Rishi Sunak: UK needs a Prime Minister 'who voted for Brexit'
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Rishi Sunak issued a sly dig at Liz Truss’ vote to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum during a brazen campaign speech this morning. The former Chancellor said that the country “needs someone who voted for Brexit”. This comes as the contest to replace Boris Johnson in No10 heats up as Conservative Party members start voting in the coming weeks.
Mr Sunak told the crowd today: “If we are to deliver on the promise of Brexit, we are going to need someone who actually understands Brexit, believes in Brexit and voted for Brexit.”
His remarks were greeted with huge applause.
The leadership candidate also vowed to rise above the “smears” amid a flurry of attacks against the former Chancellor.
Mr Sunak was speaking in Grantham, the birthplace of former Tory PM Margaret Thatcher.
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Also during his speech today in Lincolnshire, Mr Sunak pledged to make the NHS backlog his “number one public service priority”.
He sought to move the campaign debate from tax cuts to the NHS as the former minister laid out plans to put the health service on a “war footing” with a vaccines-style taskforce set up to drive down the “emergency” of “massive backlogs”.
In an interview with The Times relased today, Mr Sunak said he would put the UK on a “crisis footing” from his first day as PM.
He said: “They’re challenges that are staring us in the face and a business-as-usual mentality isn’t going to cut it in dealing with them.
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“So from day one of being in office, I’m going to put us on a crisis footing.”
Meanwhile, Ms Truss has tried to shed this image as a former Remainer by pointing to the number of post-Brexit trade deals she achieved as Foreign Secretary.
Later today she will announce plans for a “bonfire” of EU laws retained after Brexit.
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She has promised to scrap or replace all such laws which she argues hinder growth by the end of 2023.
The two candidates will take part in a series of hustings events for members, starting in Leeds on Thursday.
They will also go head to head in a televised debate on Monday on the BBC.
The winner of the contest will be announced on 5 September.
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