Rishi Sunak: Steve Baker discusses run for Tory leader
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Rishi Sunak released a slick campaign video yesterday as he announced his bid to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. The former chancellor’s video racked up millions of views but prominent Brexiteer and backbencher Steve Baker revealed this morning why Mr Sunak will not win the leadership race. Speaking to Sky News, Mr Baker warned that Mr Sunak’s legacy as chancellor will scupper his bid.
The Tory backbencher said Mr Sunak will have to “double down” on his high-tax record and that taxes are too high at current levels.
He said: “I am a great admirer of Rishi, but we all know that Rishi has, quite legitimately, wanted this job for some time.
“He is well resourced and I don’t begrudge him that, so I’m not surprised to see him launch a very polished campaign.
“I’m afraid the issue Rishi has got unfortunately is that, due to his record as chancellor, he now has to double down on the high-tax position he has taken.”
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He continued: “The question is whether tax at this level is doing more harm than good and I’m afraid I think it is.
“Unfortunately because Rishi’s record is saying he wants lower taxes than putting them up, he’s got to double down on that during this campaign.
“That leaves him in a very unfortunate bind.
“He is doubling down on a very difficult position that I think is quite harmful. So, no, I don’t think Rishi will win.”
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Mr Baker was considering a leadership run himself before he backed out yesterday and endorsed Attorney General Suella Braverman.
On Friday evening, he tweeted: “I considered standing for the leadership.
“My priorities were delivering against our manifesto with our mandate, cutting taxes and seeing through Brexit.
“Happily I no longer need to stand. Suella Braverman will deliver these priorities and more.”
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Senior backbencher Tom Tugendhat and former Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch have also announced their plans to stand.
Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid are said to be considering leadership bids.
Several senior Tory MPs have already endorsed Mr Sunak’s candidacy.
Oliver Dowden – who resigned as party chairman last month – said: “Rishi is the best person to lead our country and unquestionably the best person to beat Labour.”
Commons Leader Mark Spencer wrote: “Rishi is the leader that can unite the Party, bring the whole country together and win us that fifth general election victory.”
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