Fringe Box



Rishi Sunak, Backed by Guildford’s MP, Speaks to Local Conservative Members

Published on: 1 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 2 Aug, 2022

Rishi Sunak

By Martin Giles

Rishi Sunak’s campaign to be the next prime minister was brought to members of the Guildford Conservative Association when he came to Godalming on Saturday (Jul 30).

He gave a speech to around 100 Conservative Party members from both Guildford and South West Surrey constituencies.

Supported by both Guildford’s MP Angela Richardson and the MP for Surrey South West Jeremy Hunt, Mr Sunak also fielded questions from the audience.

Known to be less keen on cutting taxes than Liz Truss, the other candidate in the contest, he is said to have been asked: “Why not abolish income tax altogether?”

The William Noyce Community Centre in Godalming Google Street View

In the session, held at the Wilfrid Noyce Community Centre, he is also understood to have made clear his reluctance to allow more development on green belt, favouring brownfield development.

Liz Truss

Ms Truss was due to appear in Woking but had to cancel because of urgent business possibly connected with her ongoing role as Foreign Secretary but it is understood she did keep an appointment with Surrey Conservatives in Epsom later.

Truss is believed to be well ahead of Sunak according to the polls. But not all local Conservatives are said to be happy with the choice presented to them. One member told The Dragon: “I know some local GCA members are intent on spoiling their ballot papers. At least six per cent won’t vote according to YouGov.”

Ms Richardson remains enthusiastic in her support for the former chancellor. She told The Dragon: “It was a pleasure to join Jeremy Hunt in Godalming and welcome Rishi Sunak as he makes his way around the country to meet Conservative party members who will decide who the next leader of our party is and therefore the next prime minister.

“I have publicly backed Rishi Sunak from the moment his leadership bid was launched.  The two most pressing issues for me were, firstly, restoring trust in politicians following a very difficult period of constant press coverage on individual behaviour rather than on the important policies we are delivering.  I have full confidence in Rishi as do so many former chief whips.

“We need that trust restored because secondly, we must focus our efforts on gripping inflation and targeting support to those who need help with rising food and energy prices over the coming winter.  Trust is restored by telling the truth.

See also: Is the Election for Our Prime Minister Democratic?

“We shouldn’t borrow for day-to-day spending.  We can’t put difficulties off until tomorrow and load debt onto our children and grandchildren.  We always had to find a way to pay back the borrowing that rightly saw our nation through the Covid pandemic.

Meanwhile, Zoe Franklin, the Lib Dem who hopes to take the Guildford seat from Angela Richardson at the next election, pointed out by Twitter the Guildford MP’s voting record on fiscal matters.

“We have Rishi Sunak to thank for acting swiftly to put in place the furlough and business support schemes, for preventing catastrophic unemployment, for funding the vaccine and for making sure it went not just into our arms to protect us, but through the Covax scheme, out to developing countries too.

“I’ve spent the last year actively campaigning to protect single-sex spaces for vulnerable women, stop the erasure of women in language, see fairness in sport and protect children from making irreversible life-changing decisions on gender identity.  These are complex and nuanced issues and I was delighted that Rishi Sunak made his first policy announcement of his campaign about protecting women and girls.

“Rishi is principled, has the intellect worthy of the challenges the next PM faces, compassion and empathy as shown through the enormous packages of support put in place to help during Covid, as well as the vocal support and respect of the majority of his peers, including in Surrey.

“Those members who met Rishi said they were very impressed with his thoughtful and considered answers.  He’s across the detail and he has the right policies to see us through to 2024, win the next general election and help our nation flourish.”

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