Saturday, August 6, 2022

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak fight for every vote as ballots fall on the floor mats in the race for prime minister

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The Foreign Secretary wrote a letter to all 200,000 Conservative members telling them: “You can trust me to deliver”, while William Hague told the grassroots in a video Mr Sunak was the party’s “best hope”.

The Secretary of State wrote directly to members asking for their support, telling them: “You can count on me to deliver.”

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have launched a battle for every one of their party’s 200,000 grassroots votes as the Tory leadership campaign’s ‘false war’ came to an end.

William Hague supporting Mr Sunak, recorded a video targeting the conservative basewho described the former Chancellor as “a highly disciplined, rational person” and “the best hope” for the future of the Tory party.

Ballots for the contest arrived in households on Monday, but if members change their minds they can vote online until 5pm on Friday September 2.

Mr Sunak is focused on hitting as many members as possible through the so-called “ground war” and aides claim he came face-to-face with 2,000 in 10 different Tory unification areas over the weekend.

Richard Holden, the Conservative MP for North West Durham who worked on Boris Johnson’s 2019 leadership campaign and made a since-dismissed complaint to Durham Police over Sir Keir Starmer’s “Beergate” affair, is leading Mr Sunak’s ground operation.

Aid workers believe Mr. Sunak can reach as many as 35,000 members during the seven-week campaign.

Ms. Truss’s camp did not give specific details about her ground operation, saying only that she plans to visit as many seats and members as possible.

In her letter to members, Ms Truss slammed her opponent, saying she was “honest and direct” and “I do what I say and I know what it takes to get things done”.

She added: “I want you to know that if you choose me, I will work tirelessly to fulfill the promises we made in 2019. I will rule as a Conservative.

“If you work hard, do what’s right, save your money, or start your own business, I’m on your side.

“And you can trust me to deliver. I’ve struck trade deals, defied Putin’s Russia and set about clarifying the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“We cannot continue as we have been and I have a bold plan to get our economy back on track.

“We must reject orthodoxy, the voices of decline, and unleash Britain’s potential in line with Conservative values… Now is the time to be bold. I have the vision and the plan to lead this party. Together we can do something for our great country.”

In his six-minute video to members, Lord Hague, the former Tory leader who held the Richmond seat in North Yorkshire before Mr Sunak, said: “I’ve campaigned with literally thousands of candidates. I have mentored dozens.

“It soon became clear that this was the most diligent and effective I had ever experienced.

“Having admired him through months of touring Yorkshire villages together, I almost do not wish him this position, one of the toughest jobs in the world at its worst moment in decades.

“But then I think of the next Prime Minister, sitting in Downing Street late at night, thinking how to help people with energy bills, how to settle the Northern Ireland Protocol, how to keep the unity of the West.

“The best hope is a highly disciplined, rational person who always does his utmost to understand… such a person is very rare to find in British politics. Members should realize that they have one in their midst. His name is Rishi Sunak. He has my full support.”

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