Rishi Sunak’s bid to become the next Prime Minister is being hindered by accusations that he betrayed Boris Johnson, allies have said
- Senior ministers have accused Sunak of leading a coup to oust Boris Johnson
- One Tory members told Tory hustings in Leeds that he stabbed Boris in back
- Allies of Sunak have said that the ‘betrayal’ narrative is proving a big problem
- But last night senior Sunak ally claimed people switching to support Sunak
Accusations that Rishi Sunak is a ‘Boris betrayer’ are proving a major challenge for him as Tory members prepare to vote in the leadership contest, allies of the former chancellor have said.
Mr Sunak – who is more than 30 points behind Liz Truss, according to two polls this week – has been blamed by senior ministers for leading a ‘coup’ to oust Boris Johnson.
One Tory member told Mr Sunak at last week’s hustings in Leeds that he ‘stabbed him in the back’.
Now allies of Mr Sunak have said the narrative that he betrayed his former boss is proving a ‘big problem’.
Mr Sunak – who is more than 30 points behind Liz Truss, according to two polls this week – has been blamed by senior ministers for leading a ‘coup’ to oust Boris Johnson
One minister told The Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s certainly a narrative that has got a bit of traction amongst members, and it’s the old problem that he who wields the knife never wears the crown.’
But last night a senior Sunak ally claimed voters are switching to the former chancellor as they realise Miss Truss cannot replicate Mr Johnson’s ‘populist appeal’.
They said: ‘When people meet Rishi, they realise he is an intelligent, capable and likeable politician. When they leave the meeting, they invariably support him.’
Last night a senior Sunak ally claimed voters are switching to the former chancellor as they realise Miss Truss cannot replicate Mr Johnson’s ‘populist appeal’
Allies are also claiming that the delay to ballots reaching party members – due to fears over the process being vulnerable to hacking raised by GCHQ – could help Mr Sunak.
Supporters said the delay will expose Miss Truss to more scrutiny ahead of the vote. David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, told Talk TV that ‘a degree of delay is helpful to us’ as ‘exposure to challenge is a very important part of this process’.
Insiders close to Miss Truss refused to be drawn on whether a delay would help or hinder her. Ballot papers were meant to arrive this week, but some could arrive as late as August 11.
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