Conservative MPs are circulating a “mucky memo” about Rishi Sunak as the race to succeed Boris Johnson in Number 10 descends “into all-out war”.
Sunak is called a “schoolboy” and “liar” in the memo being shared by Conservative MPs on WhatsApp, which, the Telegraph reports, “is now spreading like wildfire”.
The “dirty dossier” is linked to Johnson loyalists who want to stop “a coronation” of Sunak as leader. It is also revenge for what Downing Street calls Sunak’s “treachery” in triggering Johnson’s exit by resigning and announcing his own bid for No 10.
Called “Get Ready for Rishi”, the 424-word “salvo” fired at the former chancellor says Sunak cannot be trusted on tax and that “there is nothing Conservative about the ‘Big Tax and Big Spend’ agenda of Rishi Sunak”.
Sunak ‘publicly lied twice about wife’s no-dom tax status’
It states Sunak “publicly lied not once but twice when seeking to explain his wife’s ‘non-dom’ tax status” and reminds readers of his “secretly held Green Card” to work in the US, having already accused him of “wasting £32 billion on Track & Trace tech that never delivered”, and “writing off £4.9 billion in Covid loan fraud”.
To underline Sunak’s unfitness to be leader, the memo quotes his own former Treasury minister Lord Agnew of Oulton, who accused the former chancellor of “arrogance, indolence, ignorance” and “schoolboy errors”.
The memo says Sunak’s claim his ““his resignation within minutes of Savid Javid was an unplanned coincidence” is also questioned given he “launched his campaign for the leadership of the Conservative Party with a website domain registered in Dec 2021”.
‘I have no working class friends’ – Sunak clip goes viral
Sunak– believed to have around 30 Conservative MPs supporting his leadership bid – has released his own slick and very brand-Rishi campaign video. However, it is footage from a 2001 BBC documentary that’s gone viral. In it, then-Oxford university student Sunak says he has “friends who are aristocrats, I have friends who are upper class, I have friends who are, you know, working class, but… well, not working class.”
Clips of Sunak’s interview have already been viewed millions of times on Twitter where the video of another candidate for Tory leadership has also been roundly mocked and criticised.
Penny Mordaunt’s campaign video – released today – has already been edited following complaints from the people featured in it, including Paralympian Jonnie Peacock whose image was used without his permission. Mordaunt’s video has also been criticised for featuring footage of convicted-murderer Oscar Pistorious.
The prominence of flags in the campign ad saw viewers comparing Mordaunt’s video to a Chris Morris sketch. Morduant herself doesn’t actually appear in her own video, save for a voice over near the end. Commentators have remarked that – and some of the errors pointed to – may be due to the speed at which the video has been produced following Johnson’s resignation. As compared to Sunak’s slick production which looked far from rushed, despite protestations.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss entered the race to be Conservative party leader on Sunday night and immediately pledged to cut taxes “from day one”.
Tax is the major issue for all candidates whose number will be further swelled by Priti Patel’s intention to run, with an announcement from the home secretary expected today (Monday). Also bidding to be prime minister is Nadhim Zahawi, Sajid Javid, Grant Shapps, Jeremy Hunt, Suella Braverman, Tom Tugendhat, Kemi Badenoch and Rehman Chishti.
The 1922 Committee of Conservative backbench MPs is expected to announce the process to elect the next leader of the party today. There will be a series of votes by Tory MPs with the number of candidates gradually culled until only two are left. Their names will be on the ballots of 100,000 members of the Conservative party who will decide who will be the next prime minister.