Many Tory voters have got campaign fatigue, but the two candidates must have the chance to tour the country with their message for party members.
The Conservative leadership campaign seems to drone on ad nauseam. The campaign is at the halfway mark, with another six hustings to go. Many Tory voters have got campaign fatigue, but the two candidates must have the chance to tour the country with their message for party members.
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are competing on the similar values of fairness, equality, opportunity and social mobility; the competition for the dominant narrative is getting harder against increasing inflation and the threat of recession, as both contestants promise tax cuts and claim they have the best track record on delivering. Sunak and Truss belong to the same party but the hostility between the candidates, what has become known as “blue on blue attacks”, is palpable. Sunak blames everything on Boris Johnson, while Liz Truss praises Johnson’s achievements; they both claim each other’s economic plan leads to more disaster.
Truss is apparently ahead with party members and Sunak is being encouraged to withdraw from the campaign so a Truss-led government can function effectively without delay. Sunak has said he is fighting for what is right for UK and there is not a chance of him retiring from the contest. The cost of living is galloping and energy prices are set to top £4,000 in 2023 and one prediction went as high as £5,000 in 2024, thus an extra windfall tax on energy producers is hotly debated. Meanwhile, Shell, BP, Centrica, Exxon announce record profits. The Chancellor Nadim Zahawi and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng held a meeting with energy companies but no new measures were agreed. The PM has stated that it is for his successor to make policy decisions.
The cross-party Commons Privileges Committee is investigating if the Prime Minister misled Parliament when he made statements about breaches of lockdown rules, potentially a contempt of Parliament; this investigation is seen by Johnson loyalists as somewhat of a stitch-up to recall Johnson as an MP and force a byelection, prohibiting him to stand in a future leadership bid, for instance at the next general election in 2024.
Within Westminster and the Tory grassoots there is still a large section that regards Johnson as the only leader capable of winning the next general election. A movement led by businessman Lord Cruddas is urging the PM to “take back control…and fight like Churchill”. Cruddas proposes to fund the fight, whereby Johnson restructures the Conservative Board and asks the members whether they still want him as their leader, to fight the next General Election.