"I am prepared to give everything I have in service to our nation. Together we can Restore trust, Rebuild our economy and Reunite the country," said Rishi Sunak, as he comfortably clinched round two in the Conservative Party leadership race with 101 votes this week.
He is now most definitely the candidate to beat in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Tory leader and British Prime Minister, with just five candidates left in the fray. was knocked off the ballot after securing just 27 votes.
The next few rounds of voting among members of Parliament to whittle this list down to just two by July 21 is scheduled for early next week.
In an interview with the BBC, Sunak addressed all the major issues that will determine the election as it goes out to the wider Conservative membership base at the end of next week.
On Tax: “I think our number one economic priority is to tackle inflation and not make it worse. Inflation is the enemy and makes everybody poorer.
“I will get taxes down in this Parliament, but I'm going to do so responsibly. I don't cut taxes to win elections, I win elections to cut taxes.
“I want to cut taxes and I will deliver tax cuts, but we will do that in a measured way. And the only way to really do that sustainably over time is to ensure that the Conservatives win the next general election. And I'm convinced that I'm the best person to beat [ leader] Keir Starmer and secure that election victory.”
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On cost-of-living crisis: “When this country was faced with one of the biggest challenges that we had seen, I stepped up and in a matter of weeks put together and delivered the furlough scheme, which protected over 10 million people’s jobs and livelihood. That's an enormous amount of good for those people. I'm really proud of that achievement.”
On commitment to the UK: “I was living and working and studying [Stanford University] in America at the time, but I returned to the United Kingdom and decided to try and serve my country as an MP and then in government.
“And now hopefully if I'm fortunate enough as , and that's because I believe I'm the best person to lead us through the challenges we face, do that in an honest and responsible way. But also, I know I've got the energy and the experience and the vision to grow our economy.”
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On immigration: “I say that as the child and grandchild of . This country has a proud history of welcoming people, but it's also right that we're in control of who's coming here. And, sadly, there is an illegal set of criminal gangs who are causing people to die in pursuit of coming here. We must stop that. The policy that we've put in place gives us the ability to do so.”