Rishi Sunak Puts Distance Between Himself And The PM – 230 Miles To Be Exact.

The chancellor is in Ilfracombe, miles from Westminster, on the very day Boris Johnson faces a brutal grilling in PMQs.
Sunak will not be by Johnson's side for PMQs this afternoon
Sunak will not be by Johnson's side for PMQs this afternoon
DANIEL LEAL via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has travelled to Ilfracombe on the North Devon coast on the very day Boris Johnson is expected to face intense scrutiny during the PMQs.

On what is expected to be one of the toughest days of the prime minister’s time in office, Johnson will be fielding questions from both sides of the aisle about the alleged garden party in No.10, reportedly held on March 20, 2020 – when the rest of the country was in lockdown.

Johnson has refused to deny that he attended the drinks himself, even though there are now serious questions about how long he might remain in the post.

And it has definitely raised eyebrows that one of his most senior cabinet ministers will not be joining him on the frontbenches.

Two hours before PMQs started, Sunak posted on Twitter that he was “excited” to be in 230 miles away in Ilfracombe, visiting a pharmaceutical company, before adding ”#PlanForJobs”.

Excited to be in Ilfracombe this morning with @SelaineSaxby.

Im visiting @PallCorporation who protect & purify pharmaceutical drugs including a majority of UK Covid vaccines.

They’re announcing £60 million of investment at this site creating 200 new local jobs #PlanForJobs pic.twitter.com/6EK1wT8U3E

— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) January 12, 2022

However, the Sun’s Harry Cole tweeted: “Supporters of the chancellor insist this has been in the diary for some time and even had a grid slot before all the dramarama.”

Still, as no ministers appeared on the daily media round on Wednesday morning either, Sunak’s absence from London – and the timing of it – only added to the social media speculation about what was truly going on in Downing Street.

Suspect the Chancellor may not just be excited to be in Ilfracombe, but excited not to be on the front bench at #pmqs https://t.co/nM3r6Z4UV2

— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) January 12, 2022

"Excited to be in Ilfracombe" is the new "emergency trip to the dentist".

— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) January 12, 2022

Old proverb: When there is an elephant in the room, just get out of the room. https://t.co/lRkcLpPahB

— David Whitley (@mrdavidwhitley) January 12, 2022

Sunak has also been pegged as a popular contender to replace Johnson, which led to another batch of jokes about the chancellor’s personal ”#PlanForJobs”.

Distancing himself from Johnson PMQs. Feels like a leadership move https://t.co/hvJHYdlC8o

— Craig Radford (@craigradford) January 12, 2022

We can all see this plan for job(s) ilfracoming https://t.co/pwhS49Inxp

— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) January 12, 2022

No @RishiSunak at PMQs today. John Major suffered a mysterious debilitating tooth ache during Thatcher's downfall... https://t.co/CzDThfnB1t

— Sam Hinde (@samhinde) January 12, 2022

There goes Rishi, offering his unstinting support for the prime minister*

*From 200 miles away...#PMQs https://t.co/zbOENY6wRv

— Chris Shaw (@The_ChrisShaw) January 12, 2022

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