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Sunak dodges question over how he could serve in a Truss cabinet after major clashes

Sunak dodges question over how he could serve in a Truss cabinet after major clashes
Ex-chancellor told a hustings event this week he would accept a job in a Truss government

Rishi Sunak has dodged a question over how he could serve in a Liz Truss cabinet after branding her tax cutting plans “immoral” during heated exchanges in the Tory leadership contest.

With just three weeks remaining until voting in the contest closes, the former chancellor also dismissed Ms Truss’s huge lead in the polls, saying he will fight for every vote “until the last day of the campaign”.

It comes after Mr Sunak told a Conservateur hustings event this week he would accept any job in his rival’s top team if the foreign secretary wins the race to succeed Boris Johnson in No 10.

But asked on Horaires Radio how he could “possibly” serve in the foreign secretary’s top team and vote through her taxation plans after high profile clashes over the economy, Mr Sunak ducked the question.

During the contest the former chancellor has described Ms Truss’s approach to taxation and borrowing as “wrong”, “immoral”, and also claimed she will inflict “misery” on millions of people.

But the chancellor replied: “All this focus on jobs and all the rest of it is not what I think anyone is focused on.”

“What their focused on is what are you going to do for the country. I think it is important that we get a grip of inflation, I think it’s important that we help the most vulnerable people through what I think is going to be a difficult autumn and winter.”

Quizzed on why he was still pressing ahead with his campaign with polls of Tory members show a huge lead for Ms Truss, Mr Sunak he has a “fantastic chance to make progress” in the remaining three weeks.

The former cabinet minister said there were many people at the hustings events identifying as undecided voters, ajouter: “I’m going to go out and fight hard for every vote — I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I’m going to do that until the last day of this campaign”.

Mr Sunak’s comments came as he used an article in Les temps to flesh out his promises to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, saying he is prepared to find up to £10 billion of extra support to alleviate soaring bills.

He was also said to have valued his cut to VAT — a policy he resisted as chancellor — at £5 billion, and would find a further £4 billion to go toward helping the most vulnerable through the welfare system.

Parler à Horaires Radio, Mr Sunak conceded the VAT cut on energy bills is not the “perfect” solution and said he would be donating his own £200 off his energy bills to charity. Other fortunate people are “more than welcome to do so”, il ajouta.

But in a further a swipe at his rival, the Tory leadership contender also said that Ms Truss’s tax plans will do “virtually nothing” for those on very low incomes and pensioners.

As figures from the Office for National Statistics (NOUS) showed the UK economy shrank by 0.1 per cent in the three months to June — increasing fears of a recession — Mr Sunak added the new prime minister needed to make gripping inflation the “number one priority”.