Rishi Sunak Warns Conservative Rivals Against Unsustainable Tax Cuts

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Rishi Sunak has warned rivals to the Tory leadership not to make untenable promises of tax cuts just to win the election, as Liz Truss struggles to make up ground in Thursday afternoon’s second round of voting in the race to become the Britain’s next Prime Minister.

Having emerged as the favorite in Wednesday’s MPs’ vote with the support of a quarter of all Conservative MPs, Sunak insisted he was the candidate best placed to beat Labor leader Keir Starmer in the next election. generals.

The former chancellor dodged questions about whether he had considered resigning before last week, when a mass exodus of government ministers led to the death of Boris Johnson, and did not say whether he understood the financial concerns of many during the cost-of-living crisis. given your own personal situation. wealth.

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However, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Sunak said he believed in hard work and aspiration, adding “that’s my story”.

He and Truss were seen for months as the two main contenders to replace Johnson, but their campaigns were alarmed by Penny Mordaunt’s performance.

The trade minister came second in Wednesday’s vote and would far outstrip other candidates in a series of runoffs, according to a recent YouGov poll of some 900 Conservative members.

With two Tory leadership hopefuls eliminated from the race for not getting enough votes, Sunak, Truss and Mordaunt, as well as the three remaining candidates, struggle to attract their supporters. Jeremy Hunt, who garnered the support of just 18 MPs, backed Sunak, while Nadhim Zahawi, who garnered 25, remained silent.

Pressed on whether he was too savvy or too rich to understand the pressures many faced during the cost-of-living crisis, Sunak told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that he judged people not by their bank accounts but by their character and actions as chancellor. for more than two years they were the most important thing.

In a swipe at the candidates, including Truss, who have promised faster tax cuts, Sunak said: “Of course I want to cut taxes and I will apply them. But we will do it in a measured way. And the only way to do it sustainably over time is to ensure that the Conservatives win the next general election. And I am convinced that I am the best person to beat Keir Starmer.”

He added: “I think our number one economic priority is to address inflation and not make it worse. Inflation is the enemy. It makes everyone poorer. And if we don’t act to address inflation now, it will cost families more in the long run, especially with mortgages.

“I will cut taxes in this parliament, but I will do it responsibly. Because I don’t cut taxes to win elections, I win elections to reduce taxes.”

Truss is due to launch her leadership bid on Thursday, and her supporters are urging those backing her rivals Suella Braverman and Kemi Badenoch to rally behind her to prevent the foreign secretary from being left off the final ballot when members vote. on the two finalists starting next Wednesday. .

Several more knockout rounds of voting by MPs will take place, with the result of the second vote to be announced at 3pm on Thursday.

TV debates on Channel 4, ITV and Sky News will take place over the next few days, followed by further voting on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

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