UK Tories divided on leadership, Sunak faces calls to step down ahead of polls

UK Tories divided on leadership, Sunak faces calls to step down ahead of polls



LONDON: A UK minister came out strongly in defence of his party leader Rishi Sunak Sunday as the increasingly beleaguered PM attempts to ride out infighting within the ranks, with sections to the right of the governing Conservative Party calling for a leadership change ahead of a general election expected later in the year.
The 43-year-old leader has ruled out the prospect of an early election in May and with possibly months before he decides to go to the electorate, murmurings of rebellion within the Tory ranks fearful of losing their seats seem to be growing at a steady pace.
Transport secretary Mark Harper was asked during a television interview if he thinks Sunak will be the leader of the Conservative Party at the general election. “Yes he will, and he’ll take us into that election and he’ll set out very clearly that we’re a govt government with a plan,” Harper told Sky News. “The plan is working, we’re driving down inflation, we’re reducing people’s taxes. We’re the only party that’s got a plan to deal with the priorities of the country that will take us into that election and set out a choice.” he said.
On rumours that a group of Tory MPs are keen to replace Sunak with Penny Mordaunt, Harper added: “What I would say to all my colleagues is this; I spend my time as transport secretary focusing on doing what I think is the right thing for the country, making decisions that I think are sensible. That is the approach the PM takes as well. He focuses on making the right decisions even if in the short term they are not necessarily popular.”
According to Daily Telegraph, a meeting took place this weekend between leading figures on the right wing of Tory party and prominent supporters of Mordaunt who expressed the view they were prepared to back her.
The pressure on Sunak is likely to intensify after local council and mayoral elections across England on May 2, when Tories are expected to suffer losses





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