As candidates line up to become the next Conservative leader and Prime Minister, we take a look at one of the least well-known names in the list, Rehman Chishti…

Who is Rehman Chishti?

He is a British-Pakistani MP who has been the representative for Gillingham and Rainham since he was elected in 2010 aged just 31.

He has remained on the backbenches for pretty much all his tenure, other than a brief stint as a vice-chairman of the Conservative party and a year on Boris Johnson’s special envoy for religious freedom.

Last week amid an avalanche of resignations, he finally achieved ministerial status becoming a third-tier minister in the Foreign Office.

He wasn’t even Conservative back in 2005 when he ran for Labour in the General Election.

It’s fair to say, as Chishti – who grew up in Kent - is relatively unknown compared to other candidates, he’s probably the most unlikely of the hopefuls to secure the 20 nominations required to progress to the next stage.

What pledges has he made?

Chishti has promised “aspirational Conservatism, fresh ideas, fresh team for a fresh start taking our great country forward.”

In his campaign launch video he stands in the countryside talking about how he moved to the UK when he was six in 1984 and speaks about polices including lower tax and a focus on improved mental wellbeing.

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What has he said about Scotland?

He hasn’t said a huge amount publicly of late, in contrast to the likes of Jeremy Hunt and Sajid Javid who have ruled out the prospect of a second independence referendum for a decade.

However, he has shown his colours in his voting record on Scottish matters, almost always voting against transferring more powers to Holyrood.

In 2020, he voted not to require the consent of relevant devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before regulations implementing international trade deals which would be within scope of their powers can be made.

Also in that year, he voted against distinct immigration policy for Scotland.

In 2018, he voted against required approval of the UK’s negotiating aims for international trade agreements from the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly.

In 2017, he voted not to allow the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to modify EU law retained as UK law following the UK's withdrawal from the EU.

Who has backed him?

So far Chishti has struggled to find any supporters and has only been backed by, you guessed it, himself.