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Rishi Sunak could be our next Prime Minister, but how he handles economic recovery will be key

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02.03.2021

It was a video billed as a primer for the Budget. Shared on Rishi Sunak’s social media account on Monday, the six-minute musical montage charts the Chancellor’s journey since being appointed to the role – his debut budget, the pandemic and the many Treasury schemes since then. As a string quartet plays off camera, the Chancellor reflects to the camera on his rollercoaster year.

While the official motivation for the video is this week’s Budget, onlookers were quick to draw their own conclusions. Labour politicians derided “the Rishi Sunak show”, onlookers asked if it was an
X Factor audition, Tory councillors praised the best communicator in government, while political commentators heralded it proof the Chancellor may be in No 11, but he really has his sights on No 10.

The reception among Sunak’s parliamentary colleagues was more muted, with no outburst online nor in the general Tory WhatsApp group. “The video is classic Rishi,” says a senior Tory. “It’s slick and well made – of course there are a few grumbles. Some people don’t like the idea that it’s all about one person.”

In the past, such concerns have led MPs to ask whether Sunak’s on-brand graphics – complete with his go-to font ITC avant garde – are really necessary. Indeed, with Sunak expected to announce tax rises in the budget, MPs may not want to share Treasury graphics at all in the coming days. The Chancellor, though, is determined to make the case for his measures. In an unprecedented move, he’ll hold a televised press conference just hours after the Budget to explain his........

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