CONSERVATIVE leadership contender Rishi Sunak wants to look at introducing compensation if hosepipe bans are caused by failures by water companies.

The former Chancellor told the Daily Telegraph he would consider the measure as a hosepipe ban comes into force across parts of Sussex after months of dry conditions.

He said: “It is unacceptable for water companies to impose restrictions on their customers when they fail to stem leaks.

“We need tougher financial penalties on the companies that are not investing enough to stop water being wasted.”

Hundreds of thousands of people will have their use of hosepipes and sprinklers restricted from Friday, August 12 until further notice after an announcement by South East Water earlier this week.

Leadership rival and frontrunner to replace Boris Johnson Liz Truss said that such bans should not have to happen.

A spokesman for her campaign told the Telegraph said: “We shouldn’t be in a position where hosepipe bans have to happen.

“More needs to be done to make sure water companies fix leaks and waste across their networks.

“As Prime Minister, Liz would look at how best regulator Ofwat could hold those water companies with the worst track record to account so that hard-working people across the country are not restricted on their water use over the summer months.”

Last month saw a record-breaking heatwave across Sussex, with temperatures peaking at 37.6C, with record low rainfall across the county.

The Environment Agency has warned that the country could be in drought later this month if dry conditions continue.

The Conservative leadership race heads to Eastbourne later this evening in the latest of a series of hustings across the country, with Tory members from the region putting their questions to the two contenders to become the next leader of the party and the UK.