Toxic briefing war against Rishi Sunak now emanating from rival Tory party factions – Times of India


LONDON: The war against Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak is now mainly emanating from within the Conservative Party as the race to become the next UK PM gets dominated by hostile briefings against rival campaigns.
In the latest incident of mud-slinging, a 424-word anonymous “dirty dossier” outlining all the reasons not to vote for Sunak spread through Tory MP WhatsApp groups over the weekend. It is they who will vote for the next party leader in a series of rounds until two are left; then the wider party membership can vote. The memo, titled “Get Ready for Rishi”, lists a series of faults with the former chancellor of the exchequer, accusing him of “enabling Boris Johnson’s reckless over-spending” and “breaking a solemn Conservative Party manifesto promise not to raise taxes” as well as “adding £400 billion to the national debt”.
According to the Financial Times, there was huge anger in Downing Street over Sunak’s resignation, with Johnson allies blaming Sunak for triggering Johnson’s downfall and wanting to ensure he does not win the leadership contest.
Johnson ally Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, the brother of Jemima Goldsmith (former wife of Imran Khan), mocked Sunak’s record on the environment in a series of tweets. “If Rishi had a record on the environment, or made believable commitments to continue our environmental role globally, I would of course support him” he wrote, describing Sunak’s chosen future environment secretary as “our very own little Bolsonaro”.
Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg MP called Sunak “the much-lamented socialist chancellor” and told BBC’s Any Questions: “I will not be endorsing Mr Sunak for prime minister. I belong to a party that believes in low taxation and the former chancellor has talked about low taxation and delivered higher taxation.”
Sunak’s team was also forced to fend off claims by culture secretary Nadine Dorries that Sunak is working behind the scenes with sacked No. 10 maverick adviser Dominic Cummings and plans to give Cummings a government role if elected.
A 2001 video has resurfaced of Sunak — when a student at Oxford University — saying he does not have working-class friends and showing off that he went to the elite public school Winchester College. In the clip from 2001 BBC series “Middle Classes: Their Rise & Sprawl” , he says: “I have friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper class, I have friends who are working class … but, well not working class but… I mix and match…”
TV presenter Gillian McKeith tweeted the clip, saying: “Can’t wait to implement the caste system once he gets in…”
Two Tory party grandees and former party leaders, Lord Hague of Richmond and Lord Howard of Lympne, have both called for an end to toxic briefings against Sunak.
Lord Howard of Lympne told the Sunday Times “I am dismayed by some of the attacks being made on Rishi Sunak. It is essential for the sake of the party and the country that this leadership contest is conducted in a respectful manner.”
Yet Sunak is still ahead in the race to be the next Tory party leader at 13/8, according to the latest odds from Ladbrokes. There are now 11 contenders, with Priti Patel still weighing up whether to enter the race. The timetable for how the contest will take place was expected to be announced late Monday by the 1922 Committee (Tory backbenchers in the House of Commons).
The other PIO leadership hopeful, Suella Braverman, entered into a public spat on Sunday with one of her main leadership opponents, Penny Mordaunt, blaming her for the gender neutral wording in a parliamentary bill to allow cabinet ministers to take maternity leave. The bill was delayed because it referred to a “pregnant person”, which led to a bitterly contested debate and it was not passed until the week of her due date when the wording was changed to “mother”.





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