ONE of the candidates hoping to be the next Tory leader and Prime Minister has promised voters that Southend will become a city if he takes the top job. 

Rory Stewart, International Development Secretary, tweeted this afternoon: “I hereby promise to make Southend a city”, and tagged Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, in his post.

Braintree and Witham Times:

There was a mixed reaction to his tweet, with supporters asking for several other towns around the UK to be given city status too.

As a result of the tweet, Sir David - who previously backed Dominic Raab -now appears to have pledged his support for Mr Stewart.

He said: "I was disappointed that Dominic Raab failed to make it through to today’s ballot.

"I will now be supporting a candidate who will respect the referendum result, ensure that we leave the EU, make support for people with mental health problems a priority and make Southend a city."

The bookies have Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, as fourth favourite at about 20/1 behind Boris Johnson at 1/7, Jeremy Hunt, at about 12/1 and Michael Gove, at about 20/1.

Sajid Javid can be backed as high as 80/1 with some bookmakers.