Tories have gone too far to the right - I'm backing Sunak, says Lord Stuart Rose

14 July 2022, 09:41 | Updated: 14 July 2022, 09:47

Tory peer Lord Rose: I've looked in the mirror

By Emma Soteriou

The Conservative party has become too right wing and needs a "middle of the road" leader like Rishi Sunak, a Tory peer has said.

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Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Lord Stuart Rose said he had "looked in the mirror" and contemplated whether to continue backing the Tories due to the party being embroiled in several scandals during Boris Johnson's premiership.

Despite his doubts, Lord Rose went on to share the most important qualities he wanted to see in the future leader, confirming that Rishi Sunak had his backing in the leadership race.

Mr Sunak has become one of the frontrunners in the contest, with the backing of over 80 MPs in the first round. He is followed closely by Penny Mordaunt on 67.

Rishi Sunak at the launch of his campaign
Rishi Sunak at the launch of his campaign. Picture: Alamy

The Asda chairman told Nick: "We need a leader who is confident, we need a leader who can be a leader, who can stand up and be there and unite the whole of the United kingdom PLC and take it forward.

"We also need a Conservative – because I am a Conservative – and we need someone who is a fiscally competent, compassionate, middle of the road Conservative.

He went on to say: "I'd back Rishi.

"He is competent, he has been around in government, he does have a big brain, he does understand the need for us to get our economy back on track and to make sure our balance sheet – i.e. our debt and growth – is balanced in such a way that we can go forward in a fiscally competent way."

Read more: Thumbs up for Mordaunt as she vows crackdown on 'evil and barbaric' people smugglers

Read more: Jeremy Hunt says he is backing Sunak as he is eliminated from leadership race with Zahawi

Tory Peer Lord Rose reveals he is backing Rishi Sunak

When asked whether he ever considered leaving the Tory benches, Lord Rose said: "I've looked at myself in the mirror from time to time and I ask myself 'Can I support what is going on?' There are one or two issues that have been going on that I'm not entirely comfortable with.

"But in the round, I'm a Conservative. I'm a free market economist - I believe in self help, I believe in a meritocracy, I believe in actually giving people chances - and that's what Conservatism stands for.

"I sit as a Conservative and I'll probably die as a Conservative."

Lord Rose also shared his concerns over some of the government's recent decisions.

"I didn't like some of these aspects of legislation - I'm not very comfortable with the right wing turn of this government," he told Nick.

"I think this government has gone too far to the right - I'm a centrist - I'm actually probably leftist centrist and that doesn't mean I can't be a Conservative but I don't agree with some of the slightly mad, bad, right wing things that are going on."

When pushed on the Rwanda policy being one of the moves he was against, Lord Rose added: "You can pick one - I'm not very happy with that.

"That is something I'm not very comfortable with, I will admit."

The government's controversial migrant policy has seen a large legal push back since its launch, with the first deportation flight having been blocked by the European Court of Human Rights.

It is understood that the plans are now on hold until the leadership race is over - delaying any flights until at least early September.