Ben Wallace accuses Rishi Sunak of ‘walking out the door’ and ditching the economy when he quit
Mr Sunak admitted he was the underdog in the battle for leadership but said he would fight for every vote.
And he was confronted by a party member in the audience who told him many people thought he had been ‘traitorous’ to Boris Johnson and had ‘stabbed him in the back’.
Mr Sunak replied that resigning was the right thing to do – and that he would be able to bring the party back together.
“Better High Schools”
Asked by host Nick Ferrari if he would bring grammar schools back, the former chancellor said: “Yes, as you heard from me earlier, I believe in excellence in education. I believe the education is the most powerful way to transform people’s lives.
“But I also believe we can do a lot in the school system as it is. It’s about reforming the system to get better grammars.”
Mr Sunak’s team later clarified that the comment was about “the expansion of existing high schools”.
High schools were a key part of the post-war educational establishment, with children across the country taking eleven and older to decide whether they would be admitted or rather attend the local modern high school.
But during the 1960s and 1970s, most parts of the country decided to become comprehensive, meaning children of different abilities all went to the same school.
In 1998, the Labor Party decided that no public secondary schools should be opened and existing schools were prohibited from introducing further selection by ability.
This means that there are only around 160 grammar schools left in England. The promise of Mr. Sunak to return to the selection could therefore presage a revolution in the English education system.
“You stabbed him in the back”
Matthew Dransfield, a 47-year-old business investment consultant from West Yorkshire, has challenged Rishi Sunak for stabbing Boris Johnson in the back.
He said on the live broadcast: “Rishi Sunak, you are a good salesperson and have many strong attributes, but many people continue to support Boris Johnson who has always delivered his services in dangerous waters.
“A lot of people unfortunately think you stabbed him in the back. Some people don’t want to see that in number 10.
“I’m not sure what planet you are on. How do you plan to lead the party in the next elections? »
Mr Sunak replied that he was “very grateful to the Prime Minister…I gave my all for this work”.
“For me personally, it got to a point where I couldn’t stay. I had a significant difference of opinion with him on how to handle the economic challenges ahead of us.
“And with a situation like that, there was absolutely no way for me to stay. I had no choice but to quit and I’m sad I had to, but that was the right thing to do and it was me acting on my principles.”
He said he “resigned because the Prime Minister and the Chancellor cannot be in a different place when it comes to economic policy”.
After the hustings, Mr Dransfield said the Prime Minister had been the victim of a ‘coup’ and MPs had ‘a very short memory and could not remember the success of Boris Johnson at very times difficult”.
“At the end of the day he was stabbed in the back by a number of MPs and we look at that and it’s a bit surreal,” he said.
Mr Dransfield, who said he would not vote for Mr Sunak but could support Ms Truss, said he still hoped the Prime Minister’s name could be added to the contest.
Revealing he had signed a petition calling for Mr Johnson’s reinstatement, he said: ‘A lot of Commons don’t understand that we shouldn’t have this silly competition.
“It’s not a good thing for this country at a time when we are facing huge problems around the energy crisis, the war.
“I hope Boris can end up on the ballot,” he said, describing the prime minister as “a step above” the two contenders.
He said Mr Sunak’s role in bringing down the Prime Minister should effectively rule him out of the leadership, adding: “I don’t think it’s possible to get over this act that he committed.
“I think it’s treacherous. It’s a terrible thing to do and it’s not a good thing for the country at the moment. Boris Johnson has won a landslide victory.
“He sparked something as I see it. Obviously there are a number of politicians who felt compromised but this herd movement, it’s a terrible thing.”