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Tory candidate blames Sunak for ‘massive tax burden’

A Conservative general election candidate accused Rishi Sunak of being responsible for “massive tax burdens” in old social media posts.

Kane Blackwell, the Tory candidate for an east London constituency, made posts on X (formerly known as Twitter) criticising Mr Sunak during the 2020 Tory leadership contest.

He said that as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr Sunak had provided “huge handouts, a huge tax burden, rising inflation and exploding debt”.

Mr Kane, who supported Sunak’s rival Liz Truss during the election campaign, is standing for the Conservatives in Stratford and Bow in east London, a traditionally Labour-dominated area.

In his 2020 posts, he accused Mr Sunak of shifting the blame to “collective responsibility” for “allowing scientists to run the country during the Covid pandemic”.

This “proves that he cannot be trusted to stand up for the British people” and that he has “no principles whatsoever,” he added.

The post appears to refer to a statement made by Mr Sunak during the race for the Conservative leadership in 2022, in which he argued that the government was ignoring the harms of the lockdown and that restrictions on people’s freedom were too long and severe.

Liz Truss won the leadership but was forced to appoint Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt as head of the Treasury following her mini-budget, shortly before she was ousted and replaced by Mr Sunak.

In another post in July 2022, Mr Blackwell also asked Conservative minister Esther McVey “why the hell” she would support Jeremy Hunt, who remains Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mr Blackwell is chairman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, a group formed in December 2022 in response to what they see as Mr Sunak’s unelected “coronation” as Tory leader.

The Conservative Party and Mr Blackwell have been asked for comment.

The full list of candidates in Stratford and Bow is:

  • Independent, Nizam Ali

  • Conservative, Kane Blackwell

  • Reform UK, Jeff Evans

  • Independent, Omar Faruk

  • Independent, Steve Hedley

  • Green, Joe Hudson-Small

  • Labour Party of Great Britain, Halima Khan

  • Work, Uma Kumaran

  • Independent, Fiona Lali

  • Liberal Democrat, Janey Little

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