Rishi Sunak ‘should accept it’s all over’ says Kay Burley
The ex-Chancellor has “flip flopped” on policy and his strategy in the race for No 10 has raised “red flags” about his fitness for the job, according to a former Tory chairman. Amanda Milling warned a divided party will hamper the new government’s ability to deliver for the British people.
Writing for the Daily Express, she said: “As the campaign has progressed I have seen red flags that have made me concerned about one candidate’s ability to unite the party, at a time when our country needs it most.
“Having worked with Rishi Sunak, seeing the work he did with Boris Johnson to get the country through the pandemic, I have no doubt about his talent and abilities.
“But since the contest went to the party membership his cries that Liz Truss’s plans for tax cuts are “immoral” only for him to announce plans for tax cuts days later, along with numerous other flip flops and a nasty undertone from his backers has left me with no doubt the party is not ready for Rishi.”
Former Tory chairman Amanda Milling slammed Rishi Sunak for ‘policy flip-flop’
Mr Sunak renewed his attack on Ms Truss yesterday with criticism of her plan to make tax cuts a priority.
He compared his approach to Margaret Thatcher’s, adding: “She knew that you have to grip inflation – tax cuts funded by borrowing aren’t a sensible approach, but also this… actually, one thing I admire and respect about her, and I think many other Conservatives do as well, is she was prepared not just to say the easy things that people may have wanted to hear.
“She said the things that may have been difficult to hear, but were right for the country and had the courage of her convictions. And that’s the standard that I hold myself to.
“I don’t want to make promises that I can’t keep. And that’s why I believe my plans are the right ones for our nation.”
The leadership contest runs until September 5 and critics have complained it is dragging on for too long, leaving the country without an effective government until the new occupant of No 10 is in place.
“When it’s over I’m sure we can look back and reflect,” Mr Sunak said.
Mr Sunak denied the party was “hopelessly divided” and insisted he is “the right person to be prime minister at this time”.
Defence minister James Heappey, a supporter of Ms Truss, said she was “in the business of cutting taxes”.
“There’s definitely not any part of Liz’s body, as far as I can tell, that agrees with raising taxes,” he added.
The two candidates will continue to battle it out to win over the support of party members with a hustings in Norwich today.
Both set out plans to boost the local economy in East Anglia ahead of the event.
But the pair faced intense pressure last night to increase their pledges of help to tackle the energy crisis from charities, campaigners and business leaders ahead of a rise in the price cap tomorrow.
People face being put in physical danger unless “radical” support for bill payers is offered, the Resolution Foundation
“A catastrophe is coming this winter as soaring energy bills risk causing serious physical and financial damage to families across Britain,” said Jonny Marshall, a senior economist at the Resolution Foundation.
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said families on low incomes will “fall through the ice” this winter without extra Government help.
It warned low-income families will be short on their energy bills by an estimated £1,000 in the year to April 2023.
Alison Garnham, chief executive at the charity, said: “With a £1,000 shortfall just for energy bills, many struggling families will fall through the ice this winter unless the Government makes more help available fast.
“Over the next few months families will need extra support that covers their costs and reflects family size, and social security must rise to match inflation from April.
“Four million children are already in poverty with many others now perilously close to it. Leaving their families to sink cannot be an option.”
The energy price cap is forecast to rise above £3,600 for the average household from the start of October.
It could then top £5,000 in January, and rise above £6,000 in April, according to the latest forecasts.
Unlike consumers, there is no cap in place for commercial energy bills.
The British Chambers of Commerce called for a VAT cut and pandemic-style emergency grants in order to help businesses facing rocketing costs.
Director general Shevaun Haviland said: “We simply cannot afford to see another month of the same old news.
“The problems are well understood. We at the BCC are offering solutions. It is now over to the Government to take action to protect businesses, livelihoods and jobs.”