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Polls could be wrong, says Rishi Sunak supporter Oliver Dowden

08 Aug Polls could be wrong, says Rishi Sunak supporter Oliver Dowden

PROMINENT Rishi Sunak backer Oliver Dowden has suggested that the race for the Tory leadership is closer than polls suggest.

He told GB News: “I’m finding as we go up and down the country having conversations with members, they’re hearing Rishi’s message and after the very grave warnings that we heard from the Bank of England about the future direction of the economy, about the scourge of inflation, they understand that Rishi Sunak is somebody with the skills and the experience to deal with this.

“Crucially, they understand, the first thing we’ve got to do is crush this scourge of inflation, that is at the root cause of all of this.

“That’s why, for example, Rishi was endorsed just last week by Nigel Lawson, one of the best chancellors we ever had, who served under Margaret Thatcher, who understands the need to crush inflation first, because it makes everyone poor and then to cut people’s taxes for the long term.”

Speaking during an interview with Isabel Webster and Paul Hawkins, he said: “I’ve been around politics for quite a long time…and we can all remember what pollsters said at different times.

“We all remember before the 2015 election that was written off for the Conservatives, before the Brexit referendum that was written off for Brexit.

“I’ve learned that a key thing you have to do is to make sure you get out there to make your arguments to people and I, both as a constituency MP and former chairman of the Conservative Party, I know that Conservative Party members are sensible people, they’re patriots and they care passionately about this country, but also lots of them have long memories.

“They remember how bad it is when inflation gets out of control. Inflation makes absolutely everyone poor.

“If you’re a pensioner, if you’re on the fixed income of your savings, or if you’re earning year after year. You get poor.

‘If you’ve got inflation at over 13% and that happens year after year, within a couple of years your savings have reduced in value by a third, your pensions reduced in value by a third.

“That’s why it’s crucial that we control that first and people are responding to that from Rishi.”

Me Dowden said: “It’s a great attribute of Rishi that he’s incredibly hard-working. I’ve had the honour of working with three previous prime ministers, many people at the top of government, but I’ve never known someone who worked so hard.

“You’ll see from Rishi if he is elected leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister, somebody who brings that hard work, passion and commitment to the nation.

“As for that video, I think he was actually making an important point. Under the Labour years, money was just shovelled into inner city areas on the basis those were deprived without understanding there is deprivation across our country.

“Just take my own constituency of Hertsmere, it has some very wealthy areas but also it has a ward that is in the top 10% of poorest wards in the whole country.

“Deprivation exists outside the big northern cities and I think that’s the point that he was making, that we need to make sure that we get those resources to where the actual need is and not accept formulas that we inherited from Labour.”

He added: “We as conservatives understand that we need to make sure that we get those resources to where they’re needed and for too long Labour has taken this blanket approach and ignored those areas of deprivation.

“In London, in the wider southeast of England and other suburban areas, it’s really important that we help all parts of the country and be committed to levelling up.”