Mike Wood MP: Electing Liz Truss as Tory leader risks a repeat of Labour's mistakes

Dudley South MP Mike Wood is supporting Rishi Sunak in the Tory leadership contest. Writing for the Express & Star, he warns party members that backing Liz Truss risked repeating Labour's mistakes in electing Jeremy Corbyn and Ed Miliband.

Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak at a members event in Sussex ahead of a hustings in Eastbourne [credit: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire]
Former Chancellor Rishi Sunak at a members event in Sussex ahead of a hustings in Eastbourne [credit: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire]

Conservative members have a huge decision to make about who leads our party and our country at a time when Britain and the world face massive challenges.

We have two great candidates who I like and admire but, having seen both of them as ministers, I know that Rishi Sunak has the talent and the temperament to provide the leadership we need.

He is able to take difficult decisions that are in Britain’s interests, and we need that quality now more than ever.

A combination of Covid and war in Ukraine has left prices rocketing around the world, and major economies on the brink of recession.

Only Rishi has a credible plan to get inflation under control, the economy growing and then cut taxes.

With families struggling with high energy and food costs, it would be tempting to borrow large amounts of money to cut taxes now; tempting, but wrong.

I joined the Conservative Party while Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, partly because I believe that it is right to let people keep as much of the money they earn as possible.

But I also know there is nothing Conservative about borrowing huge amounts now, and leaving the bill for our children to pay.

It would also be bad for the economy, making inflation much worse and wiping out the few hundred pounds that people might save in tax cuts.

Liz Truss’ own economic guru has said that her unfunded tax cuts would mean interest rates rising further to 7 per cent.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood

That would mean mortgage rates of around 12 per cent and with average mortgages for first-time buyers in the West Midlands being £150,000, that would mean £9,000 extra in mortgage payments – how many could afford that?

We cannot return to the days of negative equity and repossessions.

As Margaret Thatcher’s great tax-cutting Chancellor Nigel Lawson wrote this week, Maggie would get inflation under control and then cut taxes – just like Rishi.

In the Brexit referendum, I was the only MP in the Black Country to campaign for Leave and so I want a leader who will secure Brexit. Rishi and I campaigned together for Brexit. He is a “Leaver” by conviction, not just convenience.

The biggest threat comes from a Keir Starmer Labour government weakening Brexit.

That is one more reason why we need a leader who gives us the best chance of winning the next election – and the evidence is that Rishi does that.

Rishi is much more popular with swing voters and “undecideds” than Liz – the voters who make the critical difference.

Conservative members must decide whether we want a Leader who makes us feel good about ourselves, reflecting our own views and prejudices, or a leader to win elections so we can make a positive difference for our country.

Labour Party members got that decision wrong with Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn. We cannot repeat their mistakes.

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