Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are two members of the Boris Johnson cabinet. They played an influential role in the cabinet’s economic and political decisions. Conservatives are taking a big gamble about Johnson’s succession. The leading premiership candidates should have been from outside Johnson’s cabinet.
Liz Truss’ Speech
According to the BBC, Liz Truss says ‘Since the referendum of Brexit took place, I’ve delivered dozens of trade deals. The UK has secured trade agreements with over 60 countries since the Brexit vote. However, the vast majority are “rollover” deals – copying the terms of sales the UK already had when it was an EU member rather than creating new benefits. Two contracts have been negotiated from scratch – with Australia and New Zealand. The UK government’s estimate says the Australia deal could increase the UK’s GDP by 0.08% over 15 years.
Liz Truss says, ‘There is already headroom of approximately £30bn in the budget.’ Ms Truss said this when asked how she would fund her plans for a series of tax cuts. The tax cut is one of the dividing lines between her and Mr Sunak. Fiscal headroom is the amount extra that the government could spend without breaking its own rules on borrowing.
Regarding Ukraine, according to the independent, Liz Truss has said she would be Ukraine’s “greatest friend” if she becomes prime minister. She has said she would follow in the footsteps of Boris Johnson. The Foreign Secretary vowed to double down on support for Ukraine if she becomes the following No 10 occupant.
Rishi Sunak’s words
Concerning the cost of living, according to the BBC, Sunak said ‘there are millions of homes that need better insulation. He said this when they asked him how he would help households with the rising cost of living. The BBC says Mr Sunak focused on cutting energy bills by enabling millions of homes to install insulation. Mr Sunak is right that households use more energy to heat and cool their homes without proper insulation. And poor people will have to live in cold, damp, and potentially unhealthy dwellings. The Energy Savings Trust estimates that loft insulation could save a terraced house £230 a year on energy bills. However, it also would cost £500 to install – hence the need for government support.
According to the BBC, regarding China, Sunak says: ‘China is a threat to our national security. It’s a threat to economic security. Sunak has tweeted a series of tough new measures he would introduce as prime minister to “face down” China. His proposals included closing all 30 Confucius Institutes in the UK and empowering MI5 to help tackle industrial espionage. Mr Sunak’s position on China has not always been so stark. Speaking as chancellor in a speech last year, Mr Sunak called for a “mature and balanced relationship” with China. His purpose was to “pursue with confidence an economic relationship [..] in a safe, mutually beneficial way”. In June 2020, Sunak was reportedly one of several cabinet members who warned Johnson against breaking economic ties with China.
Perceptions of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss
You Gov says Truss’ and Sunak’s actions on and off the campaign trail will impact how the public views them. A poll asked the public what attributes most strike them about Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. The results showed that Sunak is more likely to be described as competent. Twenty-one per cent listed it among his top three values versus 13% for Truss. However, Sunak is also more likely to be branded “out of touch” among the public, at 42% compared to 22% who say this of Truss. Sunak is also more likely to be viewed as dishonest (29% to Truss’s 21%) and uncaring (21% to 14%). Moreover, Sunak has had significantly more publicity (for better or worse) than Truss. As such, some 32% of the public say they don’t know enough to describe Truss, compared to 18% who say this of Sunak.
Among Conservative voters, 43% choose “clever” as one of Sunak’s top three characteristics. Only 4% say this of Truss. As with the general public, Sunak is also more likely to be described as competent (40% to 33%) and decisive (28% to 4%). Yet Sunak is also more seen as “out of touch” (36% to 12%) and dishonest (16% to 7%.( More Tory voters see Truss as honest (22%, to Sunak’s 10%) and caring (20% to 4%). However, as with the public, Conservative voters are more likely to be unsure about Truss (28%) than Sunak (11%).
Favoured candidate: Sunak or Truss?
According to Politico, Monday evening’s head-to-head TV clash between Truss and Sunak ended in a compelling score draw. It left Truss in a pole position to become Tory leader and UK prime minister. Truss had finished bottom in the first, five-way Tory leadership debate broadcast earlier this month, according to an Opinium snap poll. The poll results showed that Sunak had performed significantly better. But this time round, the same pollster found Truss and Sunak were almost neck and neck among voters across the U.K. Truss will be happy with the detail of the survey. The survey found that Conservative voters rated Truss’s performance better than Sunak’s, by 47 to 38 percent.
Similarly, the Tribune (July 26) says Truss beats Sunak in a TV debate in the electoral college poll. Liz Truss won her rival Rishi Sunak, according to a survey of ruling Conservative party members. Forty-seven per cent of respondents to pollster Opinium sounding them out felt Truss performed better versus 38 per cent who thought likewise about Sunak. However, Sunak marginally defeated Truss, again according to Opinium, in a poll of regular voters who watched the debate. Thirty-nine per cent said Sunak won, while 38 per cent stated Truss did.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss: Unsuitable candidates
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss do not seem to be a net positive for their party yet. Sunak’s fall from grace is more due to the cost-of-living crisis than partygate. He suffered somewhat alongside Johnson when he had to pay a fine. However, Sunak’s Spring Statement caused his reputation to take a tumble. There was a Polling from Find Out Now. The polling question was, “who would you vote for in the event of Sunak/Truss being a leader?” The results show no advantage for either, which is curious. Neither seems to be yet a net positive for the party.
Johnson may be going, but Johnsonism – the message of levelling up and a sense of permanent insurgency – lives on (the New Statesman). The leading candidates should have been from outside Johnson’s cabinet. In Johnson’s cabinet, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have already shown their relatively ineffective potential in economics and politics. They do not seem to be suitable candidates for the UK premiership.
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