Sunak: Mike Parry brands Rishi Sunak 'a snake'
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With Mr Johnson still in the crosshairs over the so-called party gate affair, pressure is on the PM to act fast and efficiently to “get the job done” as he claims he wants to do. One of the major challenges that still lie ahead for Number 10 is resolving the huge backlog of patients faced by the NHS, and is something Mr Johnson wants to resolve prior to the next election.
However, according to one expert, the task requires the financial backing of Number 11 Downing Street, and here lies the issue for the Prime Minister.
Records suggest there are currently over six million patients on the NHS waiting list – a record high.
Camilla Tominey, a journalist and broadcaster, claimed the health service was expecting Mr Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid to tackle the backlog hands on.
However, according to Ms Tominey: “On Monday, it emerged that the Treasury had refused to sign off the plans amid concerns over value for money after deadlines for hitting treatment targets slipped as a result of the omicron surge.”
Ms Tominey, writing The Telegraph, said: “Rishi Sunak is understood to have paused the funding because the NHS was working towards a March 2025 target of eliminating the one-year waiting list, which has spiralled 200-fold to around 300,000 because of Covid, but the Government wants it cleared ahead of the 2024 election.”
However, Mr Sunak claims he “hadn’t blocked anything” when speaking on Monday, claiming that he wanted the country to enjoy “good value for money” when it came to Government spending.
According to Ms Tominey, this signals differing views between the Downing Street neighbours.
She said: “The episode highlights Mr Sunak’s growing influence on government policy in the wake of a dramatic ‘reset’ of Mr Johnson’s administration.”
The author also highlighted another sign that the scales were tipping in favour of Mr Sunak.
She stated: “With Henry Newman, Carrie Johnson’s best friend, also having left Downing Street on Monday to work on Michael Gove’s “levelling up” agenda, the power balance appears to have shifted.
“It has not gone unnoticed that Stephen Barclay, Mr Johnson’s new chief of staff, is a former Chief Secretary to the Treasury who is also close to Mr Sunak.”
The expert then went on to compare the current Prime Minister and Chancellor to the past, suggesting a pattern is emerging.
She states: “Some in Tory circles are now even talking of a Blair and Brown-style pact having been agreed by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, not only to quell backbench unrest but also to ensure Mr Johnson’s survival, in the short term at least.”
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According to Ms Tominey, there are even rumours for a new PM Sunak senior cabinet.
She wrote: “Another insider said there has even been some “war-gaming” around the idea of Mr Sunak as the next leader, Jeremy Hunt as chancellor and Mr Javid as foreign secretary.”
Ending her column, Ms Tominey said of Mr Sunak: “On Thursday, he refused to rule out a leadership bid if Mr Johnson was toppled by MPs.
“That came after he distanced himself from the comments the Prime Minister made about Sir Keir Starmer failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile.”
HAS THE BALANCE OF POWER CHANGED AT DOWNING STREET? IS THERE A RIFT BETWEEN MR JOHNSON AND MR SUNAK? WILL RISHI SUNAK BE THE NEXT PM? LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. CLICK HERE TO HAVE YOUR SAY!
Publicly, Mr Sunak has vocally shown support for the Prime Minister.
Although Mr Sunak refused to rule out a challenge to the PM, when asked directly about other MPs backing him for the top job, he said: “Well, that’s very kind of them to suggest that,
“But what I think people want from me is to focus on my job…
“I know a few of my colleagues have said that and they’ll have their reasons for doing that.
“But I don’t think that’s the situation we’re in. The Prime Minister has my full support.”
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