Has Rishi Sunak’s mask finally slipped?
The Tory leadership hopeful may have put the kibosh on an already wilting campaign, after a video emerged of the former Chancellor bragging about his efforts to divert cash from poor parts of the country to leafy Tunbridge Wells.
In the clip, Sunak said Labour had “shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas” and that “needed to be undone”.
He added: “I managed to start changing the funding formulas to make sure areas like this are getting the funding they deserved.”
The footage was obtained by the New Statesman, which said it was filmed at a meeting with grassroots Tories in Kent on 29 July.
Sunak’s copping enormous flak from all sides for the ill-judged remarks. Foreign Office minister Lord Goldsmith called it “one of the weirdest – and dumbest – things I’ve ever heard from a politician.”
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Labour said Sunak’s open boasting about “funnelling taxpayers’ money to rich Tory shires” was “scandalous”.
True, Sunak hardly had a reputation as Man of the People – remember the clip about him having no working class friends? – before the footage came to light, despite all the froth about Comrade Rishi being somewhere to the left of Che Guevara on fiscal policy.
Yet he already had a Herculean task on his hands to catch Liz Truss, the runaway favourite to receive the keys to Number 10. This latest howler may have sunk him for good.