Rishi Sunak vows to tackle ‘woke nonsense’ in a bid to revive leadership campaign

Rishi Sunak vows to tackle ‘woke nonsense’ in a bid to revive leadership campaign

Rishi Sunak has vowed to tackle “woke nonsense” and to stop “left-wing agitators” in a bid to revive his leadership campaign.

While claiming he has “zero interest in fighting a so-called culture war”, the Tory leadership hopeful will pledge to “end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger pointing” and “protect British freedoms” if he becomes prime minister.

In a speech in West Sussex on Saturday, Mr Sunak will say: “What’s the point in stopping the bulldozers in the green belt if we allow leftwing agitators to take a bulldozer to our history, our traditions and our fundamental values?

“Whether it’s pulling down statues of historic figures, replacing the school curriculum with anti-British propaganda or rewriting the English language so we can’t even use words like ‘man’, ‘woman’ or ‘mother’ without being told we’re offending someone?”

Tory members will receive their ballots on Monday with a YouGov poll of Tory voters showing Liz Truss leading 62 per cent to 38 per cent ahead of Mr Sunak.

In a further blow to the former Chancellor, in the last week, both Ben Wallace and Tom Tugendhat have pledged their support for Ms Truss.

In order to gain support from Tory voters and keep pace with his rival, Mr Sunak will also pledge to to review the 2010 Equality Act, and clarify that gender self-identification does not have legal force.

He also wants to strengthen statutory guidance for schools on how they teach issues of sex and relationships so that pupils are “shielded from inappropriate material”.

Previously, Ms Truss spoke out in favour of single-sex spaces, telling a hustings audience on Thursday that she backs a policy that guarantees schoolgirls can go to a toilet in a safe environment.

“I’ve been very clear that single sex spaces should be protected,” she said.

If elected prime minister, Mr Sunak also promised to protect free speech by amending the Public Sector Equality Duty, which requires public bodies to consider discrimination.

This would be to ensure organisations “are open and welcoming” to people with differing political opinions and religious and philosophical world views, “putting a stop to practices such as no-platforming”, his campaign said.

He added: “It’s not us who are the aggressors; we have zero interest in fighting a so-called culture war. But we are determined to end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger pointing.

“Too often, existing legislation is used to engage in social engineering to which no one has given consent.

“The worst offender in this regard is the 2010 Equality Act, conceived in the dog days of the last Labour government.

“It has been a Trojan horse that has allowed every kind of woke nonsense to permeate public life.

“It must stop. My government would review the Act to ensure we keep legitimate protections while stopping mission creep.

“Our laws must protect free speech, block biological men from competing in women’s sport and ensure that children are allowed to be children.”

In an interview with Andrew Neil on Friday, Mr Sunak saud Ms Truss’s £30 billion tax cut plans would “put fuel on the fire” of inflation and create a “sugar rush boom” in the pair’s ongoing economic clash.

Mr Sunak told Andrew Neil tackling the debt racked up from Covid is not about going on a “borrowing spree” or passing the bills onto the next generation.

“I think it is absolutely the right thing to do not to put fuel on the fire of the recession we already have,” he said.