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Rishi Sunak reveals his favourite Jilly Cooper novels on This Morning

Rishi Sunak has come clean about his rumoured enjoyment of Jilly Cooper novels, using a grilling on the This Morning sofa to even specify which sub-genre of the veteran author’s racy oeuvre he relies on for “escapism”.

Quizzed by Alison Hammond on the ITV show, the prime minister listed Riders, Rivals, Polo, The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous and Appassionata as his favourites.

“She’s done lots of different books,” he said. “That’s the set of books that I like. They are good. You need to have escapism in your life. And that’s a good thing. So whether it’s whatever TV you watch, whatever you’re reading, it’s good to be able to get away from your day-to-day and then just go into a totally different place.”

Questioned about how his daughters, aged 12 and 10, coped with negative media coverage of their father, Sunak said they were sufficiently young to be largely oblivious.

“I’m lucky in the sense of they’re probably at the age that they’re not really watching the evening news every day,” he said.

“They’re not massively reading the news. They’re still little, which is good. They’re broadly fine with it, and they’ve seen me do these jobs over the last few years. So they’re a little bit used to that.

“But fundamentally, you know, I’m Dad, and we’re focused on whether I’m helping them with whatever they want me to do, whether it’s playing Top Trumps or doing Lego.”

Sunak said he was out with his daughters when Liz Truss resigned in October, propelling him into No 10. He added: “I wasn’t expecting it, obviously, given what happened last summer” – a reference to the leadership campaign in which he lost to Truss.

He told the show: “I remember actually, when Liz Truss resigned I was with my girls. We were at TGI Fridays, having lunch up in Teesside, and I was taking them bowling.

“Ultimately, I thought I can make a difference, and the country was not in an easy place. So that’s why I came forward for it. And the reality is, it’s hard. I mean, it’s incredibly hard.”

Sunak did reach the limits of his openness with the informal but sometimes probing This Morning interview style when asked to discuss the last time he cried.

“Something … just one of our kids a little while ago,” was all he would say. “A difficult thing.”

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