Sunak's snap election call could well 'backfire,' Kwasi Kwarteng

Sunak's snap election call could well 'backfire,' Kwasi Kwarteng
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 23/06/2024

- 12:53

Updated: 23/06/2024

- 12:59

Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to GB News today

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has said that the decision to call a snap election “could well backfire” and that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must take responsibility.

Speaking to Camilla Tominey on GB News, he also said comments by Nigel Farage about Vladimir Putin and Russia were “quite cranky”.

Asked about comments from Michael Gove blaming Liz Truss for the Tories’ current showing, Kwarteng said: “If there is a defeat, blame will be apportioned to lots of different people.

“But this idea that Rishi Sunak could call the election or when he did, when no one was expecting it, least of all the party it would appear, who has been front and centre of the campaign, under whom Reform has risen to nearly 20%, the idea that he had nothing to do with any of that is wrong.

“When I left office, I was just checking out through the polls just now, Reform on about 4%. I think when Liz Truss left in October 2022, they were 4% or 5%…

“If you suffer a massive defeat, clearly the leader is very much responsible for that. What proportion? I don’t know. Obviously there were other mistakes done by other leaders. He called the time of the election.”

He was asked if the PM made a mistake by calling a snap election: “I could see why he did it but, as it's turned out, it looks like it could well backfire.”

On the election betting scandal, he said: “The leader, whoever that is, bears ultimate responsibility for what happens under their watch.

“Sometimes it might be unfair, maybe he didn't know what was going on, but as the leader of an organisation, your character, your job is to impose some sort of discipline on the institution, and if things go wrong, ultimately, I know it's an old fashioned view and people don't really subscribe to it anymore but ultimately I think the leader bears responsibility for what's going on.”

Asked about Nigel Farage’s comments on Russia, he said: “I think this Putin thing is very bad for him, because he presents himself as a normal guy, man in the pub with a beer, and this is quite cranky stuff to say somehow the West were responsible for Putin's act of aggression.

“The point that Nigel makes, which is true, everyone agrees with, is that Ukraine is a sovereign country. So, if it's a sovereign country, it can join any alliance that it wants.

“This idea that somehow we the West were poking the bear, I think it's straight out of Vladimir Putin's talking points.

“It gives him a justification, which he doesn't have. What he did was illegal and wrong. Nigel acknowledges that and that's the end of the story. The idea that somehow the West are as culpable or somehow responsible for his illegal acts I think is wrong...

“This is a bit bizarre. This is a bit cranky.”

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