Sky News' Beth Rigby exposes key message from Sunak speech
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Journalist Beth Rigby dissected Rishi Sunak’s conference speech, saying the chancellor clearly has “an eye on becoming the Conservative leader”. Mr Sunak gave his first speech as Chancellor to party members on Monday morning, talking about how Brexit is in the “long-term” interests of the UK despite current disruption to the supply chains.
Speaking to Sky News’ Adam Boulton, Ms Rigby said: “Well, there’s lots of economics in that speech but goodness me there was a lot of politics in it as well. Wasn’t there?
“That clearly is a man with an eye, one day on becoming the Conservative leader.
“Let’s talk about the policy in the economics first.
“There was a message there on fiscal responsibility- he said it four times in quite a short speech.”
She continued: “He said to the conference hall, ‘we need to fix our public finances’.
“He talked about national debt being almost 100 percent of GDP, and he said, ‘recovery comes at a cost’.
“So a big focus there I think from that Chancellor on ‘yes we’re spending to get out of recovery, but we have to be careful with the public finances’.
“And in the speech, he kind of drew the division between Labour and the conservatives but keen Number 10 Number 11 watchers would also note the dividing line there between a Prime Minister who likes big projects, big-spending, bold initiatives, and a chancellor who wants to watch the spending.”
She went on: “He didn’t mention the big schemes. His focus there was on fiscal responsibility.
“He also, I thought which was politically interesting, was to praise the austerity years of George Osborne and Cameron into May and then and Johnson.
“And you’ll remember that they have been trying to disavow austerity–we are no longer the party of austerity, but there was a nod there to those conservatives that went before this current administration on the fact, Rishi Sonico argued protected the public finances
“So I thought that was interesting politically again, a nod to fiscal responsibility, put in some space between himself and Boris Johnson without ever actually explicitly saying it.”
Speaking to party members, Rishi Sunak said he was “proud” to have supported Brexit.
He also announced more funding for research into artificial intelligence.
He added that “despite the challenges”, it would also lead to a “culture of enterprise” and a “willingness to take risks”.
The speech came against a backdrop of rising food and energy prices, alongside cuts to universal credit benefits.
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