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Rishi Sunak has made a desperate pitch to the Tory right by vowing to review equalities legislation to stop “woke nonsense”.

The former Chancellor, who polls suggest has fallen behind Liz Truss in the race for No 10, said he would ensure gender self-identification has no legal force.

The candidate also promised a shake-up of sex education in schools to ensure children are “shielded from inappropriate material”.

Nevertheless Mr Sunak boldly claimed he had “no interest in fighting a so-called culture war”.

The dad-of-two pledged to “end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger pointing” and “protect British freedoms” if he becomes prime minister.

Just days before an estimated 160,000 Tory Party members – around 0.3% of the UK population – start casting their votes for the next Prime Minister, Mr Sunak vowed to stand up to “left-wing agitators”.

Mr Sunak is desperately hoping he can attract votes from the Tory right ( PA)

He said he wants to preserve gendered words such as “woman” or “mother” by ensuring sex means biological sex in the 2010 Equality Act.

Mr Sunak has previously said he would oppose biological males being allowed to compete against women in sport and protect single-sex services.

The wannabe PM promised to protect free speech by amending the Public Sector Equality Duty, which requires public bodies to consider discrimination.

This would be to ensure organisations “are open and welcoming” to people with differing political opinions and religious and philosophical world views, “putting a stop to practices such as no-platforming”, his campaign said.

He said: “What’s the point in stopping the bulldozers in the green belt if we allow left-wing agitators to take a bulldozer to our history, our traditions and our fundamental values?

The pitch comes as he tries to make up ground on rival Liz Truss ( Getty Images)

“Whether it’s pulling down statues of historic figures, replacing the school curriculum with anti-British propaganda, or rewriting the English language so we can’t even use words like ‘man’ ‘woman’ or ‘mother’ without being told we’re offending someone?

“It’s not us who are the aggressors; we have zero interest in fighting a so-called culture war.

“But we are determined to end the brainwashing, the vandalism and the finger pointing.

“Too often, existing legislation is used to engage in social engineering to which no one has given consent.”

He branded the 2010 Equality Act a “trojan horse”, which he said allowed “every kind of woke nonsense to permeate public life”.

He said: “Our laws must protect free speech, block biological men from competing in women’s sport and ensure that children are allowed to be children.”

Ms Truss has also spoken out in favour of single-sex spaces, telling a hustings audience on Thursday that she backs a policy that guarantees schoolgirls can go to a toilet in a safe environment.

“I’ve been very clear that single sex spaces should be protected,” she said.

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