The former Chancellor impressed Conservative MPs in the initial rounds of the leadership contest, as Rishi Sunak consistently emerged on top in rounds of voting among his peers. However, as the deciding vote is expanded to wider members of the Tory party, Mr Sunak risks losing substantial support due to his association with Boris Johnson’s Government. Under the outgoing Prime Minister, Mr Sunak served as a leading figure among his core Cabinet Ministers and was responsible for the last two years of economic policy. Professor of politics at Royal Holloway University of London Nicholas Allen spoke to the Daily Express to offer his analysis of Mr Sunak’s position in the Conservative leadership race.
Dr Allen described Mr Sunak as: “The experienced person who, in many ways, has to defend the Government’s record.”
He continued: “He cannot be the insurgent because, as Chancellor for the last couple of years, he has been at the very centre of government policy.”
Mr Sunak resigned from his Cabinet position just days before the Prime Minister also announced he would step down as party leader after a swathe of Tory departures rocked the Government.
In his resignation letter, Mr Sunak explained he was leaving the role of Chancellor as it had become clear to him that the economic policies favoured by him and Mr Johnson were “fundamentally too different.”
Dr Allen added: “He will be facing someone who can probably take the position of the insurgent to some extent.
“But, of course, Liz Truss, having been Foreign Secretary, has also been very much part of the Government.
“So, there are real limits as to what they can do.”
Mr Sunak’s opponent, Ms Truss was also a leading member of the outgoing Prime Minister’s Cabinet, although she did not resign from her position as Foreign Secretary.
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