Calls grow for general election after Rishi Sunak becomes Tory leader

Labour, Lib Dems, SNP and Johnson supporters say former chancellor has no mandate to run country

Calls for a general election by voices ranging from Labour to Boris Johnson ultra-loyalists, such as Nadine Dorries, are growing louder after Rishi Sunak won the Tory leadership race.

Sunak was accused by Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, of “dodging scrutiny” as she called for voters to have a say after the former chancellor was officially declared the new Conservative leader on Monday.

“The Tories have crowned Rishi Sunak as prime minister without him saying a single word about how he would run the country, and without anyone having the chance to vote,” she said in a statement.

“This is the same Rishi Sunak who as chancellor failed to grow the economy, failed to get a grip on inflation, and failed to help families with the Tory cost of living crisis.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister and Scottish National party leader, congratulated Sunak, but added: “I’d suggest one immediate decision he should take and one he certainly should not.”

“He should call an early general election. And he should not – must not – unleash another round of austerity. Our public services will not withstand that.”

Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, added his voice to the fresh calls for an election after Sunak became leader following the withdrawal of Penny Mordaunt from the race.

“The Conservatives have trashed our economy, pushed health services to the brink, and added hundreds of pounds to people’s mortgage payments,” Davey said. “Now Conservative MPs have installed another out-of-touch prime minister without giving you a say. We need a general election now.”

Election calls were coming from the right as well, with the leader of the Reform UK party, Richard Tice, seeking to capitalise on discontent among Conservative party members aggrieved at missing out on a chance to vote for their leader.

“We have a prime minister appointed by acclamation. His party members rejected him. Democracy is in peril,” he claimed.

Dorries, a culture secretary during Johnson’s government, had called on Sunday for a general election after he decided not to enter leadership race. She tweeted that the former prime minister would have won the votes of Tory members and “already had a mandate from the people” in the form of his 2019 election win.

“Rishi and Penny, despite requests from Boris, refused to unite, which would have made governing utterly impossible. Penny actually asked him to step aside for her. It will now be impossible to avoid a GE,” she said.


Ben Quinn

The GuardianTramp

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