Image of Sunak stabbing PM in the back, not part of Truss campaign, Coffey says

Image of Sunak stabbing PM in the back, not part of Truss campaign, Coffey says

Labor and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (Kirsty O'Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Labor and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Nadine Dorries “decided” to retweet a mocked image of Rishi Sunak stabbing Boris Johnson in the back, not Liz Truss’s campaign, Therese Coffey said.

Over the weekend, the Culture Secretary shared on Twitter a manipulated image depicting Mr Johnson as Julius Caesar, with Mr Sunak brandishing a knife behind his back as Brutus.

A number of Conservative MPs were quick to condemn Ms Dorries, branding the attacks on the former Chancellor following the murder of Sir David Amess as “dangerous”.

Speaking to Times Radio this morning, the Secretary of Works and Pensions, Ms Truss’s campaign manager, distanced the Foreign Secretary from Ms Dorries’ retweet.

Ms Coffey said: “Well, I wouldn’t have done it. The Liz for Leader campaign certainly didn’t do it. Nadine made the decision. I drew her attention to the fact that many colleagues were upset about this.

“It’s up to Nadine to decide how to run her social media. But I’m just saying I’m really here to focus on Liz rather than any other news.”

She added: “I won’t go into individual conversations but she recognized that other people would have been upset by this, but she is keen to make the case herself.

“And Nadine is a very special woman. She was full of life in her role as cultural secretary yesterday and also supported the Lionesses. But I’m actually here to talk about Liz Truss.”

It’s not even a year since Sir David Amess was stabbed in his constituency operation in Southend, so I think that’s very, very distasteful, even dangerous

Gregor hands

The former Chancellor was asked on BBC Radio 4 Today about allegations that he was a “sneaky underhand” but said he would not comment specifically on “what others want to say”.

He added: “I’m going to address the broader allegation that they (the allegations) are referring to because I think there’s a risk that people are looking at the government’s last few months with slightly rose-colored glasses about what it really is was like.

“Because it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to and crucially the government was on the wrong side of a very serious ethical issue and also down the wrong economic path for me and that’s why we ended up with more than 60 I believe MPs resigned from government at last count and I was one of them after much deliberation and months of standing with the Prime Minister.”

Ms Dorries wrote in the Mail on Sunday Ms Dorries accused the former chancellor of “having been plotting a coup for a long time” and said she commented on his dress sense to “warn Tory members not to avoid such apparitions.” many of us fall for it who served with the Chancellor in the Cabinet”.

The culture secretary had previously criticized Tory leadership who hoped to wear Prada shoes, arguing that such a display of his wealth shows he is out of touch.

Tory leadership hope Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

Tory leadership hope Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

Business Secretary Greg Hands described Ms Dorries’ actions as “despicable” and “dangerous” and told Sky News: “I’m sure Liz Truss would object to that type of behaviour.

“I find that terrifying. Look, it’s not even a year since Sir David Amess was stabbed in his operation in the Southend constituency, so I think that’s very, very distasteful, dangerous even.

Mr Hands, who is backing Mr Sunak in the No10 race, added: “I think it’s distasteful.”

Welsh Foreign Secretary Sir Robert Buckland, another of Mr Sunak’s supporters, also criticized the behaviour.

“I think that kind of imagery and narrative is not just arson, it’s wrong,” he told BBC Radio Wales.

“I think it’s time that those who believe that, for example, an argument about Prada shoes or earrings is more important, pull themselves together and let people talk about the issues and not the personality.”

Former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis, who backed Ms Truss in the leadership contest, told Sky News: “It’s certainly not the sort of thing I would tweet.”

He added: “Nadine is known for having a strong perspective on things. Nadine speaks for itself, because she is very individual. But that’s not a position Liz would take.”

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