Rishi Sunak ran out of things to do - ex-minister

Rishi Sunak after Thursday's general election
Former Conservative MP George Eustice has said Rishi Sunak "ran out of things to do" as prime minister [BBC]

Rishi Sunak "ran out of things to do", according to former Redruth and Camborne MP George Eustice.

The former secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs said the Conservative leader should have governed with the assumption he would lose the next general election.

Speaking to BBC Politics South West, Mr Eustice said: "There was really only one way to approach it [after becoming prime minister] and that was for him to govern as if he only had two years."

He added: "It very much looked like they had run out of things to do."

Mr Sunak and the Conservatives suffered a "disastrous night", according to Mr Eustice, after Labour won 412 seats - 291 more than the Tories.

In Cornwall, the Tories lost all six seats in the county, with four going to Labour and two to the Liberal Democrats.

Mr Eustice said the former prime minister "inherited quite a difficult situation" and it appeared "there was not really a lot that he [Mr Sunak] wanted to do".

He said: "His best last chance was about a year ago, at the party conference, to get some energy and life back into the government, and instead what we had was the smoking ban and changing the name of A-levels."

George Eustice on Politics South West
Mr Eustice said his friends and colleagues had been "let down" by the national campaign [BBC]

Mr Eustice, who stepped down as an MP, said the Conservatives had been in "quite a lot of trouble" over the last 12 months, which was only "exasperated" by a "very poorly executed campaign".

He said the campaign had "let down" his friends and colleagues who had stood in Cornwall.

In his resignation speech, Mr Sunak said he was "sorry" for the result and that he would stand down as party leader.

He also said the UK was "safer, stronger and more secure" than it was before he took office.

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