Rishi Sunak takes swipe at Liz Truss’s backers as he labels himself the ‘underdog’

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Rishi Sunak takes swipe at Liz Truss’s backers as he labels himself the ‘underdog’
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Rishi Sunak hit out at the “forces that be” who are supporting Liz Truss as he gave a speech in Margaret Thatcher’s birthplace.

Speaing in Grantham, alled himself the “underdog” but stopped short of naming Ms Truss personally.

He told the crowd: “The forces that be want this to be a coronation for the other candidate. But I think members want a choice and they are prepared to listen.”

Pressed by reporters to be more specific, he said he was talking “generically”.

Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Sunak sought to create a clear dividing line between himself and Ms Truss as he implicitly criticised her proposed tax cuts, which she says will help decrease inflation.

“If we are to deliver on the promise of Brexit, then we’re going to need someone who actually understands Brexit, believes in Brexit, voted for Brexit,” he told the crowd, to cheers.

In a speech punctuated by frequent applause, he also said: “We have to tell the truth about the cost of living.

Rishi Sunak during a visit to Vaculug tyre specialists in Grantham, as part of his campaign to be leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and the next prime minister (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)
Rishi Sunak during a visit to Vaculug tyre specialists in Grantham, as part of his campaign to be leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and the next prime minister (Danny Lawson/PA) (PA Wire)

“Rising inflation is the enemy that makes everyone poorer and puts at risk your homes and your savings. And we have to tell the truth about tax.

“I will not put money back in your pocket knowing that rising inflation will only whip it straight back out.”

The whittling down of the Tory leadership contenders to just two this week marked the beginning of the next stage of the contest to replace Boris Johnson, with the two candidates now tasked with wooing the grassroots Tory party members who will vote for the next prime minister.

Liz Truss Truss, the former Remainer turned Brexiteer flagbearer, said that if elected she will set a “sunset” deadline for every piece of EU-derived business regulation and assess whether it stimulates domestic growth or investment by the end of 2023.

Industry experts would be tasked to create “better home-grown laws” to replace those that fail the test, if they are not ditched altogether.

Ms Truss said: “As prime minister I will unleash the full potential of Britain post-Brexit, and accelerate plans to get EU law off our statute books so we can boost growth and make the most of our new-found freedoms outside of the EU.”

In an interview with the Telegraph, Ms Truss also robustly defended her economic vision following criticism from her rival.

Describing herself as an “insurgent” who wants to change things, she tells the newspaper that she wants the UK to become a “high growth, high productivity, powerhouse”.

On her plan to bring down in inflation, she tells the paper: “I believe it is right that inflation will come down because inflation was caused by a global supply shock. But it was exacerbated by monetary policy. What I have said is in the future I’m going to look at the Bank of England’s mandate. It is set by the Treasury. It was last set by Gordon Brown in 1997.”

Pressed on her thinking on the Bank of England’s mandate, she says: “What I want to do is look at best practice from central banks around the world, look at their mandates, and make sure we have a tight enough focus on the money supply and on inflation.”

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