HEALTH Minister Gillian Keegan says Rishi Sunak is the right person to become Prime Minister to tackle the “serious times” the country faces.
The MP for Chichester said the former Chancellor’s experience in navigating the country through the pandemic and efforts to address the cost of living crisis make him the right man to replace Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party and of the country.
She said: “The British people have common sense and tend to back the right person for the times – I believe Rishi is that man.
“He has the experience, integrity, and conviction to win the support of the British electorate.
“Rishi is our best chance to strengthen our economy and secure a Conservative win at the next election.”
She also praised his “deep sense of duty” to the nation and added: “We are living in serious times and we need to be led by a serious person.”
Conservative Party members will choose between Mr Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to determine who will replace Boris Johnson as party leader and Prime Minister.
Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt failed to make it through to the final two of the leadership contest, after securing less support among her parliamentary colleagues than Mr Sunak and Ms Truss.
Ms Mordaunt trailed behind with just 105 votes from Conservative MPs, while Ms Truss secured 113 and Mr Sunak with 137.
Ms Keegan, who was rumoured to be considering a bid for the leadership herself, is among five Conservative MPs in Sussex to be backing Mr Sunak to become leader of the party and Prime Minister – including fellow Health Minister and Lewes MP Maria Caulfield, Bognor MP and Johnson critic Nick Gibb and Defence Procurement Minister and Horsham MP Jeremy Quin.
Four MPs, including East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton and Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, had backed Ms Mordaunt in the contest, while no Tory MPs in the county have expressed endorsement for Ms Truss’s bid for the leadership.
In a not-so-subtle attack on Liz Truss, who has promised to cut taxes should she win the leadership race, Ms Keegan said: “This is not the time for uncosted tax cuts and arbitrary spending commitments, this is a time for stability and sensible financial management – core conservative values.”
Mr Sunak has pledged to deliver tax cuts in a “way that’s responsible” and only “after we’ve got a grip of inflation”, committed to a “manifesto for women’s rights” – including opposing biological men from competing against women in sport, and has committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Ms Truss, by contrast, has pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one”, called for defence spending to be increased to three per cent of GDP by 2030, and would scrap housing targets in favour of deregulation.
A new Conservative leader and Prime Minister will be announced on September 5.
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