In Post-Combative TV Debate Rishi Sunak Loses in Conservative Party Opinion Poll
By ASHIS RAY
LONDON – Liz Truss, the incumbent caretaker Foreign Secretary in deposed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, beat her rival Rishi Sunak, the Indian-origin former Chancellor, according to a survey of ruling Conservative party members, the electoral college to choose the winner.
Forty-seven percent of respondents to pollster Opinium sounding them out felt Truss performed better versus 38 percent who thought likewise about Sunak.
However, Sunak marginally defeated Truss, again according to Opinium, in a poll of regular voters who watched the debate. Thirty-nine percent said Sunak won, while 38 percent stated Truss did.
The debate held at Stoke-on-Trent, a town in the west midlands of England, was hot-tempered and combative in which Sunak was noticeably aggressive, often talking over his opponent.
Sunak was trailing 62 percent to 38 percent in YouGov’s poll of Conservative members, who will begin voting next week and will have time up to September 2 next to do so. It would appear he did not make up sufficient ground with this constituency yet to turn the tables on Truss.
Clearly, Sunak’s strategy was to attack. Several viewers interviewed after the debate thought his constant interruptions were ‘rude’ and they sounded as if they were displeased by such behavior. It was certainly un-British tactics.
The two contenders clashed on tax cuts — Sunak sticking to doing so later, Truss promising it will be as soon as she comes prime minister.
On British policy towards China, both agreed this should be tough. Sunak said Truss was on a ‘journey’ when it came to China, alleging she had previously argued in favor of a ‘golden age’ in the UK’s relations with the country. Ultimately, they concurred on a clampdown on companies like TikTok.
Regarding loyalty to Johnson, Sunak resigned as chancellor of the exchequer thereby precipitating Johnson’s end, while Truss remained as a caretaker foreign secretary. Both attempted to justify their opposite stances.