Conservative voters would reinstate Boris Johnson shows poll
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Mr Sunak became the first candidate to appear on a morning show on Thursday when he joined Rochelle Humes and Andi Peters on the This Morning couch. While their brief, cheery conversation provided voters with an alternative look at the would-be future Prime Minister, it also served as an opportunity for the former Chancellor to woo voters. But the UK’s richest MP has failed to play the appearance to his advantage, according to those with a trained eye.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, body language expert Judi James said the differences between Mr Sunak’s hustings and interview presentation were mostly surface level.
She said the informal version was “only marginally different from the man we’ve been seeing on the hustings and TV debates”, with the “usual political trick” of removing a tie and rolling up sleeves providing a switch to “casual mode”.
Ms James said he used the couch “like a bouncy castle” as he expressed “excited enthusiasm” to “gain approval from the presenters”.
She added: “His smile was bigger and more durable than it has been on the hustings and his acute wrinkling at the corners of his eyes showed he was in sociable mode rather than just formal.”
“There was a wide gap between himself and the presenters but he was continually trying to minimise it, either by leaning forward or by using gesticulations that involved placing his hands in that gap, on the surface of the sofa.”
Although it showed a departure from his usual demeanour, his deeper body language showed how he was still in political mode.
Mr Sunak’s body language was “pretty identical to the campaigning version of Rishi”, Ms James said, as were “his answers to the questions”.
His “staccato movements and speech patterns” and “body language traits of throwing his hands out towards his audience or using the Tony Blair thumb of power for emphasis” showed the interview still functioned like a campaign appearance.
Despite the political presentation, Mr Sunak lost composure when he appeared too excited to speak about “ordinary” things.
Ms James said he came across as “desperate”, and likely didn’t help his brand.
She said: “His utter delight at being asked about his MacDonald’s meals showed in the way he seemed to be expecting the question and therefore answering too quickly.
“The suggestion was that he is still desperate to show himself as a man of the people rather than elitist.
“Keenness is good but only when you’ve done your homework.”
“‘WrapGate’ might not be a big issue but it clearly didn’t help in terms of defining Rishi’s brand as an ordinary guy in touch with ordinary people.”
Mr Sunak’s charm offensive yesterday came as the leadership contender – who is least favoured to win next month – launched a push to close the distance between himself and Ms Truss.
Since then, his allies have suggested he could make a last-minute surge and pip the Foreign Secretary.
Speaking on Sky News today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he could follow a similar trajectory to the Conservatives in the 2015 election.
He told the broadcasters: “One thing we have learned from the last few years is, think of the 2015 election, I was party chairman at the time, everyone said we couldn’t win the election.
“I think the 2016 Brexit poll where everyone was pretty sure the country was about to vote for Remain.
“I think it would be a very good idea to wait for those who are voting in this contest to complete the vote.”
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