July 26, 2022 2.08 pm

Labour council leader’s verdict on Conservative leadership race

He’s not impressed with the final candidates for Prime Minister

By Local Democracy Reporter

Lincolnshire’s only Labour leader has said there’s virtually no difference between the two candidates vying to be Prime Minister.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe offered his thoughts on the race between Conservatives Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak.

The City of Lincoln Council leader also warned that local governments shouldn’t be short-changed while the contest is going on.

“I’m not sure the race offers a huge amount of choice,” Cllr Metcalfe said.

“The debates seem to me to be going over very old ground, and it doesn’t seem to be offering Conservative party members a very distinctive choice.

“It’s very much at the margins about the kind of free-market tax-cutting kind of world that Conservative generally favour, and it seems to come down to fairly minor matters of whether you do it now whether you do it later.”

Rishi Sunak at his Grantham speech on Saturday, launching his leadership campaign. | Photo: Cllr Thomas Dyer

He said that he had no preference between Truss or Sunak as he didn’t see much policy difference between them, and added that the Tory candidates “lack any real substance about an alternative vision for the future of the country.”

Councillor Metcalfe said he wanted to see the promised Levelling Up continue while a new Prime Minister is chosen.

“It’s pretty clear that at a political level that the government is in abeyance at the moment, because Boris Johnson is not functioning as an effective, active Prime Minister. And there are all sorts of ministers who are in temporary jobs,” he said.

“Hopefully that isn’t going to reflect the important decisions we want out of government about the Levelling Up bid and the £2.8million Shared Prosperity Fund.

“So we just have to keep knocking on the door of government to make sure that local government gets a fair deal.”

The Shared Prosperity Funding will be used across a range of projects including free tutoring to help adults with low-level maths skills get back into work, as well as measures to get more young people into high-skilled jobs.

Additional reporting by Daniel Jaines