Rishi Sunak is 'not from a privileged background at all', argues Matt Hancock

12 July 2022, 19:36

By Daisy Stephens

Rishi Sunak is an "absolutely standard" man who is not from a "privileged background at all", Matt Hancock has told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The former health secretary, who is backing Mr Sunak's Tory leadership bid, said we should be "admiring of somebody who grew up in a pharmacy"'

"He's not of privileged background at all, absolutely standard," Mr Hancock said.

"I keep hearing that," said Andrew.

"He went to Winchester School, that's pretty privileged."

Read more: Sunak and Truss clear first Tory leadership hurdle as eight candidates survive nominations

Read more: Priti Patel rules herself out of Tory leadership race

Mr Hancock argued Mr Sunak got a scholarship to the school, which charges over £45,000 per year for boarding pupils.

"He got a scholarship to Winchester School and he got to Oxford on his own merit," said the MP.

Andrew argued: "I'm sorry, Winchester and Oxford, however clever he was, is not an underprivileged background."

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm.

"I didn't say that," said Mr Hancock.

"But he got there on a scholarship and he got to Oxford on merit.

"He's an extremely bright chap.

"And then he became a successful businessman.

"In the Tory party we think making a success of your life is a good thing, not a bad thing."

Mr Sunak is one of eight Tory MPs who won the backing of 20 Tory MPs in time to make it through the first stage of the leadership contest on Tuesday night.

Explaining why he backed the former chancellor, Mr Hancock said: "He is a credible chancellor, will be a credible prime minister, and he knows that economic responsibility needs to come first especially in a time of high inflation."

He went on: "One of the reasons I backed him is because he put economic responsibility at the core of our proposals, at the core of his proposals.

"And I think that is frankly where the party is, and it's where the country is because it's the right thing to tackle inflation.

Read more: Boris blocks Labour motion of no confidence in Government

Read more: Liz Truss is 'a bit crackers' and 'pretending to be Thatcher', ex-Tory MP says

"There's a whole generation of political leaders now who have never faced inflation at 10 per cent, in fact senior people right across Whitehall haven't.

"And we have to take it very, very seriously."

He said it was "totally reasonable" to tackle inflation before reducing the tax burden.

"He hasn't said the thing that sounds like what people want to hear," he said, adding that he didn't actually "think it is what people want to hear".

"It's what sounds easy to say, but the hard thing to say is 'we will do this responsibly'."

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.