Penny Mordaunt today insisted she was “in it to win” the Tory leadership race as her rival Rishi Sunak gained momentum.

The leader of the House of Commons spoke just a few minutes before Sunak has officially announced that he will run for Tory leader to “fix the economy, unite our party and secure the good of our country.”

In order to get on the ballot, candidates need to get the support of 100 deputies.

Sunak currently leads with 133 public declarations of support, with Boris Johnson on 55 and Mordaunt on 23.

Johnson is the only candidate who has not yet officially announced his participation in the election.

The House of Commons leader said she was backed by more than just the 23 MPs who have publicly backed her, telling the BBC’s Laura Kuensberg on Sunday: “I’m a savvy campaigner, Laura, I don’t share my campaign data with others.

“I’m very confident in the progress we’re making and I’ll tell you I’m in it to win.”

mardaunt, who supported Liz Truss in the last leadership race after she failed to make it to the bottom two, said she was “halfway” between Sunak and the outgoing prime minister and that she could best “bring the party together”.

“I was halfway between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, and I deeply regret that the debate is now about whether you are for stability or low taxes,” she said.

“This is not the right construction. There are two sides of the same coin. You have to have stability to ensure low taxes, and you have to have low taxes to grow the economy and create that stability.”

Mordaunt also denied that she offered support to Johnson in exchange for work from him, saying the reports were “totally false.”

And asked if she shared anything from her concerns of colleagues Of Johnson’s return to the prime ministership, she said: “It’s not about him, it’s not about me, it’s about the public.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the House of Commons leader refused to reveal what policies she would pursue if elected Tory leader.

Important questions include taxes, whether benefits should rise in line with inflation and whether government spending cuts are needed to balance the books.

Asked whether she would cut spending, Mordaunt said she was not going to pre-empt Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s October 31 financial statement.

She also declined to say whether she would cut NHS spending and keep her pledge to increase defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.

At the Tory conference earlier this month, Mordaunt was one of the first members of parliament break cover to call for benefits to rise in line with inflation.

But when asked if she shared that view, she told Kuensberg: “We’ve always protected people, but I’m not going to get into the details … what we have to do is remember that our mandate is in the 2019 manifesto.”