Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss: Tory leadership candidate links in Yorkshire

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Both candidates have drawn on their ties to the region – and the stereotypical Northern traits often attached to Yorkshire – over the years.

Ms Truss, MP for South West Norfolk, attended Roundhay School in Leeds in the 1980s and 1990s – a school rated as outstanding by Ofsted since 2013.

The Foreign Secretary referenced her full schooling in the state when launching her leadership campaign.

The leadership aspirant said: “I don’t come from a traditional conservative background. I grew up in Paisley and went to comprehensive school in Leeds.

“Many of the children I went to school with were let down by low expectations, poor education standards and a lack of opportunity.

“Too much talent has been wasted.”

His comments were criticized by political leaders in the city, including Labor councilor and leader of Leeds City Council, James Lewis.

The council leader said: ‘Like Liz Truss, I went to Leeds Council schools during the Thatcher and Major years and the truth is that it was the Conservative government’s underfunding of schools for 18 years who really let the kids down.”

During a visit to a school in Norfolk in 2018, former Leeds resident Ms Truss shared a picture of herself holding a whippet.

“I lost the flat cap but I still have the whippet,” she tweeted.

Meanwhile Mr Sunak, who has been based in Richmond since 2015, caused a stir online when he revealed his love for Yorkshire Tea during the 2020 budget run.

“Nothing like a good Yorkshire brew,” he said.

The politician and his heiress wife also own a £2million Grade II listed Georgian mansion in the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Sigston.

According to a Times article, the former chancellor is a “pork and apple pie devotee of Kitson & Sons butchers in Northallerton and has picked up several verbal ticks from his adopted home”.

The article reads: “Around No 11 he is often heard saying ‘now then’ and ‘work is a good one’.

But could the candidates leverage their combined links to the West and North Yorkshire to win over party members?

For Councilor Rebecca Poulsen, Conservative group leader at Bradford Council, these local ties could prove to be a ‘critical’ element in the finalists’ political campaigns.

“It’s apparent from the 2019 results that the Northern vote is key,” said Cllr Poulsen (Worth Valley, Tory).

“We have won elections in seats that we have never won before in the North. These places benefit from a Conservative MP bringing investment into their areas, much like we did in Keighley.

“From our perspective, they understand the issues we have in the North. Now hopefully we can push the upgrade program forward.

The leader added: “It’s great to have both final candidates with Yorkshire links. We are organizing an election campaign in Leeds where members can go and interview the two candidates.

“Personally, I haven’t decided yet. I’ll wait and see what comes out in the hustings.

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