These are the latest odds for our next Prime Minister, the return for Sunak to a £1 stake is 900p for Truss it is 11p. My simple maths tells me the market reckons Truss 80 times more likely to win. In a two horse race, you would not be betting on a 9-1 outsider.
Time is running out for Sunak: more than 150,000 ballot papers start arriving on the doorsteps of Tory members on Monday, meaning that voting to choose the next party leader begins next week.
Sunak hopes a series of 12 hustings with party members, which started in Leeds on Thursday, will provide him with a route back. But Truss performed well in her home town and Sunak was accused by one member of “stabbing” Johnson in the back by resigning as chancellor this month.
Sunak’s strategy of presenting himself as the serious leader for difficult times so far appears to have failed. Instead, Truss has portrayed the former chancellor as the continuity candidate, unable to break free from Treasury orthodoxies and leading Britain into recession.
Throughout this week Sunak has tried to close the gap on Truss, notably on Monday during a primetime BBC1 debate when he frequently interrupted the foreign secretary to attack her “inflationary” plans to immediately cut taxes.
Opinion polling after the debate suggested viewers thought the event was essentially a draw, but many viewers complained about the interruptions. Truss’s team accused Sunak of “aggressive mansplaining”. Then, having spent much of his campaign criticising Truss for proposing to swiftly cut taxes, Sunak on Tuesday announced his own “temporary” £4bn cut in value added tax on household energy bills.
There are two questions for me
- How can Sunak have so misjudged the views of his party membership?
- Are the party members representing the views of the country?
Sunak’s slick campaign has I suspect been designed to show the country how he would lead, but it has annoyed the 150,000 voters who will make the choice.
If Julius Pursail is indicative of the rest of the country, then Sunak’s miscalculation could leave the Conservative party , for the second time in five years, with a leader – and the country with a Prime Minister – that has no public mandate.
And even more worrying, what if the country saw those 150,000 members voting like this?
Thanks Steve Groves