Nostalgia for Boris Johnson as Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak battle in UK leadership race

NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM: Some Return Liz Truss became the next leader of Britain’s ruling Conservative party while others supported Rishi Sunak. But behind the scenes, some Tory activists regret that the prime minister Boris Johnson will soon leave, and is worried about the future.
Several hundred local party members gathered in an airport hotel meeting room near Norwich in eastern England on Thursday night for the penultimate event that has sent Truss and Sunak across Britain, trying to attract members. pellets.
The event cuts across the values ​​Tory holds dear, from patriotism and personal responsibility to scathing attacks on Labor, Scottish independence, the EU and the so-called “culture wars” “.
It was a drink intended for a predominantly elderly audience, who joined the young Tories in “Ready for Rishi” or “Liz for leader” t-shirts.
Inflation has been on the rise since Johnson stepped down on July 7, inflation, with rates at a 40-year high, and concerns about sky-high energy bills in the winter.
Sunak once again pushed the proposal for more aid to the poorest while Truss remained unwavering in her preference for tax cuts.
That found favor with farmer and local councilor Julian Kirk. “Businesses are bearing the brunt of the tax rate at the moment,” he told AFP.
Kirk, wearing a UK-Ukraine brooch, said he was confident Truss would side with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the invasion of Ukraine.
“If we can stop him, energy prices will drop slowly,” he added.
The chairman of the local Tory party in Norwich, Simon Jones, also supports Truss, who has represented a local constituency since 2010.
Secretary of State Jones, 56, said: “She has done a better job than all the ministers in the cabinet.
Supporters of former finance minister Sunak claim their man has proven his credibility thanks to the Covid support package for businesses.
Librarian Iain Frost, 37, said: “I don’t necessarily support the multitude of handouts but this (the cost-of-living crisis) is a once-in-a-lifetime, pandemic-like event. “.
Frost added: “I think one of the main tasks of government is to protect its people.
Sunak is the frontrunner in the lead race But recent polls show Truss currently leading with more than 30 points.
“I’m surprised Rishi Sunak isn’t more famous,” said retired policeman John Crane, 71.
“I think his policies are much more sensible given the problems the country is facing at the moment.”
Ian Dimmock, also 71, agrees: “There needs to be a big move not towards cutting taxes for us but to helping those who are paid less.”
But he said he is still undecided about who to vote for, as the deadline for returning votes has arrived on September 2.
Britain’s next Prime Minister will be decided by just under 200,000 junior Tory members, with the results announced on September 5.
As the leader of the largest party in parliament, the winner becomes prime minister.
Trucks were seen in Downing Street, while Johnson, who remains prime minister until his successor is chosen, was on holiday.
His unfortunate departure, after a series of scandals including locking down parties in the government, is still on everyone’s mind.
Jones says he is a “strong supporter” of Johnson, who won a landslide victory in 2019 on the promise of taking the country out of the European Union.
“I thought his enthusiasm was amazing,” he said.
“The last thing I got was talking to people on the street. We’ve lost people’s trust.”
The public confidence has seen Johnson’s Tories suffer a string of previous election defeats in former safety seats and the emergence of several seats in local polls.
Sunak supporter Elizabeth Nockolds, 71, said she was disappointed Johnson quit because he was still popular despite his problems.
But she said of his door lock violation, for which he was fined by the police: “I feel that if he asks the public to do something, he should do it too. ”
Some activists cannot forgive Sunak for causing Johnson’s downfall by resigning.
Kirk noted that Truss “supported Boris until the very end, which is what appeals to most of us”.
The next general election is due in January 2025 at the latest, but after 12 years in power and shortening their populist period, few believe Truss or Sunak can lead the party to victory. .
“Boris Johnson could do it. Unfortunately, he ruined his chances,” Crane said.

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