Rishi Sunak Denies He Is 'Afraid' Of Voters After Claiming No One Wants An Election

The prime minister has endured a miserable party conference in Manchester.
Rishi Sunak at the Tory conference in Manchester.
Rishi Sunak at the Tory conference in Manchester.
Christopher Furlong via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has denied he is “afraid” of the verdict of the British people after he claimed that no one wants a general election.

The prime minister has endured a torrid Tory Party conference in Manchester, which has been dominated by speculation that he is set to scrap the HS2 line to the city.

Former prime minister Liz Truss also received a hero’s welcome when she appeared at a fringe event, while a row has erupted over calls for chancellor Jeremy Hunt to cut taxes.

Interviewing Sunak this morning, Sky News political editor Beth Rigby told him: “You were not elected by members. The point is at this conference you are a man without a mandate. You haven’t got a mandate from the country. You haven’t got a mandate from your own party.

“You’re now making huge decisions about scrapping part of HS2 without anyone apart from a core of your own MPs giving you this job. If you were really serious about the long term, why don’t you just go to the country?”

The PM replied: “Because that’s not what the country wants.”

Rigby then said: “They don’t want an election?”

Sunak responded: “I go out about every day. That’s not what anybody wants.

“What people want is politicians making a difference to their lives.”

But Rigby then asked: “You are afraid of an election?”

The prime minister said: “Not at all, I’m just getting on and delivering for people.

“You can see that with net zero, you can see it with the number of boat crossings down this year by a fifth. You can see it with our progress on bringing inflation down, helping people.

“You can see it with a long term workforce plan, hiring doctors and nurses for the future. These are all things that are going to change our country for the better. It’s an example of the type of leadership.”

Sunak is expected to confirm he is scrapping the Birmingham to Manchester leg of HS2 in his conference speech tomorrow.

In an interview with the BBC, he was told he had "lost control" of the story because of the continuing uncertainty.


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