In the final hustings prior to the conclusion of the election for a new Conservative Party leader and British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak expressed gratitude to his parents and wife Akshata Murty for their support.
It seemed evident, at least to this audience, that Sunak was the victor in the battle to succeed Boris Johnson given the stark difference between his rousing greeting and that of his challenger, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
“This final hustings is special for me because the two people who inspired me to enter public service are actually here tonight – my mum and dad,” Sunak said as the cameras panned to the front row, where his wife Akshata, his pharmacy mother Usha, and his general practitioner father Yashvir were seated.
“It was their example of service and what they did for people that inspired me to enter politics. Mum, dad thank you for always sacrificing and striving to provide a better life for your kids than you had. And, thank you for teaching me that with hard work and belief and the love of your family there is no limit to what someone can achieve in our great country,” He said, drawing cheers and ovation from the audience.
The Tory leadership election competition entered its 12th and final event on Thursday in London. Voting will end on Friday at 1700 local time, and the winner will be declared on Monday. Pre-poll surveys showed Sunak, who was leading in the first round of voting when his parliamentary colleagues selected him as a finalist, to be in last place. This has been leveraged by his “Ready4Rishi” team to focus his campaign on the idea of him being the self-described “underdog” in the race.
“Although it hasn’t made my life easy, it is honest and, for me, that is what leadership is all about,” In contrast to Truss’ campaign stance, which called for tax cuts to take effect as soon as he became Prime Minister, he continued, restating his key point that controlling inflation should come before any tax reduction.