Portillo squashes Sunaks hopes as Tory leadership election slipping away from Rishi

Rishi Sunak is 'losing the campaign' says Michael Portillo

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Michael Portillo believes Rishi Sunak is “losing the campaign” with the former Chancellor failing to claw back the comfortable polling lead held by Liz Truss. Mr Sunak has himself acknowledged he is trailing Ms Truss in the polls but has vowed to fight for every vote.

Mr Portillo told LBC: “I think it is slipping away from him, and Liz Truss, she’s an extraordinary performer in a way she manages to combine fluency and hesitancy as I just have in that sentence as well, by the way.

“It’s a curious way in which she performs, but she had the audience on side and I think today Ben Wallace coming out for her is quite significant.

“He’s been quite tough because he said that she’s not slick, which is a way of implying that Rishi Sunak is slick. 

“Ben Wallace has worked very closely with Liz Truss so if he had said that he was not in favour of Liz Truss, that would have suggested that someone who worked very closely with her didn’t think much of her.

READ MORE: Thatcher’s ex-Cabinet colleague backs Sunak in Tory leadership race 

“In much the same way as I’m afraid Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, saying that he’s supporting Liz Truss whereas he was working day in day out with Rishi Sunak.

“That is also not good for Rishi Sunak.

“I think it is slipping away from Rishi Sunak.

“I think actually he is losing the campaign.”

Rishi Sunak grilled on resignation at Tory leadership hustings

Liz Truss’s campaign for No 10 was boosted by Mr Wallace’s endorsement after she and rival Rishi Sunak faced a grilling from voters in the first official hustings with Tory members in Leeds.

The Defence Secretary threw his support behind Ms Truss, as he criticised Mr Sunak for “walking out the door” of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

It came after the candidates were quizzed separately on a vast array of policy areas – as well as their predictions for the Women’s Euro 2022 final – as they sought to woo northern voters in the race for the top job.

The event, hosted by LBC’s Nick Ferrari, was the first of 12 sessions for the party faithful across the country to question the final two contenders, before voting for the next Tory leader and prime minister closes on September 2.

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While they did not address one another directly, tax continued to be a significant dividing line between the pair.

Mr Sunak took a veiled swipe at Ms Truss by saying he would not “embark on a spree, borrowing tens and tens of billions of pounds of unfunded promises and put them on the country’s credit card”.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss criticised windfall taxes – something Mr Sunak imposed as a one-off on energy companies as chancellor.

She said: “I don’t believe in windfall taxes, because they put off future investment.

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