Welsh Secretary says the world has ‘moved on’ since he abandoned Sunak for Truss during leadership contest
The Welsh Secretary has said that the political world has “moved on” since he abandoned Rishi Sunak for Liz Truss during the Conservative leadership campaign in the summer.
Robert Buckland became the first cabinet member to switch his support from Rishi Sunak to Liz Truss, as the latter looked increasingly likely to win the Conservative leadership contest in August.
But Robert Buckland said that he now backed Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister and that the issue that made him part ways with the former Chancellor over the summer was now less politically important.
Writing in the Telegraph the Welsh Secretary said that he had disagreed with Rishi Sunak on the issue of a British Bill of Rights.
“In the summer, after a difference of view on the proposed Bill of Rights, I parted company with Rishi’s campaign,” he said.
“I decided then that it was better to be open about my differences and to declare my change of opinion, rather than conceal it from public scrutiny.
“Now I believe it is right for me to outline again who I am backing and why. I supported Boris Johnson as our leader and prime minister, and served in his Cabinet from 2019 to 2021.
“However, on July 7 this year, I called for him to resign, as I no longer believed that he commanded sufficient confidence to continue in post. Boris has rightly conceded that now is not the time for a return to those dramas.
“The world has moved on. Nothing less than the future of our livelihoods and businesses is at stake, and we have no time to lose. As people worry about their food and energy bills, our Government has to focus on their concerns and nothing else.”
‘Changed my mind’
Writing in August about why he was backing Liz Truss over Rishi Sunak, Robert Buckland’s analysis also extended to economic issues.
“Liz understands the need to make supply-side reforms, unlocking the private sector that powers our economic growth through investment and providing high-skilled jobs, such as the ones I saw at Airbus in North Wales on my visit with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor on Thursday.”
He also hinted that it may be time for Rishi Sunak to concede so that they did not allow “what has been an overall positive contest for our party slide into more blue-on-blue as the weeks roll on”.
“It is time for positive politics, time to come together, and time for Liz to lead.”
Sir Robert wrote: “I know both candidates well and have worked with them in government and in Cabinet. At the outset of the contest, I wrote for The Telegraph outlining what my underlying approach to this contest would be.
“I have looked at ideas and principles first, and personalities second. During the parliamentary rounds, I backed Rishi Sunak as I felt that he was at that stage embodying what we needed.
“As the campaign has moved on, and as I have listened carefully to both candidates, I have thought deeply about the issues that move me and what I want to see the next prime minister doing.
“Changing your mind on an issue like this is not an easy thing to do, but I have decided that Liz Truss is the right person to take our country forward.”
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