MARK Harper has explained why he believes Rishi Sunak should be Prime Minister saying: “He’s the right man for the job.”

MARK Harper has explained why he believes Rishi Sunak should be Prime Minister saying: “He’s the right man for the job.”

In an interview with GB News, Mr Harper said: “We’ve got a big opportunity here particularly over the next couple of weeks before ballot papers go out to set out the challenges facing the country. There are fairly big economic challenges, post-pandemic, and also the ones that Rishi is setting out today about the grip that we’ve got to get over the NHS to deal with those backlogs caused by the COVID pandemic. And we’ve got to do it as a matter of urgency. So we can start bringing them down next year, and so they didn’t go don’t keep going up. But he’s set out a very clear plan to do that. That I think is why he’s the right man for the job. And we’ve got to persuade our party members that he’s the one that can both deal with the issues facing the country, and be honest about them. And also, he’s the one that the polls say, who is the most likely to beat the Labour Party, which is the big task for the leader of the Conservative Party.”

Asked if he thought Sunak’s stance on cutting taxes and his role in Boris Johnson’s resignation was working against him, Mr Harper added: “He’s been clear that he wants to cut taxes, but he’s been clear that if you cut taxes now before you’ve gripped inflation, you’re actually going to make inflation worse. And we’ve seen from one of Liz Truss’ economic advisors that he thinks that her plan is going to drive up interest rates that will drive up mortgage rates. That’ll be a real problem for families with mortgages and businesses that had to borrow money during the pandemic. That will be a real hit to them. It will kill businesses and destroy jobs. So I think his plan to grip inflation first, grow the economy, and then cut taxes, I think is the right way round.

“On the issue about the Prime Minister, a majority of conservative voters, and a majority of our members felt that it was necessary for the Prime Minister to go because of all the things that had happened. Rishi was very loyal to the Prime Minister for a very long period of time. And a couple of weeks ago, he felt that the position had got to the point where he couldn’t put up with it anymore, which is why he resigned from the government. And that was a feeling shared by many conservative MPs and indeed members of the government. So I think he’s been clear about his position. It’s tragic in my view what happened to the Prime Minister, he was brought down by his own conduct, not by anyone else. We made a clear decision as a parliamentary party, the Prime Minister can stand down as the Prime Minister and we’ve now got a clear choice looking to the future. I’m backing the person I think is best able to win the election, best able to grip and deal with the challenges facing the country.”

Believing that Sunak will be able to build a team, Mr Harper continued: “I think he’s going to build teams. It’s not a single individual, but you do need a strong person to do the leadership, set the direction, set the tone, and then you build a strong team. A part of what he’s setting out today with this NHS plan is about setting up a team and giving them a clear direction about the challenges that need to be fixed with a real sense of urgency. So what he’s trying to do is recreate that sense of can-do that we had during the pandemic like we had with the Vaccines Task Force, but gripping an issue, putting tons of focus on it and really driving real change and benefit for the people.”

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