• Wednesday, February 28, 2024


‘I am the underdog’, says UK PM candidate Sunak

Sunak led all rounds of the voting among Conservative Party lawmakers to reduce the field to two candidates.

Conservative Leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak speaks while campaigning on July 23, 2022 in Grantham, England. Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak has chosen Grantham, a Conservative party heartland and the home town of former PM Margaret Thatcher, as the next stop of his campaign to become the leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister. Sunak has promised “a return to traditional Conservative economic values” and will cut taxes only after inflation is under control (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

By: Melvin Samuel

Former British finance minister Rishi Sunak, one of two remaining candidates to become Britain’s next prime minister, on Saturday described himself as the underdog in the contest.

Sunak’s resignation helped trigger a revolt that saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson agree to step down after a series of scandals. Members of the ruling Conservative Party will vote for a successor over the summer, with an announcement due on Sept. 5.

Sunak led all rounds of the voting among Conservative Party lawmakers to reduce the field to two candidates.

But it is foreign secretary Liz Truss who seems to have gained the advantage so far among the 200,000 members of the governing party who will ultimately choose the winner.

Truss held a 24-point lead over Sunak in a YouGov poll of Conservative Party members published on Thursday.

“Be in no doubt, I am the underdog,” Sunak said in a speech in Grantham, central England, the birthplace of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Truss would be only Britain’s third female prime minister after Thatcher and Theresa May while Sunak would be the country’s first leader of Indian origin.

“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,” he said.

So far the focus has been on pledges, or non-pledges, to cut taxes, at a time when many people are struggling, along with defence spending and energy policy.

In his speech Sunak laid out his Thatcherite credentials, promising careful management of the economy before tax cuts. He criticised as arbitrary Truss’ pledge to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.

In an interview for Saturday’s Times newspaper, Sunak said he would put the government on a crisis footing on taking office.


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