Rishi Sunak Is Notably Absent From Seats Where Famous Tories Could Be Ousted

Rishi Sunak has been avoiding campaigning in seats where top Tories could be kicked out, according to new analysis.

Research from campaign group Best for Britain has concluded that the prime minister has only actively lobbied for the Tories in five of the 45 constituencies where high-profile members of his own party could be ousted at the general election.

That means he has dodged nine in every 10 of the swing seats – a large proportion, considering his party are facing electoral oblivion.

As of June 28, Sunak has travelled to Central Devon, where work and pensions secretary Mel Stride is standing, Suffolk Coastal, where his friend Therese Coffey is hoping to be re-elected, and Tory party deputy chair Jonathan Gullis’s Stoke-on-Trent North constituency.

He has also popped up in science secretary Michelle Donelan’s Melkhsham and Devizes seat, as well as his own constituency, Richmond and Northallerton in Yorkshire.

But in the 15 most marginal areas, where candidates are within 5% of winning or losing, he has not campaigned at all.

While it could be Sunak’s decision not to appear in those constituencies, Best for Britain’s analysis comes after reports that candidates have refused offers for the PM to campaign with them in their seats.

Back in May, incumbent Tory mayors distanced themselves from the prime minister during their campaigns by avoiding any clear Conservative branding.

Ben Houchen – who was re-elected as Tees Valley mayor – did not mention Sunak or the Tories in his victory speech, either.

Even Sunak loyalist and defence secretary, Grant Shapps, seems to be trying to distance himself from his own government, as his campaign leaflets do not feature any mention of Sunak or clear affiliation to the Conservatives.

The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.

Chief executive of Best for Britain, Naomi Smith, said: “Sunak’s problem is that even his own party doesn’t want him around, let alone the public.

“We need a clean break from him, his party and the damage they have caused over he past 14 years, and the best way voters can ensure the Tories are locked out of power for at least a decade is by voting tactically.”

Best for Britain launched its tactical voting website, GetVoting.org, in June to advise the electorate on how to vote in each constituency to help oust the Tories and keep far-right group Reform out of parliament.

If the polls are right, there is a large set of Tory big beasts who could be facing a “Portillo moment” – named after the minister who unexpectedly lost his safe seat in the 1997 general election.

Former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, Welsh secretary David Davies, chancellor Jeremy Hunt, veteran minister Johnny Mercer and former PM Liz Truss could all be facing the scrapheap.

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