Sunak meanwhile has won the support of Damian Green, the veteran Tory MP who served as de facto deputy prime minister under Theresa May, who leads the One Nation group of Conservatives…reports Asian Lite News
Nadhim Zahawi has thrown his weight behind Liz Truss in the Conservative leadership race, as ballots begin to drop on party members’ doorsteps on Monday.
The chancellor praised Truss’s “booster” economic approach while suggesting Rishi Sunak was a “doomster”.
Sunak and Truss take their campaigns to Exeter this evening, where the two rivals will take part in the second hustings of the contest.
Truss is now seen as the clear frontrunner in the race to replace Boris Johnson, and has also picked up the backing of defence secretary Ben Wallace and former leadership contender Tom Tugendhat.
Sunak meanwhile has won the support of Damian Green, the veteran Tory MP who served as de facto deputy prime minister under Theresa May, who leads the One Nation group of Conservatives.
In declaring his support for Truss, Zahawi wrote in The Daily Telegraph: “Liz understands that the status quo isn’t an option in times of crisis. We need a ‘booster’ attitude to the economy, not a ‘doomster’ one, in order to address cost-of-living woes and the challenges on the world stage. Liz will overturn the stale economic orthodoxy and run our economy in a Conservative way.”
When Sunak quit as chancellor Zahawi was handed the job by Johnson. A day after his appointment Zahawi told the prime minister he should resign.
Asked on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme about Zahawi giving his support to Truss, Sunak laughed and said: “As you can tell I find it it rather amusing.”
And he rejected the suggestion Truss had more support from Conservatives in Westminster.
“I did end the parliamentary phase with comfortably the largest number of MPs backing me,” he said.
In total, ten cabinet ministers have decided to back Truss for the leadership while eight are supporting Sunak.
Nadine Dorries, Suella Braverman, Simon Clarke, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Kwasi Kwarteng, James Cleverly, Therese Coffey, Wallace and Zahawi are supporting the foreign secretary.
Dominic Raab, Stephen Barclay, Robert Buckland, Grant Shapps, George Eustice, Mark Spencer, Shailesh Vara and Michael Ellis are backing Sunak.
In a last-ditch effort to win over the party faithful before they start voting, Sunak attempted to shake off his image as the tax-hiking former chancellor by promising the “biggest income tax cut since Margaret Thatcher’s government”.
He vowed to slash the basic rate from 20% to 16% within seven years if he becomes prime minister, in a move immediately branded as a “flip-flop” by allies of Truss after weeks of labelling her plans for sweeping tax cuts as “comforting fairy tales”.
Conservative members have the chance to vote as early as this week and have until the beginning of September to cast their ballot, with the winner announced on September 5.
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