Rishi Sunak favourite to become new UK PM, as vote deadline nears
Indy

You know when sometimes during reality TV contests like the X Factor, someone flops but because they are fairly popular and it makes good TV, they are brought back later in the series?

The same has basically happened in British politics and after coming second to Liz Truss in the Tory leadership race over the summer, (the same Truss who then resigned after 44 Thick of It days in office) Rishi Sunak has become the only MP to secure more than 100 nominations from MPs needed to go to judges' houses (the Tory members), and it looks like he's our next prime minister.

Confirming his second roll of the dice yesterday he said: “The United Kingdom is a great country but we face a profound economic crisis.

“That's why I am standing to be leader of the Conservative Party and your next prime minister.”

It feels like democracy is being made up as we go along, especially as the Tories keep batting away reasonable requests for a general election and it is becoming increasingly hard to keep up.

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But keep up we will, with a dig into Sunak's views and policies to get prepped for his premiership.

Here's what a Sunak Britain will look like:


Economy

The former chancellor vows to fight inflation and is against tax cuts while inflation is high, though he wants to implement them in the future when things are less choppy.

“I will never get taxes down in a way that just puts inflation up,” he said, promising to “always be honest about the challenges we face”.

He also saw the problems that could arise from Trussenomics early doors. "We cannot make it worse, inflation is the enemy that makes everybody poorer," Sunak said during the leadership debates. "We have to be honest. Borrowing your way out of inflation isn't a plan - it's a fairytale."

When Truss announced her economic policies the pound had a fit, so he had a point.


Brexit

Sunak voted to leave the European Union and remains a committed Eurosceptic. In August, he posted a cringe video shredding EU laws while pledging to review every EU law still operating in the UK in the first 100 days of his premiership.

He is also committed to the Northern Ireland Protocol.


Culture wars

Sunak has bought into the rabble-rousing nonsense many Tories spout about social issues

"I want to take on this lefty woke culture that seems to want to cancel our history, our values and our women," he said during one Tory leadership debate.

Meanwhile, an ally of Sunak’s was quoted in the Mail on Sunday promising he would reverse “recent trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language”.

But he's also said some good things. “I don’t want anybody in Britain to have to hide who they are or who they love out of fear,” Sunak told an LGBT Conservatives group.

“I want this to be the safest and greatest country in the world to be LGBT+.”

When asked about the “rising problem of transphobia” within the party, Sunak said: “Prejudice against trans people is wrong. The Conservative Party is an open, welcoming family to everybody across society, no matter who they are and irrespective of their background.”


Defence

While Truss committed to increasing defence spending to 3 per cent of GDP, Sunak has spoken out against "arbitrary" targets.

He's said he will continue supporting Ukraine in the war against Russia.


Climate change

In the summer, Sunak said that he would make the UK energy independent by 2045. “We need more offshore wind, more rooftop solar and more nuclear. We need to insulate millions of homes and ensure that people know about the steps that they can take, at no cost, to improve the efficiency of their homes," he said.


Migration

Sunak has a 10-point plan on immigration which includes tightening the definition of asylum and setting a cap on the annual number of refugees.

He is in favour of the Rwanda plan.

“All of you are forking out £5 million a day on hotels for people who are coming here illegally and that has to stop", he said during the previous leadership debates.



NHS

In the summer, Sunak pitched his plan to charge people £10 for missed GP appointments in an effort to get waiting list times down.

It was heavily criticised. The Royal College of GPs pointed out that the plan “would fundamentally change the principle that the NHS is free at the point of use”. It would also add “another layer of bureaucracy to a GP service already drowning in red tape”.

He's dished out other vague prescriptions on the campaign trail, saying: “I don’t think we can have an NHS which is underfunded and not able to deliver the care that it needs. I think you can be reassured the NHS is safe in my hands.”

Strap yourselves in for Sunak's Britain - it is going to be a bumpy ride.


It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. The future of the country must not be decided by plotting and U-turns at Westminster; it must be decided by the people in a general election. And for this reason The Independent is calling for an election to be held. Have your say and sign our election petition by clicking here.

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