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23 Jul, 2022 11:01

Millionaire PM candidate ready to put government on ‘crisis footing’

Rishi Sunak has pledged to bring inflation in the UK under control and tackle illegal migration
Millionaire PM candidate ready to put government on ‘crisis footing’

Former UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak says he will prioritize the issues of soaring prices and illegal migration if he is chosen in the Tory party leadership race and becomes Britain’s next prime minister, adding that he plans to put his government on a “crisis footing” from day one.

In a Friday interview with The Times, Sunak, a multimillionaire businessman, said he has spent his life “having to be tough to get results.” The recent scandal over his billionaire wife’s tax affairs only made him stronger, he added. “I’ve got the resilience to deal with some pretty tough stuff when it’s thrown at me, and I’ve got the energy and fight to keep going because I really believe in this.” 

Commenting on his privileged background and the fact that he attended one of the most expensive private schools in the country, Winchester College, Sunak – also an Oxford and Stanford graduate – said that education helped change his life, and vowed “to make sure as many people as possible have the opportunity of a transformative education.”

Sunak stated that his priority as prime minister will be to contain inflation, which “has been consistently higher than people thought and has lasted longer.” 

“So from day one of being in office I’m going to put us on a crisis footing.”

The former chancellor of the exchequer emphasized the difference between his fiscal approach and that of his competitor, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has pledged £30 billion in tax cuts. He warned that this could lead to inflation becoming entrenched, which would “be incredibly damaging for millions across the UK.”

Sunak also promised to increase defense spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030, while Truss pledged 3%. “I’ll invest whatever it takes to keep our country safe,” he said.

Containing illegal migration is another key issue. Sunak says he will continue the controversial policy of sending illegal migrants to Rwanda, despite widespread criticism and legal setbacks. The former chancellor also believes he can build a more “constructive” relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron than outgoing PM Boris Johnson has managed – and that this will help Britain to tackle illegal migration as well.

According to the latest YouGov poll, 31% of Tory members plan to vote for Sunak, and 49% for Truss. To win, Sunak needs to sway to his side undecided voters, people who currently don’t plan to vote, and part of Truss’ electorate, the pollsters noted. The survey was conducted on July 20-21 with 730 Conservative Party members.

The winner will be announced on September 5, after a postal vote of around 150,000 Tory party members.