Rishi Sunak faces campaign website in tense clash with public | Politics | New
Rishi Sunak was confronted about his loyalty to outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a tense question and answer session during Sky News’ live Tory leadership debate on Thursday night. The former chancellor, whose resignation contributed to Mr Johnson’s downfall, suggested their split was not driven by personal ambition but by economic policy, telling the public: ‘We had differences of well-researched opinion on economic policy, as you can see in this leadership campaign.
“It is simply impossible for a Chancellor and a Prime Minister not to be on the same page when it comes to economic policy that does not make sense. So of course I had no other chance than to go there.”
The former chancellor went on to point out that 60 Tory MPs had also resigned from government.
“They didn’t all have websites registered in December last year, did they, Rishi? You’ve been campaigning for a long time,” an audience member shot back.
“It was perfectly timed. A cynical motivation to get you into number 10.”
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“That’s just not true,” Mr Sunak lambasted in response.
“So I was due to give a speech with the Prime Minister next week, and in the conversations about writing this speech on the economy, it was clear that the differences were too big to reconcile.”
“So that was the reason, but I think you shouldn’t look at Basque history with rose-colored glasses here,” he added.
“Everyone remembers what happened with Chris Pincher, right?! It was a serious ethical issue on which the government was once again on the wrong side, and I couldn’t defend. Maybe you agree to defend it. I did not agree to defend it, 60 other members of the government did not agree to defend it because it was wrong!
M Sunak vowed he wouldn’t back down despite Liz Truss being the frontrunner, and pledged to “fight incredibly hard until the last day” of the leadership campaign.
The former Chancellor told a Conservative Party member who asked if there was ever a time when he would step down: “The quick answer is no, and that’s because I’m fighting for something that I really believe and that I take my ideas around the country.
“I’m talking to all of you, our members across the country, about what I think is best for our country at a really difficult time. And I want to have that debate with people because I believe passionately that what I’m saying is right. I want to convince as many people as possible of that and I hope I can do that with all of you tonight.”
He added: “I’m going to fight incredibly hard until the last day of this campaign for every vote you get.
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“The stakes are really high. I’m passionate about what I believe in, and I want to try to convince you all that I’m right.”
Mr Sunak also said he was not ‘promising tens upon tens of billions of pounds worth of treats’ in an apparent jab at Liz Truss’ tax cut plans.
He called such an approach “risky” and said he wanted to “be honest” with the country.
He told the audience at the Sky Tory leadership debate: ‘I’m not sitting here or standing here promising you tens and tens of billions of pounds worth of treats straight away because I don’t think that is the right thing to do for our economy. I think it’s risky, it could make the inflation problem worse and cost you a lot more.