David Davis dismissed the suggestion that Rishi Sunak was “mansplaining” to Liz Truss as “spin”.
The two candidates took part in a BBC debate on Monday night where Mr Sunak was accused of “aggressive mansplaining”.
But support David Davis told Sky News: “Sometimes it’s important to intervene in debates.
“When we’re in the Commons we have these comparatively fierce exchanges lots of times, all the time.”
Mr Davis added: “This is a debate to find the Prime Minister of this country. Facing a time when the decisions are going to be really tough.”
He told the programme: “We need the person who a) knows what he stands for, b) is courageous enough to take the difficult decisions and c) determined enough to do it.
“And that’s Rishi Sunak.”