The shadow of Margaret Thatcher is looming large over Tory leadership race
The former chancellor has been quick to associate his own steady-as-she-goes approach to the public finances with Mrs Thatcher, although he declined to get into too much detail about the location choice when pressed on it by reporters.
Instead, he said what he proposes is “common-sense Thatcherism”.
Ms Truss recently hit out at comparisons to Mrs Thatcher, who died in 2013, calling them frustrating.
But it has been suggested the comparisons have not been unwelcome to Ms Truss, pointing to some of her eye-catching photo opportunities, even if the Foreign Secretary herself has tried to scoff such an idea.
Ms Truss donned military gear and perched in a tank for pictures during a visit to Estonia, echoing an image of former prime minister Mrs Thatcher in a tank in West Germany in 1986.
More recently, an outfit worn at one of the televised leadership debates bore uncanny similarities to the attire once worn by Mrs Thatcher.
But Ms Truss told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I am my own person.
“I’m from a very different background. I grew up in Yorkshire. I went to a comprehensive school. I am somebody who has worked all my life to get things done. And that’s what I want to do in the job.”
Mr Sunak used his speech today to take aim at his rival’s Brexit credentials warning about the dangers of inflation and the need for a new “radicalism” in government.
Speaking to a mostly friendly crowd, he called himself the “underdog” but stopped short of naming Ms Truss personally.
He told the crowd: “The forces that be want this to be a coronation for the other candidate. But I think members want a choice and they are prepared to listen.”
Pressed by reporters to be more specific, he said he was talking “generically”.
Elsewhere in his speech, Mr Sunak sought to create a clear dividing line between himself and Ms Truss as he implicitly criticised her proposed tax cuts, which she says will help decrease inflation.
“If we are to deliver on the promise of Brexit, then we’re going to need someone who actually understands Brexit, believes in Brexit, voted for Brexit,” he told the crowd, to cheers.
In a speech punctuated by frequent applause, he also said: “We have to tell the truth about the cost of living.
“Rising inflation is the enemy that makes everyone poorer and puts at risk your homes and your savings. And we have to tell the truth about tax.
“I will not put money back in your pocket knowing that rising inflation will only whip it straight back out.”
He called for the need for radicalism in politics, telling the crowd: “Real change is there, I swear it.”
That change includes a promised plan to tackle NHS backlogs, driven in part by a so-called “vaccines-style” taskforce.
Warning against “privatisation by the back door”, Mr Sunak announced plans to eliminate one-year NHS waiting times six months earlier than planned by September 2024, and to get overall numbers falling by next year.
It is a theme Mr Sunak focused on in an interview with The Times newspaper, where he said he would put the UK on a “crisis footing” from his first day as prime minister to deal with inflation and a host of other challenges.
“They’re challenges that are staring us in the face and a business-as-usual mentality isn’t going to cut it in dealing with them,” he said. “So from day one of being in office I’m going to put us on a crisis footing.”
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, a supporter of Mr Sunak, said the former chancellor had set out a “credible” plan on the economy and on the NHS.
He did not rule out someone from the private sector taking charge of the taskforce to tackle the NHS backlog in England, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I don’t think Rishi has set out who that would be.
“One thing we learned is that you can bring people in, either from across government where we’ve got excellent officials, or people with experience, and particularly the hybrid experience.”
Ms Truss is also on the campaign trail on Saturday, where she is expected to defended her economic vision.
A spokesperson for Ms Truss said: “Liz‘s plans for tax cuts will reward people for their hard work and effort, allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned money. You cannot tax your way to growth.
“We have the highest tax burden since the 1940s and as Prime Minister Liz will take immediate action to prioritise growth and cut taxes.”
Describing herself as an “insurgent” who wants to change things, she told the Telegraph newspaper of her vision of the UK as a “high growth, high productivity, powerhouse”.
On her plan to bring down inflation, she said: “I believe it is right that inflation will come down because inflation was caused by a global supply shock. But it was exacerbated by monetary policy. What I have said is in the future I’m going to look at the Bank of England’s mandate. It is set by the Treasury. It was last set by Gordon Brown in 1997.”
Pressed on her thinking on the Bank of England’s mandate, she added: “What I want to do is look at best practice from central banks around the world, look at their mandates, and make sure we have a tight enough focus on the money supply and on inflation.”
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