Tory leadership: Sunak frustrated government attempts to realize Brexit benefits, say Truss allies – British Politics Live | Policy

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Hello. It may feel like the Tory leadership race has been going on forever, but in terms of official Conservative Party hustle and bustle, we’re not even halfway there. Tonight, at 7 p.m., the sixth husting will take place in Cheltenham. After that, there will be six more to go.

Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, remains the favorite and this morning her side is launching a new line of attack against her rival Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor. In a Daily Telegraph article, two leading Truss supporters, Simon Clarkthe Chief Secretary of the Treasury, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, accuse him of thwarting government attempts to realize the benefits of Brexit. They write:

[Sunak] talks on cutting EU regulations, but he backed down as Chancellor against efforts to do just that and realize the benefits of Brexit. We’ve both seen it in the cabinet, including resisting EU Solvency II reforms – making it harder for pension funds and investors to invest in UK businesses and infrastructure – and by being retrograde to move forward with legislation to address issues with Northern Ireland. protocol.

Sunak, of course, voted for Brexit in 2016, while Truss argued for staying. But part of the reason she seems to be so much more popular with Tory members (who are overwhelmingly pro-Brexit) is that she has managed to portray herself as a Brexit evangelist, while portraying Sunak as someone who was captured by the rest, Treasury Orthodoxy.

In their article, Clarke and Kwarteng talk about the importance of exploiting “the enormous economic opportunities of Brexit”. There isn’t much evidence yet that these huge opportunities actually exist, but a common misconception in the Brexitverse is that if Brexit isn’t working yet, it’s because it wasn’t properly implemented. work, and the Clarke/Kwarteng article reflects this thought. In this storyline, Sunak plays the role of Snowball from Animal Farm.

Sunak himself believes Brexit offers economic opportunity and, in response to the article, a campaign spokesperson said:

Rishi was one of the few ministers who offered real Brexit reforms as chancellor. From establishing eight free ports to tearing up EU financial services regulations, he laid out an appropriate plan for reform and change.

Sunak campaign sources also said it was ‘categorically untrue’ to say that Sunak opposed Solvency II rule reform and supported resistance in Brussels over the Ireland protocol. North.

(Clarke and Kwarteng accuse Sunak of being “backward” on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which could be new political terminology. This seems to mean he pointed out some of the downsides. Sunak is known for raising concerns that unilateral abandonment of the protocol could lead to a trade war with the EU.)

Both candidates are meeting Tory MPs ahead of tonight’s election campaign. And this morning, Kwarteng will meet heads of energy firms alongside Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor. At one point, it was suggested that they might use the meeting to propose expanding the scope of the windfall tax on energy companies. But that proposal has now been downgraded (Truss, the likely next PM, isn’t keen), and now it’s unclear what to expect from the meeting. There will be no substantial change in energy policy until the new Conservative leader is elected. But my colleagues Rowena Mason and Walker Stone get an overview here.

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