment, Mrs Braverman has almost always voted against introducing measures to prevent global warming.

Liz Truss – Foreign Secretary


Ms Truss backed the Remain campaign in 2016, but she was appointed trade secretary from 2019 to 2021, where she signed some of Britain’s biggest post-Brexit trade arrangements with countries such as Japan.

During the 2016 referendum campaign, she said: “I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or permit to work in Europe, or where they are hampered from growing a business because of extortionate call costs and barriers to trade.”


The Foreign Secretary has voted against making Britain’s railways and bus networks publicly owned.

Nuclear weapons

Ms Truss has consistently been a supporter of replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system, to use it as a deterrent to potential enemies.

Penny Mordaunt – Minister of State for Trade


Ms Mordaunt is a Brexiteer who was part of the Vote Leave campaign in 2016, a view which has won her favour among the Tory membership who view her as one of the favourites to win the leadership contest.

In December last year at the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, she described Brexit as a “massive opportunity to anyone who believes in democracy.”


Ms Mordaunt has consistently voted for reducing spending on welfare, and against increasing benefits in line with inflation.


On immigration, the Minister of State for Trade has voted to introduce stricter measures, including immigration checks on those opening bank accounts.

Nadhim Zahawi – Chancellor

The EU

Mr Zahawi wrote a letter to his constituents in 2016 outlining his reasons for backing Brexit, which included Britain’s relationship with the EU as being too constrained.

He wrote: “I believe that a vote to leave could be a fantastic opportunity to achieve this greater Britain we all want to see.”


Mr Zahawi has voted in favour of raising the threshold at which people start paying income tax. He vowed to cut income tax by 2p within two years of becoming prime minister, if he wins the Tory leadership election.

Social issues

On equality, the Chancellor has voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland, as well as to legalise abortion.

Rehman Chishti – Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs


Mr Chishti has generally voted against further EU integration, such as a UK customs union with the bloc.

He backed Mr Johnson to become Prime Minister in 2019 but resigned as a a special envoy in 2020 over a bill which gave ministers the power to rewrite elements of the UK’s withdrawal agreement.

Tax avoidance

He has voted for and against measures to tackle tax avoidance, including voting to raise the threshold for income tax.

The environment

Mr Chishti has voted to increase taxes on plane tickets, but overall he has voted down measures to tackle climate change. He was absent from a vote in February 2020 to eliminate most emissions in transport by 2030.

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