Published On: Wed, Apr 10th, 2024

Rishi Sunak denies lack of leadership over handling of Will Wragg scandal | Politics | News

Rishi Sunak has rejected claims he showed a lack of leadership over the Will Wragg honeytrap scandal, after the embattled MP surrendered the Tory Party whip last night.

Appearing on a phone-in show on LBC this morning, Mr Sunak was confronted by a furious voter who accused the PM of letting Mr Wragg “sack himself”.

Sarah in Cardiff lambasted the Tory leader: “You’ve spoken about being tough on criminals this morning, but William Wragg who put his colleagues’ and the country’s security at risk had to sack himself!

“Doesn’t that show a complete lack and failure of leadership by yourself?”

Mr Sunak rejected this allegation, arguing that Mr Wragg had “rightly” apologised for his actions.

Pressed on his handling of the row, Mr Sunak was asked whether he agreed with Jeremy Hunt’s assessment that Mr Wragg’s previous apology had been “courageous and fulsome”.

The PM refused to say why he didn’t act against Mr Wragg earlier, saying there’s a police investigation ongoing into the wider honeytrap plot and “it’s important we work through these things in due time”.

“He’s resigned from all his various positions including from the Conservative Party whip, and the important thing here is we let the police investigations run their course but also that it’s a reminder about the importance for people in public life that they take care with unsolicited messages.”

LBC’s Nick Ferrari put Labour’s criticism to Mr Sunak, with the opposition accusing him of “weakness”.

Mr Sunak said people can judge him for his handling of the scandal.

“People can judge me if they want to judge me on that, that’s fine, I accept that.

“When it comes to ‘weakness’, Sir Keir Starmer still hasn’t answered any questions properly about what’s going on with Angela Rayner.

“When it comes to me and my affairs people are very happy to ask lots of questions, including Angela Rayner herself.”

Pivoting the conversation, Mr Sunak argued there are “clear questions” for the deputy Prime Minister-in-waiting to answer about her tax affairs.

Mr Wragg resigned the Tory party whip last night, a day after having stepped down as vice chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, and as chairman of the House of Commons constitutional affairs committee.

The Hazel Grove MP will now sit as an independent MP.

The Tory Party chairman, Richard Holden, said it was right for Mr Wragg to resign the whip despite the party defending him for much of the last week.

Asked by Sky News whether Mr Wragg had jumped or been pushed, Mr Holden said the MP “made his decision”.

He added: “It’s quite clear his career in public life is at an end”.

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