If the only choice in the leadership contest is between Hunt or Sunak there is no real opportunity, says Dan Wootton

If you thought the Westminster witch hunt to depose a sitting Prime Minister elected in a landslide majority less than three years ago was dirty, you ain’t seen nothing yet

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If you thought the Westminster witch hunt to depose a sitting Prime Minister elected in a landslide majority less than three years ago was dirty, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Already the Tory leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson has been awash with dirty tricks, damning dossiers and dodgy claims.

My concern is that in the rush to force a democratically-elected PM out of Number 10 as soon as humanly possible all of this is moving too damn fast – just in case anyone actually remembers all Boris has achieved and his enduring popularity with most folk outside the MSM, the political establishment and the left-wing.

Of course, there’s a reason for that.

The faster Tory MPs have to choose, the more chance there is of two candidates being selected who are acceptable to the grandees and the blob, rather than the people.

Hence the wave of commentary on the BBC around the inevitability of Boris assassin – the big state/high tax former Chancellor Rishi Sunak – making the final two.

They’re also trying to convince us how sensible it would be for the Tories to turn to the anti-Boris charisma-free Jeremy Hunt – the pro-Chinese Zero Covid strategy and pro-mandatory flu vaccination authoritarian.

The strategy is for the right of the party to be too divided as it chooses between a host of potentially brilliant Prime Ministers in Priti Patel, Suella Braverman, Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Kemi Badenoch or maybe even Jacob Rees Mogg and Nadine Dorries.

Because once this race for PM is in the hands of the brilliant and loyal Tory members, I have no doubt the right decision will be made.

But if the only choice is between, say, Hunt or Sunak then there’s no real opportunity.

After all, both say they there will be no income tax cuts if they take office – a position that I believe will push the Tory party towards New Labour and end up being suicidal at the ballot box…

A 421-word dossier about Sunak’s failures has now been published by the Daily Telegraph after circulating on Tory MP WhatsApp groups.

It reads in part…

Rishi Sunak is the Chancellor of the Exchequer who:

Proudly announced on Twitter his commitment to ‘big state’ spending of £150billion in ‘the largest increase in department spending this century’.

Broke a solemn Conservative Party manifesto promise not to raise taxes by increasing National Insurance.

Raised Corporation Tax by 30 percent.

Failed to deliver on the Brexit dividend to abolish 5 percent VAT on fuel.

Refuses to support calls for tax cuts on the private sector as, he now states, ‘fairy tales’ on the grounds that they would drive inflation yet has caved in to huge pay rises to the public sector.

Star Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson – a highly influential voice among the Tory grassroots – endorsed Penny Mordaunt today and wrote…

“Honestly, I want to scream and dash my head against the nearest brick wall when I hear that ‘Tory grandees’ are backing Rishi Sunak. Have they got a death wish? What party, in the midst of the worst fall in living standards for 40 years, would elect a multi-millionaire ex-banker as its leader? How deplorably tone-deaf. If we do that, we will deserve the kicking we will surely get.”

And an ally for Liz Truss told the Daily Mail today…

“Rishi has completely effed up our economic strategy. Where has this idea come from that tax cuts would be inflationary but putting £37billion into giveaways isn’t?”

It wasn’t hard to understand what and who the Foreign Secretary was referring to when she said in her launch column today for The Daily Telegraph…

“I will fight the election as a Conservative and govern as a Conservative.”

The Truss platform is to unite the red and blue wall by reversing the National Insurance increase that came in during April and slashing corporation tax.

Meanwhile, rumours are flying that Michael Gove’s endorsement of Kemi Badenoch is not genuine, but simply an attempt to split the right of the party to help Sunak come through the middle.

We know that Gove used these tactics to destroy the candidacy of Boris in 2016, which damned the country to three years of a rudderless Theresa May premiership.

So the next two weeks are incredibly important.

The MPs are making the decisions – that’s why it’s going to get so dirty.

But they will listen to you – so this is the time for you to make your voice heard about who you want to replace Boris.

Even if you’re like me and still feel furious and despondent about the toppling of the PM.