Rishi Sunak says he WON’T quit as MP if he loses Tory leader battle


Rishi Sunak today dismissed rumours he will quit the Commons and head for California if he loses the Tory leadership battle.

The former Chancellor is widely expected to be defeated by Liz Truss when the results of the contest are finally announced tomorrow.

But he shrugged off speculation he could opt to return to the US – where he previously worked – insisting he wants to stay as MP for Richmond in Yorkshire.

Instead he stressed he would continue to ‘support the Conservative government’, even though there are signs Ms Truss will not offer him a job in her Cabinet. 

When BBC presenter Laura Kuenssberg pointed to clips of him praising California, Mr Sunak – reputed to be one of the richest MPs with a billionaire heiress wife – said: ‘I’m going to stay as a Member of Parliament.’

Rishi Sunak (pictured on the BBC today) is widely expected to be defeated by Liz Truss when the results of the contest are finally announced tomorrow

Rishi Sunak (pictured on the BBC today) is widely expected to be defeated by Liz Truss when the results of the contest are finally announced tomorrow

Instead he stressed he would continue to 'support the Conservative government', even though there are signs Ms Truss (pictured) will not offer him a job in her Cabinet

Instead he stressed he would continue to ‘support the Conservative government’, even though there are signs Ms Truss (pictured) will not offer him a job in her Cabinet

Revealing he was with activists in his constituency after the campaign formally ended on Friday, Mr Sunak said: ‘It’s been a great privilege to represent them as their Member of Parliament for Richmond in north Yorkshire, I’d love to keep doing that as long as they’ll have me.’

He added: ‘It’s presumptuous for me to say because I have to get selected by my own members. But I was with them on Friday night and it’s been a great privilege to represent them. And I know I can do good work for them.’

Asked if he would run in the leadership again if he does not win this time, Mr Sunak said: ‘Oh gosh. We’ve just finished this campaign. So, I’d say … I need to recover from this one. But I look forward to supporting the Conservative government in whatever capacity.’

Asked if that is a yes, he said: ‘No gosh, no no no, I think my job now is just to support a Conservative government. That’s what I want to see succeed and that’s what I’ll do.’

Mr Sunak said he does not believe the problem of rising energy bills can be solved ‘for everybody’.

Asked what he would do on day one about energy bills, Mr Sunak said: ‘I think this is the most pressing issue facing the country. I said that from the beginning of the campaign and that’s why I set out a clear plan and framework for how I would go about addressing it and providing support to people.’

He added: ‘I think everyone is going to need some help given the scale of the challenge. And then two other groups of people who will need further help. That’s those on the lowest incomes, about a third of all households in the country, and then the third group of pensioners.’

He said he would provide direct financial support to the latter two groups, but, asked how much people would get under his plans, Mr Sunak said: ‘It wouldn’t be right or responsible for me to sit here and give you the exact to the pennies and the pound amount, and that’s because I’m not inside. I haven’t seen all the numbers, the nation’s finances.’

‘When you have a situation like this, I don’t think you can solve the problem for everybody and it would be wrong to pretend otherwise. But what I’ve done in the past is target the most help on the most vulnerable,’ he added.

In her own interview, Ms Truss vowed ‘immediate’ action to help Britons with energy costs if she is confirmed as Tory leader tomorrow.

The Foreign Secretary said her prospective new government would lay out steps within a week – admitting that the country faces ‘serious challenges’.

Ms Truss refused to say exactly what the support measures will include and even refused to rule out copying Labour’s £70billion plan to freeze the energy cap. She also dodged when asked what would happen if Vladimir Putin turns off the gas taps this winter. 

But, appearing on the BBC‘s new Sunday political show hosted by Laura Kuenssberg, she played down fears about an ‘Armageddon scenario’ insisting that the UK has weathered tougher situations before. 

Ms Truss made clear that a wider tax-cutting package will be brought forward in the next month – rejecting criticism that the wealthy will benefit and arguing there has been too much focus on ‘redistribution’ rather than boosting growth.

In a tough message for voters, Ms Truss said: ‘I will be clear with the public about the challenges we face and the tough decisions we need to make. 

‘But Britain has been through worse in the past – we have the attitude and spirit to get through it.’ 

She added: ‘If I’m elected as prime minister, within one week I will make sure there is an announcement on how we are going to deal with the issue of energy bills and of long-term supply to put this country on the right footing for winter.’ 

Mr Sunak stressed he would target help at the poorest before broader tax cuts. 

‘I think everyone is going to need some help given the scale of the challenge. And then two other groups of people who will need further help. That’s those on the lowest incomes, about a third of all households in the country, and then the third group of pensioners.’

He said he would provide direct financial support to the latter two groups, but, asked how much people would get under his plans, Mr Sunak said: ‘It wouldn’t be right or responsible for me to sit here and give you the exact to the pennies and the pound amount, and that’s because I’m not inside. I haven’t seen all the numbers, the nation’s finances.’

Kwasi Kwarteng

James Cleverly is said to be in the running to be Ms Truss’s successor as Foreign Secretary

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (left) is likely to become Chancellor if Ms Truss wins, while James Cleverly (right) could be Foreign Secretary

‘When you have a situation like this, I don’t think you can solve the problem for everybody and it would be wrong to pretend otherwise. But what I’ve done in the past is target the most help on the most vulnerable,’ he added.

Assuming she fends off the challenge from Mr Sunak as expected, Ms Truss will be installed as the replacement for Boris Johnson at lunchtime on Monday, before officially taking over in No10 on Tuesday.

The in-tray for the incoming PM looks the grimmest for decades, with fears rising that the energy crisis sparked by Vladimir Putin could cause misery and even blackouts this winter. There has been anger about drift in government as the Conservative contenders battled it out over the summer.

Ms Truss has been holed up at her grace-and-favour Chevening residence drawing up a strategy.

Due to the Queen’s mobility issues the traditional ‘kissing of hands’ to mark the handover of power will happen at Balmoral in Scotland, rather than Buckingham Palace. As a result the new team could be put in place largely by phone, rather than the usual parade of ministers going into Downing Street.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng – an early champion for her leadership bid and a neighbour in south-east London – is widely tipped to become Chancellor. 



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