5 Rishi Sunak Leadership Pledges Heading For The Bin

The long list of promises he unveiled in the summer may never see the light of day.
A Rishi Sunak supporter holds a placard inside Manchester Central Convention Complex during the Tory leadership contest in the summer.
A Rishi Sunak supporter holds a placard inside Manchester Central Convention Complex during the Tory leadership contest in the summer.
Peter Byrne via PA Wire/PA Images

Rishi Sunak made a lot of promises during this summer’s Tory leadership election.

From immigration to tax, the former chancellor unveiled a long list of policies aimed at persuading the Conservative rank and file to choose him over Liz Truss.

His campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, with Truss triumphing by 57 to 43 per cent.

However, after the former PM’s ill-fated 44 days in Number 10, Sunak was finally given the keys to Number 10.

It has now emerged, however, that every single pledge and “guarantee” he made during the leadership contest is now under review and may never be implemented.

His spokesperson said: “Obviously, those are pledges that were made a few months ago now and the context is somewhat different, obviously, economically.”

Here are some of the most eye-catching promises which will probably never see the light of day.

Sunak the tax-cutter

Trailing his rival badly in the polls, Sunak was forced to ditch his previous refusal to promise tax cuts by announcing that he would reduce the basic rate of income tax to 16p in the pound by 2029.

He said: “What I’m putting to people today is a vision to deliver the biggest income tax cut since Margaret Thatcher’s government. It is a radical vision but it is also a realistic one.”

Not that realistic, given his spokesperson today refused to say whether he still stands by it.

Controlling Britain’s borders

In July, the ‘Ready For Rishi’ campaign unveiled a 10-point plan to “take back control of our borders” by cracking down on illegal immigration.

Among the pledges were vows to “reform our broken asylum laws” and give parliament the power to set an annual cap on the number of refugees allowed to settle in the UK.

There were also promises to “hold the French to account” for the number of small boats carrying immigrants across the English Channel and end the “farce” of asylum seekers being put up in hotels.

But despite still supporting the “sentiment” of his own pledges, Sunak’s spokesperson confirmed that the 10-point plan is also now being assessed to check whether it is, in fact, “deliverable”.

Stopping the ‘war on motorists’

Road-users who thought that a Sunak premiership may usher in a golden age are also set to be disappointed.

In August, he pledged to ban new smart motorways, clamp down on “rogue private parking fines ripping off” drivers and review controversial low traffic neighbourhood schemes.

Sunak declared: “As chancellor I introduced the largest cut to fuel duty in a generation, and as prime minister I will go further so that we stop the war on motorists once and for all.”

Now, less than three months later, those promises are no longer set in stone.

Reforming education

Sunak vowed “radically reform education” if he became prime minister.

His promises included creating a “Russell Group of world class technical colleges” to rival the best in the world and “embrace new technology in our schools to provide teaching resources, reduce workloads and inspire pupils with new ways of learning”.

“Every child deserves a world-class education and, if I become prime minister, I will make it my mission from day one to ensure that’s what they get,” Sunak said.

Now that he is in Number 10, however, that is another promise which has been put on the back burner.

Saving the high street

Sunak said he would “rejuvenate high streets up and down the country” if he became PM, with plans to slash the number of empty shops by 2025, bring in tougher punishments for graffiti and littering, and supporting farmers’ markets.

“I have been clear that I have a plan to rebuild our economy; our high streets are a crucial part of that,” Sunak said in a press release issued at the end of July.

But like every other promise he made in the summer, Sunak’s plan to save the high streets has already.


What's Hot