Questions for candidate Prime Ministers

This week-end is crunch weekend for the five survivors in the race to No 10. The candidates who have answered many MP questions in private rooms now go public and answer questions from the press and public. Here are some of the things people need to know from them –

  1. Why do you want to do this very difficult job?
  2. What would be your immediate priority on September 6th?
  3. What changes would you make if any to the structure and posts in Downing Street to ensure you are well served, and to the way Cabinet and departments relate to No 10 to ensure the smooth and effective functioning of government?
  4. How would you control your own diary and allocate precious time to priorities?
  5. How much delegated authority should rest with Cabinet Ministers and departments?

It’s the economy , stupid.

  1. How do you explain the big failure to keep inflation under control, bearing in mind Japanese and  Chinese inflation is around 2.5% despite energy prices?
  2. Do you accept the current Bank forecasts that inflation will tumble next year?
  3. Do you agree the task now is to fight possible recession and to ease the cost of living squeeze to do so?
  4. Do you think lower taxes are only possible once growth has resumed and speeded up, or do you think lower tax rates are crucial to achieving better growth?
  5. How would you find savings and productivity improvements in the public services? Are there current spending programmes that could be removed?

Getting Brexit done means achieving Brexit wins

  1. What are your main Brexit wins that you wish to deliver?
  2. Will you use our freedom to cut VAT on domestic fuel and on petrol?
  3. Will you design an agricultural support programme which promotes more UK food production?
  4. Will you beef up the freedom of the Freeports including lower taxes?
  5. Will you legislate business rules that allow greater global expansion from a UK base?
  6. Will you pursue the life sciences/medical research agenda which requires regulatory change?
  7. How will you use the UK’s seat on the World Trade Organisation as an independent country to advance the cause of free trade worldwide?
  8. How will you police UK borders so we have UK decisions on the  number of economic migrants we welcome?

National Security

  1. How will you develop the UK’s contribution to the NATO response to Ukraine?
  2. What additional capabilities do UK armed forces need to defend us in an unsettled era?
  3. Will you work closely with the private sector to ensure the UK controls essential technologies, and has sufficient capability to produce weapons and equipment which can be scaled up rapidly were need to arise?
  4. How will you develop the growing alliance with our Five Eyes partners, Japan and Korea?
  5. How do we become more energy self sufficient? Will you develop UK home based energy to cut our reliance on European electricity which in turn depends on imported gas and on  burning coal?
  6. Will you review our access to crucial minerals and other industrial inputs to cut our dependence on China and Chinese influenced parts of the world?

Health and education


  1. Will you continue educational reforms to raise standards and level up opportunities around the country?
  2. Will you expand grammars and Academies, to offer more choice to students and parents?
  3. How will you get the NHS waiting lists down?
  4. How will you ensure more nurses and doctors, and more access to services?
  5. Is the NHS over administered but undermanaged?
  6. What are your plans to improve services for the disabled?
  7. How will you expand capacity for mental health?
  8. What changes will you make to the outline plans for reform of social care?

Environment and Transport

  1. Do you agree it makes little sense to close activities in the UK that produce carbon if we import goods from abroad that use as much or more carbon? Will you substitute UK gas for imported LNG to cut CO2 output? Do you agree gas is an important transition fuel?
  2. Will you allow parts of the country that have plenty of new housing to choose their own local Plan to control future  numbers, freeing more housing investment for places that welcome it?
  3. What are your plans to improve the railway as we move to a world where the patterns of rail use and demand have changed a lot?
  4. What is your vision for a greener and pleasanter land?
  5. How will you help more people achieve their dream of home ownership?








  1. formula57
    July 15, 2022

    Read not as questions to candidates but a litany of Boris’s neglect, mismanagement and myopia, it is a devastating list.

    Boris “getting the big calls right” Johnson did not even know many of the calls were there to be made!

    1. Lifelogic
      July 15, 2022

      He certainly got most big calls wrong. The long extended lockdowns, the manifesto ratting, the vast tax increases, the enforcement of masks, the care homes, the school & NHS shut downs, coercing vaccine even into children & the young, the net zero lunacy, the wall paper, Carrie.

      Even the vaccines are clearly proving to be rather ineffective and rather dangerous.

    2. Donna
      July 16, 2022

      You can’t just blame Johnson …. it’s a litany of failure of the entire Governing Class and not just since 2019 or even 2010. It’s a failure created over decades, basically since the end of the Cold War (1991).

      It’s why we need massive reform of our Governmental Institutions, starting with the Civil Service. We’ve got to rid ourselves of the left-wing, over-educated/under experienced “group-think” Oxbridge Class who dominate the higher echelons …. which is what Cummings was aiming to do until Johnson/Nut Nuts sacked him.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        July 16, 2022

        That is because the political machine took the power to decide who sits in Parliament. The demos can choose only from their shortlist. Thus the quality of parliamentarians has been reduced significantly because they were chosen for their malleability and NOT for their talent.
        This must change and fast. We now have a country to Govern, thanks to the wisdom and courage of the Demos in 2016.

        1. Hope
          July 16, 2022

          The only conservative was Braverman, she wanted to get rid of ECHR. That would mean leaving the EU properly, taking control of borders, being able to get rid of immigrants. They binned her! Says all you have to know about these fake Tories.

  2. Robert Ottley
    July 15, 2022

    A highly pertinent and thorough going list Mr Redwood. The candidates would probably be thrown into disarray if they were faced with such questions, though in reality they should have thought about all of these things and more. I am sure it is too late now but could you not be persuaded to stand again for leadership of the party? You would have my vote for sure.

  3. Sharon
    July 15, 2022

    British Culture

    Will you address the perverted sex education being taught in some schools?

    Will you address the woke, critical race, lack of freedom of speech cultural attacks on our society? ie support the many campaign groups trying to achieve our freedoms?

    It’s a very long list…

  4. formula57
    July 15, 2022

    An excellent trick question to trap those whose executive capabilities are not well-honed in “What would be your immediate priority on September 6th?”.

    The only acceptable answer of course is “Shafting those who promised on the 5th. that they would be reverting to me that day with good and sufficient answers”.

    I am duly impressed as ever by your astuteness Sir John. 🙂

    1. formula57
      July 15, 2022

      Oops: a bit harsh perhaps. It should read “Shafting those who promised…..but had not done so”!

  5. Shirley M
    July 15, 2022

    It would be good to get answers to all these questions, but it will be even more interesting to see if any are answered honestly. Sunak and Mordaunt have already shown themselves to be as ‘reliable’ as Boris in the honesty department! The reputation of your party is as stake.

    1. Bloke
      July 16, 2022

      How has Mordaunt been dishonest?
      Her claim that the UK could not veto Turkey joining the EU was based on Cameron being unwilling to use it.
      Candidates were asked if Johnson was honest. He was and wasn’t.
      Everyone is a mixture of honesty and some dishonesty in some way.
      He was evidently dishonest about Partygate and other matters, which his police fine and various outcomes confirm.
      Have you ever accessed software and clicked on ‘I have read and agree to all the terms’?

      1. Shirley M
        July 16, 2022

        Mordaunt has been dishonest about trans issues. She said transwomen were women and has been pushing to remove the word ‘women’ from legislation and replace it with pregnant people, but then tried to deny it. The honest approach would have been to say she had changed her opinions. We do not need any bandwagon hoppers in power. They are spineless as they just follow the noisy minorities. We need a leader not a follower.

        1. Bloke
          July 16, 2022

          I’m not aware of her previous stance, Shirley, so you are better informed than I.
          The distinction she explained in response was well-reasoned, and did seem valid to me.
          However, if she has been dishonest she has blemished herself badly.

  6. Nottingham Lad Himself
    July 15, 2022

    Your new voters will often only want to know whether they too “would have got the little puppies out” of Afghanistan.

  7. glen cullen
    July 15, 2022

    I just want our new leader PM to do less of everything –
    Cut net-zero, HS2, ECHRs, Taxes, Immigration, the size of the Commons, the size of the Cabinet, the Lords, the size of the civil service, French fishermen in our waters, and cut our continued involvement in the UN, WEP and the EU
    But above all stop social-engineering and realise that the people and not parliament is supreme…it isn’t the job of parliament to shape the people, it’s the peoples job to shape parliament

    1. Donna
      July 16, 2022

      Well said.

    2. Bloke
      July 16, 2022

      Tom Tugendhat’s ‘Clean Start’ is overstated.
      One ‘Clean Start’ would be to cancel all law except one protecting others from harm.
      Then, each week only one most important law would be added with a single sentence.
      Retrospective sentences would be imposed to prevent bad intent.
      Havoc would ensue yet folk would know where they stand to sort themselves out fast.
      That extreme concept is not worthy of thought.
      However, Tom’s version of ‘Clean’ means merely ‘Tinkering’.

    3. Michelle
      July 16, 2022

      Bravo sir. Excellent comment

  8. Diane
    July 15, 2022

    Education: Something controversial which bothers many – would like to hear opinion on what is being taught in schools to our children in terms of age appropriate content, the delivery of it and considering the role and responsibility of educators and of the role and involvement or non-involvement of parents.

  9. Denis Cooper
    July 15, 2022

    I actually emailed a question to all five this morning, as follows:

    “What is the difference between “imports” and “exports”?”

    “Ladies and gentlemen, as I will not be in the studio audience for tonight’s televised debate I would like to pose this question to each of you directly. If you understand that goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or elsewhere are “imports”, in which the Irish Republic and the EU have no legitimate interest, and that goods crossing the open land border from Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic are “exports”, in which the Irish Republic and the EU do have a legitimate interest, then you will be well placed to see that a concern for our neighbours calls for the UK to introduce “export controls” on goods destined for carriage across the border, including the half* or so produced in the province, and to discontinue the present displacement activity of controls on imports into the province, even those imports which may be intended to become exports. Instead the UK government could have gone ahead and set up an export control system at any time; there was nothing in the protocol to prevent that being done in the past, and it could and should still be done now. Dr D R Cooper”

    “*According to the Explainer:

    “only a sixth of goods that move into Northern Ireland are determined to be at risk of entering the EU’s market”

    Official 2019 data on Northern Ireland sales and purchases:

    according to which purchases of goods from Great Britain were worth £11.4 billion while sales of goods to the Republic were worth £3.4 billion.

    £11..4 billion divided by six = £1.9 billion for the value of those goods that just passed through the points of entry into Northern Ireland on their way to the Irish Republic versus £3.4 billion as the total value of the goods exported to the Republic, hence to a first approximation 44% of the goods crossing the land border will have been produced in the province and so will not have been subjected to any import controls.”

    1. Gary Megson
      July 16, 2022

      “Dear Mr Cooper, thank you for your message. Please note that the British people voted for a GB/NI border in December 2019 and the UK Parliament voted for one in January 2020. So the EU and Ireland have a legitimate interest in GB/NI trade for one reason and one reason only – that the UK agreed they should. “

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 16, 2022

        If any right over GB/NI trade presently enjoyed by the EU and Ireland has been created solely by the sovereign UK Parliament, as you say, then its continuation will depend upon the continuing assent of the UK Parliament.

  10. Cuibono
    July 15, 2022

    Apparently every one of them wants to build as many houses as there are people who want one. Not a single mention of overpopulation!

  11. Denis Cooper
    July 15, 2022

    I’m sorry that Suella Braverman has been knocked out, but I’m not surprised because of all the candidates her views are closest to mine and that must inevitably make her part of a smallish minority in the Tory party.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 15, 2022

      +1 but even she supported vaccine passports, did not want to ditch the insane net zero agenda completely nor the basket case HS2 I think.

    2. Original Richard
      July 15, 2022

      Denis Cooper :

      Suella Braverman’s views are not those of a small minority in the Tory Party but a small minority of the views of Tory MPs, the majority of whom do not have views representative of their local party members.

  12. Enigma
    July 15, 2022

    Will you rule out further lockdowns, vaccine passports, mandatory vaccination, track and trace, closing schools, mask wearing etc.
    Have the past couple of years been erased from everyone’s minds? Why is no one talking about these disastrous policies?

  13. DOM
    July 15, 2022

    So the debate takes place on Channel 4. Why?

    What exactly goes on inside the warped mind of the Tory party managers and their MPs that they think an arsehole channel like Ch4 is the appropriate channel on which to hold such an important debate? Is it because NO ONE watches Channel 4? Why not GB News????????????

    The Tory party is beyond redemption, beyond saving

    1. Mark
      July 16, 2022

      Perhaps if C4 had used Andrew Neil, who now broadcasts there, as moderator we might have had some more incisive questioning. Halligan would be good as a moderator, and perhaps Farage too. Steyn might be too tempted to push his own agenda rather than unmasking those of the candidates, which is what we need. The choice is among those remaining, not those who are not on the podium.

  14. X-Tory
    July 15, 2022

    A very good list of questions. Have you received answers to any of these at the private meetings you attended? If so, I can see no democratic reason why such answers should be secret. Surely we, the people, have a right to know what those who wish to run the country intend to do?! And which candidate’s answers have satisfied you the most?

  15. Lifelogic
    July 15, 2022

    All good questions with fairly obvious answers:-

    The economy;-

    Desperately needs far less government, huge tax cuts, tax simplification, relaxed planning, easy hire and fire employment rules. a bonfire of red tape, cheap on demand energy with no net zero insanity.

    Environment and Transport

    Stop blocking the roads and mugging motorist and abandon the net zero lunacy. Stop pushing EV cars they increase CO2 not decrease it anyway. Not that CO2 plant food is a problem! Level playing field between car, trucks, rail and public transport,

    Health and education

    Freedom and Choice and not a rigged market with dire state monopolies that are “free” so cannot easily be competed with. Education vouchers that can be topped up and nearly all schools private!


    Relax planning stop irrationally attacking landlords and thus tenants, cut stamp duty and taxes on real profits, index capital gains no profits never made, relax OTT green crap building regulation and again have a level playing field between state, housing associations and private.

    Law and Order:-

    Control the borders and the channel and have a police force and criminal justice system that actually trys to deter and catch real criminals – they clearly do virtually nothing of value on this currently.


    Yes please but can we have some intelligent, sensible and honest people in defence procurement for a change?

  16. Peter
    July 15, 2022

    No mention of Northern Ireland or fishing. Many would like to know candidates position here. Many feel let down with the current situation.

    Cut a couple of the questions in the list that will prompt waffling.

  17. Fedupsoutherner
    July 15, 2022

    What a dull debate this evening. Nobody impressed me or stood out. Still too much alk of environmentalism and not enough about safe secure and reliable energy. Nobody shone through for me.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 15, 2022


    2. Lifelogic
      July 16, 2022

      Save, secure, reliable, on demand and cheap energy please. The UK sits on loads of gas and coal. The solutions pushed by government – wind, solar, heat pumps, cycling, walking, public transport, EVs… save no CO2 or no significant CO2 anyway and certainly not in world terms. They at best just export it together with jobs.

      As we know EVs and even walking usually increase CO2 production. Keeping you old car longer is much cheaper and causes far less CO2 as manufacturing/mining a new car and battery uses so much fosil fuel energy. Plus we have no spare low carbon electricity for charging anyway.

      Not the CO2 plant, crop & tree food is even a serious problem anyway.

      1. Guy Liardet
        July 17, 2022

        Hullo everybody. Let’s take on board the fact that carbon dioxide (not ‘carbon’ for heaven’s sake) is a beneficial trace gas, it’s increase in the atmosphere is mostly natural (ocean outgassing with global warming) and does not correlate with temperature increase (‘Ice Age Scare and today’s seven year six months ‘pause’.). 40 years of satellite temperature tracking show warming at 1.3degsC per hundred years as we emerge from the Little Ice Age. You have all swallowed the Alarmist scare stories- it’s brainwashing! Polar bears? Arctic Ice? Tornadoes? Sea level rise ? Floods? Droughts? Did you know that American wildfires were ten times as extensive in the 1930s? Why not? You’re not stupid. It’s only two clicks away on the internet! Oh, sorry, you listen to the BBC. Believe me, there’s no climate crisis and Net Zero is an unparalleled economic calamity,

  18. beresford
    July 15, 2022

    I saw five minutes of the ‘hustings’ at lunchtime, the bit where every candidate promised to fight to the last Ukrainian, and pledged to continue involvement in every foreign war, no matter how far from these shores. Apparently we must be prepared to make further sacrifices in order that Putin be defeated; any result other than total defeat is unacceptable. What happened to realpolitik, the acceptance that Russia will obliterate Ukraine rather than lose face? What will they do when Putin controls all Ukrainian territory, harbour a ‘government-in-exile’ and recognise sporting teams from a country that no longer exists?

  19. Original Richard
    July 15, 2022

    Questions for the candidates on the Net Zero Strategy :

    Do you consider it is necessary for us to continue with the existing net zero strategy even though our contribution to global CO2 emissions is just 1% of the total and China’s emissions per capita are now 30% above that of the UK? If so :

    Will you continue with the coal fired generation deadline of September 2024 and consequently will you be ordering the explosive demolition of our remaining plants or mothballing these plants?

    Will you be ordering any SMRs to be ready for the decarbonisation date of 2035 or continue with the current nuclear strategy whereby we will have between zero and 7% nuclear power for this date and only an aim for completing 8 nuclear plants (24% of predicted energy requirement) between 2043 and 2050?

    Will you continue with the current strategy for renewables to provide all our electrical energy by 2035 and all our energy by 2050 together with the total electrification of transport, heating, agriculture and industry? If so, do you have any plan for dealing with renewables’ intermittency other the current strategy to use volatile pricing and demand-management?

    Do you believe our current strategy whereby all our wind turbines and solar panels are bought from China and we are reliant upon China for our raw materials for batteries and motors/generators will provide us with energy security?

  20. No Longer Anonymous
    July 15, 2022

    It’s sunny so we’re all gonna die.

    Grim grim grim. All the Tory’s fault. Can you not see what appeasement has done ?

    Half the NHS off because they’re fat and have tested positive. I was forced to take two weeks off because I was testing positive.. even with NO symptoms.

    The Blob are making the country ungovernable under a Party they don’t like.


    Predictable water shortages soon. Yet the Tories increase our population exponentially whilst splooging on HS2 and the Palaces of Westminster and NOT reservoirs.


    2024 and all will be shit.

    1. L Jones
      July 16, 2022

      If people have no symptoms and feel well, they should still go to work AND WEAR MASKS. Because, as we know, these pieces of Chinese paper/plastic function SO WELL that not a SINGLE SHRED of virus can penetrate them, in or out – so everyone will be SAFE, especially the vaccinated ones, because they’re already protected… Aren’t they?

  21. DB
    July 15, 2022

    Jusr reading this excellent list of questions makes me depressed by the quality of all the candidates on offer. I am sure they could not answer them, whereas our host could.

    1. formula57
      July 16, 2022

      @ DB – True enough, alas. Even I could give good answers to the questions, but then I am an attentive reader of this diary. When will the Conservative Party wake up?

  22. No Longer Anonymous
    July 15, 2022

    Much simpler question.

    “How do you plan on dealing with the Blob, the BBC, the Remainiacs, the NHS Marxists, Woke and Greenism ?”

    These are the things making the country ungovernable in any conservative way.

    **** Covid is God’s gift to Leftism. A sniffle and tens of staff in the NHS go of sick. Can you not see how it works ?

    **** When’s the heatwave lockdown ? “People will die !!!! STAY INDOORS !!!”

  23. No Longer Anonymous
    July 16, 2022

    The Sun has it right. Stop treating us like kids. Really. Stop it. Just STOP IT .

    After two years of cloying Covid “Keep Safe” bollocks you just can’t help yourselves. You’ve lost perspective on what you’re meant to be.

    You’re grey, nannying, old and BOOOORING !!!

    1. Lifelogic
      July 16, 2022

      +1 doubtless they are all running round urban areas desperate to find a single thermometer that reads 40C for a second or two – perhaps as a Jumbo passes by at Heathrow or a reflection of a green house hits the recording box. Last time they found one in Cambridge not far from the train station that gave us 38.7C in the Botanical Gardens now far more urban than the areas was in my day.

      See for more detail.

  24. Stred
    July 16, 2022

    Is Bill Gates right about everything and have you met him?
    Are Sir Klaus Schwab and his supporter Prince Charles right to stop investment in carbon fuels and only expand wind and solar?
    The answer from the last two will be Yes.

  25. Jamie
    July 16, 2022

    So what about the new trade deals with countries far away that we were promised as I have not heard a peep since.. certainly not for a long while.. and I thought Liz Truss was working on this. Talks should be well advanced by now?

  26. dixie
    July 16, 2022

    An excellent set of questions, it will be interesting and telling to see what team and processes are assembled by the new PM to address them
    In the areas of economy and security I would also add a question on how UK sourced STEM, energy and industry will be encouraged and retained considering the obstructive and predatory nature of our protectionist neighbours and beyond.

  27. Donna
    July 16, 2022

    An excellent list of questions, Sir John.

    And what did we get from C4 yesterday? “Is Johnson trustworthy?” As if that matters now (and anyway, we all know he isn’t).

    Not one of the remaining candidates demonstrated fitness to govern during yesterday’s “talent show.” If they are the best the Conservative Party can produce then it is evidence that neither the Party’s MP Candidate selection procedures are fit for purpose, nor the Ministerial appointments system.

    None of them have either the experience, qualities or (in the case of Sunak and Truss, who are senior Cabinet members) the gravitas we should expect a Prime Minister to display.

  28. Gary Lloyd-Coxhead
    July 16, 2022

    A great set of questions John. However going on past experience I won’t be holding my breath waiting for the answers.

  29. Bryan Harris
    July 16, 2022

    My interpretation from comments made by Ms Mourdant is that she would retain the policies from the Tory mandate that got Boris elected. Is that what we want?

    I’d like to see the new PM provide a fully detailed set of policies, by September 5, that reflect intention and the new mood that seems to have broken out — something we can use to judge HMG against.

    We can all have our wish lists, but have no chance of influencing the new PM once installed, so let’s be clear what we are being promised.

  30. Lynn Atkinson
    July 16, 2022

    We need VAT cut from all fuel. Non-VAT registered small businesses are paying 20% VAT! It is cruel and will kill many small businesses.

  31. Mike Stallard
    July 16, 2022

    BBC News: DANGER: We are about to have a Global Warming Heatwave! RED ALERT: Please be careful not to expose any flesh or you will get cancer. Please do not drink any alcoholic beverages like Pimms or G&T and stick to bottled water which will prevent heatstroke. Have you heard of Penny Mordaunt’s new hairdresser? I mean, honestly! Anyway, it is not as bad as that AWFUL Tugendhardt chap. He really needs to dress a bit more smartly, don’t you think? Other news; Mrs Smith at No 33 is going to grumble about the cost of living and then we will go over to Kettering to ask what life is like on a REALLY TOUGH Council Estate. It even has CRIMINALS! YES! Real ones (But we will not be showing you any of them. Meanwhile in Esher…

  32. Ralph Corderoy
    July 16, 2022

    Test their understanding of economic theories…

    It’s the economy, stupid.
    1a. What is sound money and why should we aim to have inflation, with a 2% target, when it devalues the hard-earned savings of the poor who have no assets?

  33. William Long
    July 16, 2022

    A very comprehensive list of questions, presumably in no particular order, unless one can read leaving what many might consider one of the most important questions till last, as a sign of a classical element in your education!
    Of course what one would really like to see of any of the candidates, is that they read your blog with sufficient care to provide a string of answers, but I am not saying this in any expectation that it will happen.

  34. villaking
    July 16, 2022

    I would like to see them asked what they will do this autumn when government advisers inevitably ask once more for compulsory restrictions on our lives due to rising cases of Covid. Many are already agitating for compulsory masks again now and it can not be forgotten that one of the candidates, now thankfully eliminated (Hunt) supported enforced removal and quarantine of infected persons, Chinese state style. With such a shocking cultural shift in our valuation of freedom and acceptance of state control in the last two years, I think it is important to ascertain each candidate’s view of coercive state intervention.

  35. L Jones
    July 16, 2022

    If any one of them would state unequivocally that so-called ‘lockdown’ would never, under any circumstances, be used again and that ‘social credit’ rules were weapons of communism definitely not to be seen in our country – then they’d be the one we need. All else no doubt would be muddled through in the usual way – but at least we’d then be free to re-build – NOT ”build back better” but simply to reclaim our precious lives without constant fear-mongering and threats from the government and its mouthpiece the media. Is any one of them strong enough to stand up for us, the people?

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