Rishi Sunak tries to save PM bid with attack on ‘woke culture that wants to cancel women’
Rishi Sunak attacked “lefty woke culture” that allegedly “wants to cancel our women” in a desperate bid for votes at the Tory leadership hustings in Perth, Scotland.
Sunak and Liz Truss faced off again at the hustings, aiming to convince Conservative members that they should both lead the party and become Britain’s next prime minister.
Further hustings will take place in Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham and Norwich, with the final event taking place in London on 31 August, before the winner in announced on 5 September.
Sunak, whose wife, Akshata Murthy, is reported to be richer than the Queen and is believed to be the wealthiest man in the House of Commons, described himself to voters as someone who grew up with “simple values” and “hard work”.
At one point, while frantically pacing back and forth across the stage, Sunak made a confusing leap from discussing “farming and fisheries”, to desperately trying to get the audience on his side as Truss surges ahead in the polls by announcing: “I want to take on this lefty woke culture that seems to want to cancel our history, our values and our women.”
Rishi Sunak stoking the culture wars at the Conservative Hustings in Perth.
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— Eddie Burfi (@EddieBurfi) August 16, 2022
But playing into a culture war he seemed to have little interest in prior to the leadership race worked, and Sunak raised his arms as the audience burst into thunderous applause.
Rishi Sunak said little about LGBTQ+ rights until running for Tory leadership
Rishi Sunak was elected as MP for Richmond (Yorkshire) in 2015, but he had little to say about LGBTQ+ rights as he ascended from junior minister for local government, to chief secretary to the treasury, to chancellor of the exchequer under Boris Johnson.
But since beginning his fight for Conservative party leader, Sunak has increasingly used trans rights as a pawn to win support.
After launching his leadership bid, an ally of Sunak’s was quoted in the Mail on Sunday, insisting that he would reverse “recent trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language” as prime minister.
“We must be able to call a mother a mother and talk about breastfeeding,” the source said, and explained that Sunak planned to ban trans women from competing in women’s sport in a “manifesto for women’s rights”.
Sunak shared the article on social media, suggesting that the claims were legitimate.
On 30 July, Sunak said during a speech in West Sussex that he would ensure “sex means biological sex” and will shield “women from erasure”, continuing: “We are determined to end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger-pointing.
“Too often, existing legislation is used to engage in social engineering to which no one has given consent.”
The “worst offender”, Sunak said, was the Equality Act 2010, and added: “It has been a Trojan horse that has allowed every kind of woke nonsense to permeate public life.
“It must stop. My government would review the act to ensure we keep legitimate protections while stopping mission creep.”
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