Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that racism is not a factor in the Conservative Party membership’s decision to vote for the next party leader and successor of Boris Johnson as British Prime Minister.
The finalist in the race to 10 Downing Street who is trailing his opponent, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, in surveys during the leadership election campaign set to conclude on September 5, dismissed factors such as gender or ethnicity would play a part in Tory members’ postal ballots from next week.
It followed an Indian-origin businessman and Conservative Party donor, Lord Rami Ranger, saying in a video last week that Britain would be seen as racist if Sunak goes on to lose the Tory leadership election.
“I absolutely don’t think that’s a factor in anyone’s decision. I just don’t think that’s right,” Rishi Sunak told ‘The Daily Telegraph’ in an interview.
“I was selected as a member of Parliament in Richmond Our members rightly put merit above everything else. I’m sure when they are considering this question, they are just figuring out who is the best person to be Prime Minister… Gender, ethnicity and everything else will have nothing to do with it,” said the Tory MP for Richmond, Yorkshire.
The 42-year-old British Indian politician acknowledges “playing catch-up” to Liz Truss in the race as he continues his campaign tour of the UK to win over Conservative Party members’ votes.
“It wasn’t that long ago, the commentary was that I wouldn’t even have been a part of this contest,” he pointed out, a reference to the attacks on his wife Akshata Murty’s tax status on her Infosys shares.
“I think I can build a country where the defining characteristics of our society are hard work and aspiration and hope, a society where a world-class education is the birth right of every child.