Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are battling it out in Manchester at another Tory leadership hustings event, as the frontrunner was accused of showing “her true colours” in an unearthed 2009 paper promoting vast spending cuts.
Labour said the think-tank report co-authored by Ms Truss – which called for “user charges for GPs”, the abolition of universal child benefit and the removal of the winter fuel payment – revealed that “the reality of her agenda is devastating cuts”.
Polls have consistently put Ms Truss as clear favourite to win the race for No 10, with elections guru Sir John Curtice saying the foreign secretary “would have to foul up in some spectacular fashion” for her rival to enter Downing Street instead.
Despite her strong position in the race to replace Boris Johnson, Ms Truss drew criticism from Mr Sunak’s team after she declined to attend a hustings organised by the National Farmers’ Union, and is now set to face farmers in September, marking one of the campaign’s final events.
Asked by an audience member whether she would build more houses to solve the housing crisis, Liz Truss instead touted her plans to help people get mortgages and attacked the planning system.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:46
Truss jokes GB News ‘actually gets your facts right’ in dig at BBC
Liz Truss has joked that GB News “is not the BBC – you actually get your facts right”, after host Alastair Stewart blamed a typo for him saying that a controversial report co-authored by the foreign secretary, unearthed today, was published in the wrong year.
Asked what she believes the report shows about her “vision of the state”, Ms Truss: “My ambition is for the private sector to grow more than the public sector.”
The foreign secretary then attacked an “assumption by the “economic orthodoxy” that Britain is a low-growth country.
“We have far too many quangos in this country, we have 500 of them, we need to trim it [the public sector] down to size and we need to make the government efficient,” she added.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:42
If you missed it earlier, here is Rishi Sunak’s introductory video at tonight’s hustings, which doubles down on the ex-chancellor being the “underdog”.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:35
Retired medics could help clear Covid backlog, Truss says
Liz Truss has suggested that retired medics could be asked to help clear the Covid backlog, after many returned to work to help at the start of the pandemic.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:33
Medics must be ‘empowered’ and not ‘told what to do from Whitehall’, Liz Truss says
Liz Truss has said doctors and nurses on the frontline must be “empowered” to deal with issues patients are raising, which will “increase morale and motivation”.
Medics “feel like they are being told what to do from Whitehall rather than understanding the situation in their local area and being able to respond to their patients’ needs”, said Ms Truss.
Earlier today, a 2009 report Ms Truss co-authored came to light, which called for doctors pay to be cut by 10 per cent.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:32
Truss touts ‘league tables’ for police forces
Liz Truss is now facing questions from host Alastair Stewart, starting again with law and order.
“What I would do is have league tables that compare police forces and how they are performing, so they can really be held to account by the public,” Ms Truss said, adding that there is not “enough transparency on exactly what the police are doing”.
The right leadership is needed within the police and “also within our big cities”, the foreign secretary said – rounding on Sadiq Khan as having “let down London” by failing to “deliver the tough messages to the police”.
“It requires a change of culture in the police focused on the crimes that people are concerned about,” Ms Truss said.
She suggested senior policing staff could be removed from their posts if their force performs poorly in her league table.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:28
Sunak repeats claim he is ‘most northern Tory chancellor in 70 years’
Rishi Sunak has repeated his claim that he is “the most northern Tory chancellor” in 70 years.
“I’m going to go home tonight in Northallerton in North Yorkshire. I do my politics in Teesside,” he said.
“There’s a reason Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of Teesside is supporting me. There’s a reason all the MPs in that region, bar one, are supporting me. Because I’ve helped turn that place blue.”
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:23
Government must ensure things ‘are only tough for one winter’, Sunak says
The best way to help struggling families is to make sure that things are “only going to be tough for one winter” by getting inflation under control.
We must make sure “that we get through this winter and then this is the end of it”, the ex-chancellor said, adding: “Because if we’re all here talking about inflation next year, we’re all stuffed.”
Families will be “rightly” furious and the Tories will lose the next general election, Mr Sunak said.t
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:19
Sunak says he backs Truss plan to kneecap striking workers
Rishi Sunak has said he agrees with Liz Truss that striking workers should be forced to maintain a certain level of operation and also would legislate to that effect.
The plans, proposed by Ms Truss, have sparked fury among unions who say they are an attack on democracy.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:13
Sunak pledges ‘extra financial assistance’ in face of soaring energy bills
This winter is going to be “incredibly difficult”, Rishi Sunak has said, during audience questioning.
Those on low incomes and pensioners “should get direct help” in the face of soaring energy bills this winter, the ex-chancellor said, adding he will provide extra financial assistance.
It will be a “moral failure” and the British people “will never forgive us” if no such help is given, Mr Sunak said.
Andy Gregory19 August 2022 20:11