Sunak embarked on heroic flight to prevent PM from sleepwalking into another lockdown

Rishi Sunak grilled on income tax offer by Andrew Marr

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The former Chancellor is going head to head with the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to fight for the leadership of the Tory Party. In the final ballot, Mr Sunak led the pack with 137 votes while Liz Truss bagged the final place in the contest with 113 votes.

The pair are now embarking on the campaign trail to encourage the backing of more Tory members who will decide who will take on the role of Prime Minister and leader of the party.

Speaking on LBC Radio, the MP for Richmond told the audience how he saved the country from going into yet another lockdown ahead of the Christmas period in 2021.

The spread of the Omicron variant put the country and therefore the economy once again at risk as the Government was “hours away” from locking down the country.

According to Mr Sunak, he flew back from a Government job in the United States to prevent his party from holding the press conference.

Much of the former Chancellor’s campaign is his experience of working for the Treasury during the unique economic challenges that the Government faced during Covid.

He also added that no lockdown measures or restrictions were put in place for that period as he had “won” the argument, which showed he is “prepared to push hard and fight for the things that I believe in even when that’s difficult”.

On December 16, the Prime Minister announced that there were no restrictions being implemented for the Christmas period and instead advised Brits to exercise “caution” and to limit contacts.

Speaking to Andrew Marr, Rishi Sunak said: “What I did in December was fly back from a Government trip I was on overseas.

“And I flew back to this country to stop us sleepwalking into a national lockdown, because we were hours away from a press conference that was going to lock this country down again because of Omicron.”

He added: “I came back and fought very hard against the system because I believe that would be the wrong thing for this country, with all the damage it would have done to businesses, to children’s education, to people’s lives.”

However, it was also on and around December 16 that Labour criticised the Chancellor for not being present in the UK for such a vital moment.

Labour told the Chancellor to “leave Hollywood and come back to reality” which was then confirmed when the Treasury announced he would be cutting his trip to the US short by a day.

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Multiple MPs have come out in support of Mr Sunak and they have used his actions and decisions during the pandemic as a reason to back the former Chancellor.

Andrew Bridgen, the MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “When Britain was facing the uncertainty of a global pandemic Rishi was there to ensure people in my constituency managed, he was there to support local businesses, and he was there to ensure our hospitality sector survived.

“He was there for the residents in North West Leicestershire.”

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