Welsh Tory sources have been left distinctly unimpressed with the news that Alun Cairns is the third senior Tory MP to defect from Rishi to Liz in the last week, following Chris Skidmore and Robert Buckland. The Mail got the scoop yesterday afternoon, reporting Cairns now believes Truss is best placed to save the Union:
“At the outset of the campaign, I met Rishi Sunak to discuss the future of the Union and was content with his responses. I chose to support him.
However, as the campaign has developed, the risks to our Union have become more apparent. There is a need to break out of the current orthodoxy. The future of our Union depends on it.
For this reason, I have concluded that with the positive ambition for our country and imagination she has shown, alongside her strong track record as a reformer, Liz Truss is best placed to secure our Union.”
Guido’s since been sent Cairns’ full endorsement of Rishi, only sent to Glamorgan association members, and his reasons for backing Rishi were far more numerous than those he now cites in his Mail op-ed. Cairns didn’t just meet with Rishi to “discuss the future of the Union”, however to “question his commitment to reduce taxes and making the most of Brexit”. His takeaway from the meeting wasn’t just ‘contentedness’, it was incredibly enthusiastic:
“His focus and knowledge of what should be done to achive both was enourmously reassuring and will make a significant difference to the lives of everyone. Economic competence must go hand in hand with any plans to reduce taxes”
“We have two excellent candidates that could lead our nation and we must win the next election. I believe that Rishi Sunak is in the strongest position to beat Labour and this is why I will be voting in his favour.”
A senior Welsh Conservative source told Guido “It’s clear to everybody what’s happened here. Alun has seen which way the wind is blowing and flip flopped. The guff about the Union is just a poorly constructed smoke screen for what is ultimately a selfish, careerist leap for the bandwagon.” Even more remarkably, Guido’s source is a self-professed Liz supporter. Double ouch…