PENNY Mordaunt launched her leadership bid on Sunday morning and got off to a flying start as an athlete asked to be removed from her promotional video.

Embarrassing gaffes aside, Mordaunt has been labelled as a dark horse in the contest and gathered some support among Scottish Tories with John Lamont publicly backing the trade minister.

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Penny Mordaunt.

Who is Penny Mordaunt?

Mordaunt is currently serving as trade minister but has previously held different positions under Theresa May, including International Development Secretary, Defence Secretary - becoming the first woman to hold the position- and minister for equalities and women.

She has served as the MP for Portsmouth North since 2010.

Mordaunt supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum and has previously been described as a "socially liberal" Brexiteer.

What is Penny Mordaunt pledging?

So far Mordaunt’s campaign has focussed more on leadership qualities than flagship policies, but she has committed to cutting VAT on fuel by 50% and reviewing tax thresholds for basic and middle incomes.

Her campaign messaging has heavily featured the phrase: “Our leadership needs to become a little less about the leader and a lot more about the ship.”

She has also gone to great lengths to distance herself from accusations that she is “woke” and a “committed warrior for the trans lobby”.

In a string of tweets posted early on Monday morning, Mordaunt stressed that there was a difference between “biological women” and people who were “legally female”.

This seemed to be a departure from her stance in 2018 when she declared in the Commons that “Trans men are men and trans women are women”.

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What is Penny Mordaunt saying about Scotland?

Following the lead of a number of other leadership hopefuls, Mordaunt has ruled out the prospect of indyref2 if she becomes Prime Minister.

Speaking to the Scottish Daily Mail, Mordaunt said: “I won't play Nicola Sturgeon's games by talking about indyref2.

“Another divisive referendum is the wrong priority. It's the last thing Scotland needs.

“We cannot allow the SNP to distract and divide us all over again. Now is the time to unite across our United Kingdom and focus on tackling the cost of living crisis, boosting economic growth, creating jobs and supporting businesses.”

Who is backing Penny Mordaunt?

Mordaunt has enjoyed the support of some Tories north of the Border with John Lamont describing her as an “effective communicator” and a strong backer of the Union.

Mordaunt has quickly become one of the favourites in the contest, boasting 67 votes in the first ballot and 34 public backers.

Andrea Leadsom, former secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said the trade minister “has the values, drive and conviction of her beliefs to move our country forward”.

Outspoken MP for Lichfield Michael Fabricant tweeted: “Penny Mordaunt shares my socially liberal views but, like me, will ensure there will be no compromise on the British wish for a clean break with the #EU… She was also a 1st rate Armed Forces Minister and will be tough with #Russia.”

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Former cabinet minister David Davis declared his support for Mordaunt on Tuesday, while Shapps’ former backers James Davies and Trudy Harrison shifted their allegiances to the MP for Portsmouth North on Wednesday.

Full list of supporters: John Lamont, Nicola Richards, Michael Fabricant, Kieran Mullen, Alicia Kearns, Craig Tracey, Robbie Moore, Harriet Baldwin, Caroline Ansell, George Freeman, Derek Thomas, Elliot Colburn, Damian Collins, Maria Miller, Andrea Leadsom, Theo Clark, James Sunderland, Duncan Baker, James Gray, Caroline Dinenage, Sarah Atherton, Kate Griffiths, Bob Seely, David Davis, Alberto Costa, John Baron, John Penrose, James Davies, Jerome Mayhew, Sir Mike Penning, Mims Davies, Jill Mortimer, Trudy Harrison, Luke Evans.

What is Penny Mordaunt’s voting record?

Mordaunt has consistently voted in favour of same-sex marriage, including for armed forces personnel and in Northern Ireland. She also voted in favour of abortion in certain circumstances for people in Northern Ireland.

She voted in favour of mass surveillance of people’s communications activities, including the mass retention of information on people's internet usage.

Mordaunt has generally voted against measures to tackle climate change, including voting against a measure requiring a "climate and nature emergency impact statement" as part of any proposal for financial assistance under the Internal Market Act.