Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak continue with their campaigns to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader. Ms Truss and Mr Sunak will lock horns at the second leadership hustings in Exeter later today less than a week after Sunday Express columnist Nick Ferrari hosted the opening event in Leeds.
Ahead of the hustings, Margaret Thatcher’s former policy researcher Nile Gardiner gave his backing to Ms Truss.
Despite campaigning for the UK to stay in the EU, Mr Gardiner claimed Ms Truss is a “devout Brexiteer” and suggested the outwardly Eurosceptic former Chancellor was “weak-kneed” in the face of the Brussels bloc.
Ms Gardiner, who is the director at the Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom, told GB News: “Liz Truss today is a devout and very strong Brexiteer.
“She has an outstanding record in Government at advancing Brexit, you saw that as International Trade Secretary, you’ve seen that as Foreign Secretary.
“I think Brexit is safe in her hands.”
The Iron Lady’s former adviser added: “With Rishi Sunak, on the other hand, he voted for Brexit but what has he actually done to advance Brexit?
“He didn’t do a great deal as Chancellor, he didn’t stand up to the EU.
“In fact, I would describe Rishi Sunak as very weak-kneed in the face not only of the Chinese but also in the face of the European as well.
“Liz Truss is a lot tougher, a lot stronger and I think the EU really fears Liz Truss.”
Team Sunak has been keen to stress the Richmond MP’s Brexiteer credentials.
During a leadership event in Mrs Thatcher’s hometown of Grantham, Mr Sunak said: “If we are to deliver on the promise of Brexit then we’re going to need someone who actually understands Brexit, believes in Brexit, voted for Brexit.”
According to the most recent YouGov opinion poll, Ms Truss has opened up a commanding 24-point lead over Mr Sunak, with particularly high levels of support among Brexit-backing Tory members.
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