Former British finance minister and Downing Street candidate Rishi Sunak, though relegated very far in the polls, seemed to convince many Conservative voters during a televised question and answer session on Thursday, which was also attended by his rival Liz Truss .
Read also: Rishi Sunak consolidates his position as favorite to succeed Boris Johnson
After 90 minutes of live during which the two candidates were each able to develop their project in turn without facing each other, the members of the Conservative Party present voted by a show of hands for their favorite candidate. To everyone’s surprise, Rishi Sunak – relegated to more than thirty points behind his rival in voting intentions according to recent polls – convinced the vast majority of the public.
Members of the Conservative Party vote throughout August to elect their new leader, who will replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street, swept away by a series of scandals.
Truss flip-flops mocked
If Liz Truss had emerged as the winner of previous confrontations, she was pushed to her limits on Thursday both on her economic policy – she plans tax cuts to deal with the cost of living crisis – and on her multiple about-faces.
“Do you intend to apologize?” asked a member of the public concerning his plan to cut the salaries of civil servants in the most disadvantaged regions, an idea finally abandoned a few hours after his announcement. “There’s no shame in saying it’s not working the way I wanted it to, and I’ve changed my position,” she replied.
“Can the real Liz Truss show herself?” Journalist Kay Burley then asked her to the laughter of the audience, listing the many flip-flops of the head of diplomacy, from Brexit to Ukraine. by the monarchy.
Read again: After the departure of Boris Johnson, a country and a party deeply divided
Rishi Sunak’s self-mockery appreciated
On the contrary, Rishi Sunak, struggling so far to reach the base of the Tories, seemed to convince an audience who often applauded him. Cultivating a usually very smooth image, he did not hesitate to show a little self-mockery. Asked about a video from 2001 in which he boasted of having no friends from the working classes, the wealthy ex-minister regretted “stupid remarks”. “What now?” he was asked. “Well, I don’t spend my time asking them (if they’re from the lower classes),” he replied to applause.
He once again showed his differences with his rival on economic issues, stressing that “the root of the problem” was inflation and not taxes.