It’s six weeks to go until voting closes for the Tory leadership and polls suggest that Liz Truss is the firm favourite of the party grassroots – on a two-to-one ratio. Rishi Sunak has to do all he can to make up lost ground, something that has likely motivated the former Chancellor to accept a challenge from one of Britain’s most formidable interviewers. For it has today been announced that Andrew Neil, the longtime bête noire of politicians across the land, will grill Sunak this Friday night on prime-time Channel 4.
The move is of course a gamble by Sunak: Neil gave him one of his tougher interviews last year back when he was still riding high. He also famously skewered Jeremy Corbyn during the Prime Ministerial debates in 2019, an experience which so terrified Boris Johnson that he, er, failed to show up. But Sunak is a competent performer: his real calculation will be whether rival Liz Truss, the frontrunner, also agrees to be grilled. The two combined to kill Sky’s efforts to host a third debate last week: now Sunak thinks it’s worth risking his own embarrassment to see his rival taken down a peg or two.
Will Truss accept the challenge or risk charges of cowardice? If, as she says, there are ‘no skeletons in my closet’, then what does she have to worry about?
Just me then? 😉 https://t.co/G1Kosx4GFA
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) July 25, 2022
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