Sky News' Beth Rigby calls Rishi Sunak a 'corrosive person' at campaign ...
Indy

A Tory leadership contest is taking place, after Boris Johnson resigned and left a gaping hole in Number 10 - and we're not talking about Larry the Cat's catflap.

Replacement candidates are being whittled down via tense rounds of voting. Whoever is left will be given the keys to Downing Street, and the country's fortunes.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak won the first round of votes, securing the support of 88 of his colleagues and is one of the frontrunners to win the contest in full.

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So what would that mean for Britain?

Here's a guide to Sunak:

Political background

Rishi Sunak announces Tory leadership bid Indy

Sunak was elected to parliament in 2015 and entered cabinet in 2019 as chief secretary to the treasury. From 2020 to just a couple of weeks ago, when he resigned to stick the boot into Johnson, he was the chancellor.

Policies he is best known for during that time are Eat Out to Help Out and the furlough scheme - and if those words don't bring back memories from lockdown one we don't know what will.

Policies he is known for more recently include a windfall tax - borrowed from Labour - energy bill rebates that are more like loans, and a weird decision to explore NFTs.

Views

Let's take a look at what Sunak stands for, on various issues. He voted to leave the EU in 2016 and has backed Brexit since.

At the Tory Party conference last year, he said: “I believe the agility, flexibility and freedom provided by Brexit would be more valuable in a 21st-century global economy than just proximity to a market.”

In terms of the economy, he has said it is not "credible" to cut taxes while inflation is still high but said he favours cuts in the long term.

If he becomes PM, Sunak has also indicated that he would not lift the ban on new grammar schools or the hunting ban, and declined to back an increase in defence spending in an interview with the Telegraph.

And as for social issues, The Daily Mail reports he is set to lay out a “manifesto for women’s rights” in which he will argue that transgender women should be excluded from women’s sporting events, He has also spoken out against gender-neutral language, allies have said.

Scandals

Sunak has not been untainted by scandals during his time in office.

In April 2022, he was - along with Johnson - slapped with a fine after the Metropolitan Police decided he had broken lockdown rules by attending an event in Downing Street in June 2020.

There have also been reports that he didn't sufficiently register his financial interests and when it was revealed that his wife was not paying tax on her overseas earnings, his popularity took a hit, a hit that became a full smack when it also came to light he had kept a permanent resident card in the US until 2021.

Then there's the fact that he has been the subject of the age-old debate: "Just how rich is too rich to be PM". We don't know, but he entered the Sunday Times rich list this year, and people weren't exactly rushing to congratulate him, he has been interviewed fumbling about the price of bread, been spotted struggling to use a debit card, and been pictured with some very expensive accessories indeed begging the question: does he understand the lives of average Brits? During a cost of living crisis?

That's a matter for the Tory party to decide.

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