UK PM: Racism not factor in decision to join Tories, says Sunak
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that racism was not a factor in Conservative Party members’ decision to vote for the party’s next leader and successor to Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister.
The runner-up in the 10 Downing Street race who trails his opponent, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, in polls during the leadership campaign due to end on September 5, dismissed factors such as gender or ethnicity that would play a part in the mailing of Conservative members polls as early as next week. This followed an Indian-born businessman and Conservative Party donor, Lord Rami Ranger, saying in a video last week that Britain would be seen as racist if Sunak lost the Tory leadership election. .
“I absolutely don’t think that’s a factor in anyone’s decision. I just don’t think it’s fair,” Sunak told The Daily Telegraph in an interview.
“I was chosen as MP for Richmond. Our members rightly put merit above all else. I’m sure when they look at this issue they are just determining who is the best person to be. Prime Minister…ethnicity and everything else will have nothing to do with it,” said the Tory MP for Richmond, Yorkshire.
The 42-year-old British Indian politician acknowledges having ‘caught up’ to Liz Truss in the race as he continues his UK campaign tour to win votes from Conservative Party members.
“Not so long ago, the comment was that I wouldn’t even have entered this competition,” he pointed out, referring to his wife Akshata Murty’s tax status attacks on her Infosys shares. .
“I believe I can build a country where the defining characteristics of our society are hard work, aspiration and hope, a society where a world-class education is the birthright of every child, a society where we run the world and standards of decency and integrity, and a society where we’re really proud of our history and our traditions, but we’re really confident about our future. We don’t hear a lot about it because everything the world wants to focus on a very narrow conversation,” he said, alluding to his disappointment with tax cuts being the race’s dominating issue.
As part of his plans to reform the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) if elected Prime Minister, Sunak said he would impose a temporary £10 fine on patients who fail to show up at a general practitioner (GP) or outpatient appointment without giving sufficient notice to allow the practice or hospital to offer the slot to another patient.
The first time a patient misses an appointment they will get the ‘benefit of the doubt’ but subsequent missed appointments will incur a £10 charge each time.
“We already pay for appointments. If they’re not used, it’s a waste. So if we can change that, we’ll essentially get more out of the money we’re investing today. That’s a good example of a conservative approach to this problem,” he told the newspaper.
In interactions with Tory members during the election campaign, his supporters urged him not to give up even though he is the underdog in the race.
“I fight for the values I believe in. I fight for the things I think are good for our country. And I’m not going to stop,” he reassured a supporter.
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