It’s unsurprising, given his tacit endorsement from the Chinese propaganda arm Global Times, that Rishi has decided to go in hard on the country’s security threat this morning. Declaring the Chinese Communist Party “the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century”, Sunak attacks Liz for “[rolling] out the red carpet” and turning “a blind eye to China’s nefarious activity and ambitions”. He calls for a new NATO alliance to be set up to counter it the threat, and pledges to close all 30 Confucius centres, which teach Mandarin in the UK and are thought to be used as fronts by the Chinese intelligence services.
In response Team Truss returned fire last night, using Iain Duncan Smith to call the policy “surprising” and asking where Sinophobe Sunak has been for the last two years. Her team points to the above Sunak’s endorsement by Global Times, and says he has been consistently soft on China.
Sunak’s Confucius closure policy is directly levelled against Truss’s supposed record at DfE, where during her two-year stint nine of the 31 centres were established:
“His team pointed out that nine of the 31 Confucius centres in Britain were established when Ms Truss was an education minister between 2012 and 2014.“
In response, a Truss ally bluntly tells Guido that Sunak’s team are “moronic”, given not only was Truss responsible for childcare policy as an education minister, universities policy was run out of the business department at the time. David Willets was the BIS minister responsible, who – whilst yet to declare in this leadership election – has backed Sunak’s tax rises.
In other weekend blue-on-blue attacks: Sunak accused Truss of re-writing her history over claims her school let her down, with Liz firing back she’ll take no lectures from a “Goldman Sachs banker who went to a school for the uber elite”; Liz announced a new “investment zones” policy to replace the existing freeports scheme – Sunak’s baby that they say allows “Whitehall to pick the winners and losers”; and Nadine Dorries attack Sunak’s £3,500 suit and Gucci loafers, which had Sunak supporter Angela Richardson MP quote tweet her with “FFS Nadine! Muted.”.
FFS Nadine! Muted. https://t.co/LqeAMy8TzT— Angela Richardson MP (@AJRichardsonMP) July 25, 2022
Labour’s Southside HQ has shipped in industrial quantities of popcorn…