Rishi Sunak 'awful lot more popular' says Sir John Curtice
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Rishi Sunak’s promises from the Tory leadership race are all on the table, Downing Street has said. No 10 today refused to commit to any of the new PM’s pledges during the contest over the summer.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary said the economic situation had changed since the summer when Mr Sunak lost out to Ms Truss.
She said: “We are looking at all the campaign pledges and we are looking at whether it is the right time to take them forward.
“We need to take some time to make sure what is deliverable and what is possible, and engaging with stakeholders and with the relevant secretaries of state as well.
“Obviously, those are pledges that were made a few months ago now and the context is somewhat different, obviously, economically. We need to look again.”
On the 2019 Tory manifesto, the PM’s press secretary said he was “committed to the promise of the manifesto”.
Mr Sunak had already abandoned plans set out over the summer to fine patients £10 for missed NHS appointments and to hold migrants on cruise ships.
It comes as the new PM, who entered No 10 last month following Ms Truss’s resignation, looks to plug a huge black hole in the public finances.
He will unveil the plans he has drawn up with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in the autumn Budget later this month.
During Prime Minister’s Questions earlier, Mr Sunak insisted “fairness and compassion” will be at the heart of spending decisions.
He made the comments after being pressed by SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford on pensions and benefits.
Mr Blackford said: “In May of this year, the new Prime Minister told this chamber, and I quote, ‘I can reassure the House that next year’s benefits will be uprated by this September’s CPI and the triple lock will apply for the state pension’.
“But last week the Prime Minister repeatedly refused to say if he would keep to a promise that he made only five months ago.
“Prime Minister, people don’t need to hear any more spin about compassionate Conservatism, people just need a straight answer to a simple question: will he keep his promise and lift benefits and pensions in line with inflation?”
Mr Sunak insisted it “would not be right to comment on individual policy measures” before the autumn statement.
He added: “I think everyone knows we do face a challenging economic outlook and difficult decisions will need to be made.
“What I would say is that we will always, as my track record as Chancellor demonstrates, have fairness and compassion at the heart of everything we do.”
It comes after it was announced this morning that Mr Sunak had U-turned on attending the Cop27 climate summit and would now travel to Egypt.
His change of heart came less than 24 hours after former PM Boris Johnson confirmed he would be attending.
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