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Tory leadership race: Competence not Christianity, is vital for next PM, says Christian MP

by Tola Mbakwe
RISHI SUNAK LIZ TRUSS.jpg - Banner image
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss will battle it out to become Britain's next prime minister after they won the final votes from MPs, setting up the last stage of the contest to replace Boris Johnson.

Sunak has led in all rounds of the voting among Conservative lawmakers, but it is Truss who seems to have gained the advantage so far among the 200,000 members of the Tory party who will ultimately choose the winner.

The final stretch of a weeks-long contest will pit Sunak, a former Goldman Sachs banker who has raised the tax burden towards the highest level since the 1950s, against Truss, a convert to Brexit who has pledged to cut taxes and regulation.

Christian Conservative MP Sir Gary Streeter told Premier Christian News although both candidates are very different, they bring unique strengths to the race.

 “I think Rishi has a lot of experience of the sort of financial and economic kind. And obviously, as chancellor, led us through Covid, and lockdown and furlough and had to deal with extraordinary circumstances.

“I think Liz is sort of slightly more traditional, conservative. And I think her main strength in the last few years has been the trade deals that she's been able to pull off as international trade secretary. So they've got different strengths, there's no question about that.”

He also commended the diversity of the candidates, which included people from minority ethnic backgrounds and women.

“If you look at the last eight, there were two white males in it, a number of people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and four women,” he said.

“It was an extraordinary shop window that the Conservative Party does now represent and reflect the party we seek to serve.”

Neither Mr Sunak nor Ms Truss have mentioned anything about practising Christianity. However, Mr Streeter doesn’t think that will pose an issue of either of them if they become the next prime minister.

“Although maybe 20 or 30 years ago, I thought it was absolutely fundamentally important we have a Christian prime minister, I don't see that now,” the MP for South Devon said.

“What we want is the best person, a competent person, surrounded by lots of influences who can bring all kinds of influences and values to their door. And I think both of these people have strong values, and will do a good job.. and I think they both will be good listening leaders”.

Mr Streeter also believes both candidates will have “strong Christian people around them”.

Whoever triumphs when the result is announced on 5th September will inherit some of the most difficult conditions in Britain in decades. Inflation is on course to hit 11 per cent annually, growth is stalling, industrial action is on the rise and the pound is near historic lows against the dollar.

This is why Mr Streeter is backing Mr Sunak for the top job.

“I think both have got very fine qualities. I just think we have a period of economic challenge coming up and this man is very smart. He reminds me an awful lot… I'm a bit of a William Hague and David Cameron fan, they’re good wise people. Rishi, I think has similar qualities. I think we can trust him to do the right thing financially, economically for the country, and then let the country decide in 18 months’ time who's the right person to take us forward.”

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