Tory candidate blamed Sunak for 'massive tax burdens'

Rishi Sunak

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 a constituency in East London, wrote posts criticising Mr Sunak on X, formerly known as Twitter, during the 2020 Tory leadership contest.

He said Mr Sunak had delivered “huge handouts, massive tax burdens, rising inflation, soaring debt" as chancellor.

Mr Kane, who supported Mr Sunak's rival Liz Truss in the contest, is standing for the Conservatives in Stratford and Bow, in East London, an area traditionally dominated by Labour.

In his 2020 posts, he accused Mr Sunak of blaming “collective responsibility” for “why he put up with scientists running the country” during the Covid pandemic.

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

The post appears to be a reference to Mr Sunak’s claim during the Conservative leadership race in 2022 that he argued in government the harms of lockdown were ignored and curbs on people’s freedom were too long and strict.

Liz Truss won the leadership contest, but was forced to bring chancellor Jeremy Hunt in to head up the Treasury after her mini-budget, shortly before she was forced out of office and replaced by Mr Sunak.

In another post from July 2022, Mr Blackwell also asked the Conservative minister Esther McVey “why the hell” she would back Jeremy Hunt, who remains the chancellor.

Mr Blackwell is the chairman of the Conservative Democratic Organisation, a group set up in December 2022 in response to what they saw as an unelected "coronation" of Mr Sunak as Tory leader.

The Conservative Party and Mr Blackwell have been asked to 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

  • Workers Party of Britain, Halima Khan

  • Labour, Uma Kumaran

  • Independent, Fiona Lali

  • Liberal Democrat, Janey Little