City veteran Sir Martin Sorrell slams Tories’ leadership election dithering as country faces multiple crises
City veteran Sir Martin Sorrell has taken aim at the Tory leadership race, saying the contest has ‘gone on for too long’ and resulted in ‘months of uncertainty’ as the UK faces a looming recession.
The former boss of advertising giant WPP and current head of marketing agency S4 Capital said instead of standing by until a prime minister was selected, the Government should have attempted to immediately address the cost of living squeeze, particularly soaring energy costs.
‘The leadership contest has gone on for too long,’ Sorrell, 77, told LBC’s Money podcast.
Sweeping changes: Martin Sorrell (pictured with partner Caroline Michel) said the Government should be addressing the cost-of-living squeeze
‘The last thing we needed was a couple of months of further uncertainty about who the leader was going to be and getting to grips with the very serious issues around energy. We should’ve got on with it’.
The Conservative Party kicked off their leadership contest in early July when Boris Johnson announced that he would resign as Prime Minister.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is widely expected to win out against former chancellor Rishi Sunak next week.
But, much to the dismay of the business community, the contest has dragged on for nearly two months with little Government action on the crisis facing the economy.
Sorrell, whose partner is literary agent Caroline Michel, urged the winner to make fast sweeping changes like Margaret Thatcher did in the 1980s.
‘Thatcher grasped the nettle. She made the necessary changes in public finances in terms of spending and taxation.
Unpleasant in the initial stages, but much stronger in the final stages.’
Sorrell also sounded a gloomy note on the outlook for the economy, predicting a global recession was now ‘likely’ and the only question was ‘how deep it will be.’
‘I think this is going to be, in a UK context, a very grim winter,’ he said, highlighting the growing wave of strikes as well as predictions that inflation could hit 22 per cent next year – from 10 per cent currently.
‘I don’t think anybody saw 2023 being as difficult as it’s going to be.’