East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds has given his backing to Rishi Sunak in the latest race to become Conservative Party leader and UK prime minister.

Mr Hinds backed Mr Sunak in his last Tory leadership campaign in the summer, and reaffirmed his support for the former chancellor in a Tweet on Friday morning.

He later said in a statement: “These have been and continue to be extremely difficult times.

“It is now crucial that we turn our focus to stability, as we grapple with the very difficult economic situation. I will be backing Rishi Sunak as he has the depth of experience needed on the economy and the right character to lead our country through these difficult times.

“Whoever is elected we must immediately come together in support and to ensure we have the stability and confidence that is required.”

But East Hampshire’s Lib Dem branch has called for a general election, saying “prime ministers should be chosen by voters, not by a privileged few”.

The East Hampshire MP set out why he was backing Mr Sunak in a column for the Herald in mid-August. Read Mr Hinds’ comments here.

Mr Sunak also visited East Hampshire Conservative branch members at a farm in Ropley at the height of the last leadership campaign in August.

Neighbouring MP, and chancellor, Jeremy Hunt also pledged his support for Rishi Sunak in August, but is yet to declare his voting intentions this time around.

Mr Hunt has though called for the leadership race to be settled quickly, telling aides he is personally focussed on fixing the economy.