Rishi Sunak rejects accusation he is 'narcissistic' for putting his face on policies: 'It's so people can hold me to account'

Chancellor denies approach is inspired by Donald Trump

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Tuesday 06 October 2020 08:28 BST
Rishi Sunak has made the Eat Out to Help Out scheme personal
Rishi Sunak has made the Eat Out to Help Out scheme personal ( )

Rishi Sunak has rejected accusations that he is "narcissistic" for heavily using pictures of himself and his own name to promote government policies.

The chancellor said the approach, which has seen his name and face used in adverts for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, made it easier for people to "hold me to account".

"I'm very new to politics and for someone who has a job like mine where I'm responsible for the UK economy ... perhaps understandably most people probably didn't know who I was before I had this job," he told Sky News.

"My job is to make sure that everyone in this country understands what I'm doing on their behalf, can question me, hold me accountable for it, and feel engaged with that debate."

He added: "I'm not going to apologise for that; I want people to know what we're up to so they can question it and decide whether they like it, don't like it - that's the right they have."

The chancellor also rejected comparisons with his approach and that taken by Donald Trump, stating "the vast majority of senior politicians in the US take an approach to social media that is very similar".

Adverts for policies launched by the chancellor regularly include his name, photograph, and also a stylised version of his own signature.

The heavily personalised nature of the messaging has raised questions about whether he fancies the top job and is looking to raise his profile before challenging Boris Johnson

Asked whether he had ambitions to replace Mr Johnson as PM, Mr Sunak did not explicitly reject a run at the Tory leadership – though he said he thought the prime minister was doing a good job.

"I think the job I have is hard enough and I see up close what the prime minister has to deal with every day," he said.

"It's not an envious task, I think he does it admirably well, these are very difficult times, I'm grateful that we have his leadership, I think the country should be very grateful as well. I'm just trying to focus on the job in hand, the job I have.

"It's a very difficult time to be doing my job, hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs, many more will, that's happening on my watch and I need to try and do what I can do provide fresh opportunity for people and protect as many as those jobs as possible."

Asked a similar question on Monday the chancellor replied emphatically: “God, no. Definitely not”.

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