Rishi Sunak might have a lot on his plate but he is drawing up an ambitious long-term plan that he says will transform Britain for future generations and change the “trajectory” of the country.
Despite being 20 points behind in the opinion polls with a general election barely a year away, the Prime Minister refuses to accept his government has run out of steam or that defeat is inevitable.
And he insists he is “fizzing with ideas” to improve the lives of hard-working people – and deliver an historic fifth term for the Conservative Party.
Far from winding down and preparing for a Downing Street exit, he talks of his “driving ambition” to prove he is a leader who can do things differently.
And he had a simple message for Sunday Express readers: Watch this space.
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And he had a simple message for Sunday Express readers: Watch this space. Mr Sunak declared: “Over the course of the autumn, you are going to see bold action from this Prime Minister on some things that are not easy but will change the long-term future and trajectory of our country for the better.
“I want to give people the confidence that I, as their Prime Minister, am going to do things differently and I can deliver the changes that they want to see.”
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express, Mr Sunak revealed his vision to:
● BUILD communities which people are proud to call home;
● MAKE streets safer, especially for women and girls;
● SLAY the beast of inflation, insisting he is “confident” he is on the right track;
● CHANGE the law so that life means life for sexually motivated murderers.
Mr Sunak invited us into his Downing Street study as he put the finishing touches to his law-and-order crackdown.
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He ruled out headline-grabbing quick fixes for short-term political gain and vowed to deliver lasting solutions that will change the fabric of Britain for decades to come.
His “driving ambition” is to give people “peace of mind that their family’s future is going to be better” and enable them to have “enormous pride in the place they call home”.
And the Prime Minister added: “I think people can trust me. “It is my central mission to make big decisions for the long term that, in the end, mean I can deliver the change that they want to see.
“I know they want to see change. I know they want to have peace of mind that the future is going to be better.
“I am the person to deliver that change but I am prepared to do things differently”. “For instance, we are going to train more doctors and nurses here for the first time.
“I probably won’t be around to see the benefits of that, which will happen in 10 to 15 years’ time. That’s why politicians don’t do things like that.
“But that’s the type of leader I am and you are going to see that across the board. “People will then have confidence change is possible and I’m the person to deliver it.”
Mr Sunak faces an epic challenge in turning around the fortunes of his party and the country, and he made clear he has no interest in managing the decline of either.
“I care deeply about our country,” he said. “I believe in its potential. I want the best for every family and I want
people to feel like the country we all love is on the right track, that we are not getting left behind, that we are turning things around and that people can have the peace of mind that their families’ futures are going to be better.
“That’s what I’m about.” His opponents point to his privileged life and claim he is out of touch with ordinary people. But this son of a GP and a pharmacist is under no illusion about the pain that soaring living costs inflict on people in every community.
He says he knows “things feel difficult right now” but he also knows the cause. “It’s inflation that makes people feel poorer,” he said. “Inflation is what makes things more expensive when they go shopping.
Inflation is what makes their savings worth less. “And that’s why all the stuff I want to do for the future to make people’s lives better, none of that is possible unless we tackle inflation first and that’s why it’s the right priority.”
Pitching himself as the best PM to lead the country out of a chapter of economic turmoil, the former Chancellor said: “I think people can trust me. I know how to manage our economy so that we can bring inflation down.”
His ambitions go far beyond getting the economy back on track. He aspires to be a Prime Minister whose decisions shape the lives of Britons for the better long after he has left office.
He does not want to be one who deals in quick-fix solutions intended to reap immediate electoral rewards but one who delivers crucial reforms.
The Tory leader speaks with pride of the NHS long-term workforce plan, a £2.4billion project which aims to double the number of medical school places and also turbocharge the training of nurses and dentists.
Throughout the interview he speaks of the country’s desire for “change” and his determination to deliver it. Between now and the next election he needs to neutralise Labour’s claim that it is time for a change of government.
He pledges he will “do things differently in this job” and describes taking unprecedented action as Chancellor during the pandemic when he launched his £70billion furlough scheme which protected nearly 12 million jobs.
And on illegal immigration, he says he has been “willing to be tough to stop the boats in a way other people haven’t”. When he arrived in Downing Street in October following the fall of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss a key goal was restoring stability.
But can he persuade the legions of people who voted Tory under Mr Johnson for the first time in 2019 – particularly in the “red wall seats” in Labour’s traditional heartlands – to give him a personal mandate to lead Britain?
His pitch is simple: “I am going to make the big decisions for the long term that in the end mean I can deliver the change that they want to see.”
Mr Sunak has already made history as the first person of Asian heritage to step through the door of No10 as Prime Minister.
But this is by no means the summit of his ambitions. The real challenge is changing Britain for good – and he wants you to know he is hard at work.
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