Conservative leadership race latest: Tory rivals clash over taxes in TV debate showdown

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·29-min read
Conservative leadership race latest: Tory rivals clash over taxes in TV debate showdown
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The five Tory leadership hopefuls have squared off in the first of three TV debates on Friday evening.

Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch took part in the debate on Channel 4.

The showdown heated up as the contenders clashed over whether they would cut taxes should they become prime minister.

Ms Mordaunt said she took attacks on her campaign to be the next prime minister as a "big fat compliment".

Earlier the international trade minister came under fire from rival camps after pulling ahead of Foreign Secretary Ms Truss in the first two ballots of the contest.

Ahead of the TV debate, Transport Minister Wendy Morton - a supporter of Ms Truss - denied anyone from the Foreign Secretary’s team was behind a “black ops” plan to sabotage Ms Mordaunt.

“People obviously are trying to stop me getting into the final because they don’t want to run against me,” Ms Mordaunt told Sky News.

“People are going to try and stop me, and it’s right. That is right. Anyone going for this job needs to be tested and scrutinised. You’ll see from my campaign that I’m not engaging in any of that.

Former Brexit minister, Lord Frost has claimed he had “grave reservations” over Ms Mordaunt becoming the next prime minister and, along with Ms Braverman, urged MPs to back Ms Truss’s campaign.

On Thursday, Rishi Sunak came out on top, with Ms Mordaunt and Ms Truss in second and third respectively and Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat rouding out the bottom two. Suella Braverman was dumped from the contest.

Recap: Where do leadership candidates stand after second ballot?

07:18 , Josh Salisbury

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the latest in UK politics and the Conservative leadership race.As a recap, here is where the candidates stand after the second round of voting on Thursday.

- Rishi Sunak - 101 votes

- Penny Mordaunt – 83

- Liz Truss – 64

- Kemi Badenoch – 49

- Tom Tugendhat – 32

Suella Braverman was eliminated after recieving the lowest number of nominations on the ballot and urged her supporters to swing behind Liz Truss. The next ballot is due Monday.

Lord Frost urges Badenoch to stand aside and back Truss

07:23 , Josh Salisbury

Former Brexit minister Lord Frost has urged Kemi Badenoch to pull out of the contest and back Liz Truss.

"Kemi and Suella Braverman set out convincing programmes, with differing emphases, for change," the 57-year-old wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

"But Liz's depth of experience, her energy and ideas - as well as the simple fact she has the most votes of the three - put her in the lead.

However, Ms Badenoch’s campaign has resisted pressure to stand down her leadership bid to prevent Rishi Sunak or Penny Mordaunt from winning the keys to No10.

Her spokesman said: “Kemi has brought interesting ideas and a new approach to this leadership contest. She is looking forward to the debates this weekend.

“She has no intention of stepping down and is in it to win."

Former Tory leader says question for candidates is ‘who can deliver Brexit benefits?’

07:30 , Josh Salisbury

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who is backing Liz Truss in the Tory leadership race, said Friday the main question for candidates was: “What did you do to deliver the benefits of Brexit to a country that chose to leave the European Union?"

He told LBC: “We can't just elect somebody because for a short period of time, they may look better than others.

“What we're actually electing is not, in a way, a popularity contest.

“We're electing somebody who has to govern for probably two years with a huge set of crises."

What time is tonight’s TV debate?

07:51 , Bill Mcloughlin

Channel 4 has confirmed all five candidates will take place in a debate at 7.30pm tonight.

Two further debates will be held on Sunday and then on Tuesday, following the next round of voting on Monday.

Penny Mordaunt has a ‘huge amount of respect’ for Lord Frost, says backer

08:07 , Bill Mcloughlin

John Lamont, Ms Mordaunt’s campaign co-ordinator in Scotland, said she has a “huge amount of respect” for Lord Frost, despite his criticism of her and his backing of her Tory leadership rival Liz Truss.

Asked if he was “surprised” by Lord Frost’s “savage” criticism of Ms Mordaunt’s leadership bid, Mr Lamont told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Look, I’m here to put forward the positive case for why I think Penny is the best candidate to be our next prime minister, I will leave it to others to explain Lord Frost’s words.

“I know that Penny has a huge amount of respect for Lord Frost. Lord Frost did a huge amount to assist our Brexit negotiations before he resigned from Government.

“Penny will continue to fight to get Brexit delivered, always has done and always will continue to do so.”

MP lashes out at Lord Frost’s leadership intervention

08:27 , Bill Mcloughlin

Simon Hoare, the chair of the Northern Ireland affairs select committee, has criticised Lord Frost after the former Brexit minister said Kemi Badenoch should pull out of the race in order to support Liz Truss.

Minister denies ‘black ops’ campaign against Penny Mordaunt

08:47 , Bill Mcloughlin

Transport minister Wendy Morton has denied that the team behind Liz Truss’s leadership bid is involved in a so-called “black ops” campaign against rival Penny Mordaunt.

Ms Mordaunt has so far outpolled the Foreign Secretary in the two ballots of Tory MPs.

Ms Morton, appearing on Times Radio, said she is “absolutely not” involved in any kind of untoward campaign.

“What I am involved in is a campaign to get Liz Truss elected as the next leader of the Conservative Party because I happen to think, I know, that she’s the right candidate. I worked with her at the Foreign Office and I saw first-hand how hard-working she is, how dedicated she is, and how she just gets on with the job and she delivers.”

She said the Truss camp is not concerned about the lead Ms Mordaunt has maintained against the Foreign Secretary.

“You know, we have still got rounds of voting to go, there are still candidates, there are colleagues out there who have not declared for a candidate, there are colleagues who have voted for candidates who have now dropped out of the race. So it’s all to play for.”

She said Ms Truss represents a “broad church” of the Conservative Party.

‘People want the campaign to be positive’, says MP

09:10 , Bill Mcloughlin

Tory MP Dame Maria Miller, pressed on whether Penny Mordaunt could fall victim to dirty tactics as she seeks to replace Boris Johnson, said her candidate wanted a positive campaign.

“Penny’s support among Members of Parliament has grown, and that is the same throughout the country,” Dame Maria told Sky News.

She said polling is showing that her “support base is growing”.

She added: “This leadership contest is run along a set of lines and I think people will want it to be a positive campaign.

“We’re colleagues, together, we’re not opposing each other in a fundamental political sense. It is just about getting a new leader.”

Boris Johnson wants ‘anyone but Rishi Sunak to win’ reports state

09:57 , Bill Mcloughlin

According to The Times, Boris Johnson is allegedly pleading with candidates to back anyone “but Rishi”.

One source told the newspaper: “The whole No 10 team hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vitriolic.

“They don’t blame Sajid Javid for bringing him down. They blame Rishi. They think he was planning this for months.”

‘Key weekend’ for Tom Tugendhat’s campaign

10:40 , Bill Mcloughlin

Tory MP Jake Berry said it will be a “key weekend” for Mr Tugendhat as live debates begin in the Conservative Party leadership contest.

He said it has been an “extraordinary performance” for Mr Tugendhat to get this far.

“He has had so much support from across the party, and wider, in terms of being able to get into this phase and to set out his case,” he told Sky News.

“It is all up in the air,” he said.

Mr Berry said it is up to the other candidates to prove they have fresh ideas for the party.

“I think the sense of a clean break is immensely important.”

Downing Street ordered to hand over documents for probe

11:07 , Bill Mcloughlin

Away from the leadership contest, Downing Street has been ordered to hand over a cache of documents to MPs investigating whether Boris Johnson lied to Parliament with his partygate denials.

The Commons Privileges Committee has written to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case demanding details relevant to its inquiry.

These include Mr Johnson’s diaries for eight days during the lockdown period when parties occurred, email invites, resignation emails and WhatsApp messages, and No 10 entry logs.

Penny Mordaunt: People will try to stop me winning

11:16 , Bill Mcloughlin

Leadership contender, Penny Mordaunt has insisted she is running a “positive campaign” following comments regarding her ability from former Brexit minister, Lord Frost.

She told Sky News: “People are going to try and stop me, and it’s right. That is right. Anyone going for this job needs to be tested and scrutinised.

“You’ll see from my campaign that I’m not engaging in any of that. I am running a positive campaign, and I’m talking in this campaign about the issues that the public are worried about.

“People are really worried already - and looking ahead to autumn - about the cost of living. I would talk about the merits of my approach, which is to not just win this contest, but to win a general election.

“And that’s why I’m not engaging in any of these black ops.”

Penny Mordaunt is a ‘proper’ Conservative prime minister, says David Davis

11:44 , Bill Mcloughlin

Former Brexit secretary, David Davis has reiterated his support for Penny Mordaunt today.

Penny Mordaunt the bookmakers’ favourite to become leader

12:33 , Bill Mcloughlin

Penny Mordaunt is the odds on favourite to win the leadership contest, according to William Hill.

Ms Mordaunt now stands at 8/13 on to become the next prime minister, followed by Liz Truss at 9/4, Rishi Sunak at 10/3, Kemi Badenoch, 28/1, and finally Tom Tugendhat, 100/1.

Penny Mordaunt quizzed on trans rights

12:48 , Bill Mcloughlin

During her interview, Ms Mordaunt was quizzed on trans rights by Sky News’ Beth Rigby.

We need to avoid mudslinging - Mordaunt

13:30 , Josh Salisbury

Penny Mordaunt has called for no “mudslinging” in the Tory leadership contest.

The five remaining candidates are taking part in online hustings, organised by the ConservativeHome website. Ms Mordaunt has faced sniping from rivals, after outpolling Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in the first two ballots of Tory MPs.

“I want a positive contest,” she told the audience.

“I don’t want mudslinging.”

“Without that teamwork, we can’t deliver.

“This is not about one party leader, it is about all the talents of the party being able to thrive and pull together in the same direction.”

Badenoch: Tory party must move on from ‘leave’ and ‘remain'

13:43 , Josh Salisbury

Kemi Badenoch has called for the Conservative party members to move on from calling themelves “leavers and remainers” for the sake of party unity.

Asked at a hustings what could be done for trust and rebuild party unity, Ms Badenoch said: “I think we need to stop calling ourselves leavers and remainers.

“That vote was six years ago. I think it’s time that we moved on and remembered that we are all one people, and that we’re all trying to deliver on the same objectives, certainly as Conservatives.”

Ms Badenoch was a Leave-backer in the 2016 referendum, and used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to describe Brexit as “the greatest ever vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom”.

Truss vows to axe corporation tax hike if PM and pause green energy levy

13:51 , Josh Salisbury

Liz Truss vowed to axe the scheduled corporation tax hike from 19% to 25% next year in her pitch for the Tory leadership.

The Foreign Secretary told a digital hustings event for the ConservativeHome website: “We immediately need to start putting money back into people’s pockets, we know families are struggling to make ends meet at the moment.

“I would reverse the national insurance rise, I opposed it in Cabinet at the time because I thought it was a mistake, I think it’s even more of a mistake now when we’re facing such strong economic headwinds.

“I would also have a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy to cut £153 from people’s energy bills.

“And I would also not do the corporation tax hikes because I think it’s vitally important that we’re attracting investment into our country.”

Targets don’t help build housing, says Mordaunt

14:09 , Bill Mcloughlin

Leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt has said that housing targets are not helpful when tackling the housing crisis.

Asked about housing shortages, she told a hustings: “The thing that doesn’t help get houses built is targets.

“I know this from my own local constituency that has had housing targets, and out of the last five years, not one house had been built, apart from one year.”

She added: “There’s lots of other reasons why we’re failing to get the volume of houses built that we need every year, but they’re different in different places”.

Ms Mordaunt said there were new towns that needed to built, and that greater competition in development was needed. She also vowed reform Government policies that are “stifling development”.

Former Education Secretary back Penny Mordaunt

14:43 , Bill Mcloughlin

Michelle Donelan, who had a two-day stint as Education Secretary, has announced that she will be supporting Penny Mordaunt to be the next prime minister.

Sunak’s campaign sign spells ‘campiaign’

14:54 , Bill Mcloughlin

During the ConservativeHome hustings, Rishi Sunak’s background included a QR code which read underneath “Scan me to join the campiaign”.

Suella Braverman calls for supporters to back Liz Truss

15:07 , Bill Mcloughlin

Suella Braverman, who was eliminated from the leadership contest on Thursday, has called on her supporters to back the Foreign Secretary.

Ms Braverman wrote: “Liz and Kemi are not both going to make it into the final two. So a decision needs to be made to back one of them. The one we should back, I’d argue, is the one who can get to the final round: Liz can, Kemi cannot.

“Liz is undeniably the better placed candidate to get to the voluntary party round, and fight there for the things that all three of us believe.

“And it’s exactly our common beliefs which must come before the ambitions of any one of us.

“Liz, additionally, is ready now to be PM. She won’t need to learn on the job. And the job is hard and needs to be done properly. The party has had a difficult six years and stability is urgently and swiftly needed.”

Liz Truss comments on death of UK national

15:49 , Bill Mcloughlin

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Russia "must bear the full responsibility" over the reported death of British aid worker Paul Urey.

In a statement, she said: "I am shocked to hear reports of the death of British aid worker Paul Urey while in the custody of a Russian proxy in Ukraine. Russia must bear the full responsibility for this.

"Paul Urey was captured while undertaking humanitarian work. He was in Ukraine to try and help the Ukrainian people in the face of the unprovoked Russian invasion.

"The Russian government and its proxies are continuing to commit atrocities. Those responsible will be held to accountable. My thoughts are with Mr Urey's family and friends at this horrendous time."

How to watch the Tory leadership TV debates and what channel are they on?

16:53 , Elly Blake

The first debate on Friday, July 15 will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 7.30pm.

The broadcaster has confirmed, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat will all be taking part in the 90-minute debate, hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

The second debate on Sunday, July 17 will be broadcast on ITV at 7pm.

The number of candidates that will take part in the debate is yet to be determined, and ITV has not yet set out the rules and timeframe for the contest.

The debate will be broadcast live on ITV and ITV Hub.

On Tuesday, July 19 a third and final debate will be aired on Sky News, at 8pm.

It will be hosted by Kay Burley and the candidates will face questions from a virtual studio audience.

This debate will be broadcast live and for free on Sky News channel 501, across Sky News’ digital channels, and will be streamed on YouTube.

Conservative leaders TV debate to start in 20 minutes

19:12 , Elly Blake

Channel 4 is hosting the first of three TV debates for the Conservative leader candidates.

Starting at 7.30pm, over 90 minutes host Krishnan Guru-Murthy will quiz all five candidates on why they shoud be the next Tory leader.

The broadcaster has confirmed, Kemi Badenoch, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Tom Tugendhat will all take part.

We will bring you live coverage here.

Debate has started

19:29 , Elly Blake

Channel 4’s leader debate hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy has started.

All five candidates are taking part. We will bring you live updates here.

Q: Why should the public trust any of you?

19:35 , Elly Blake

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has drawn on her experience delivering Brexit as her reason why she can be trusted as leader of the Conservative Party.

“We need someone with a proven record of delivery who can go in there and sort it out,” she said.

“I’m a loyal person, I stood by Boris Johnson”, she added.

She also said she raised issues with him in private and has always acted with honesty and integrity.

Tom Tugendhat: I’ve been holding a mirror to many of our actions

19:36 , Elly Blake

Tom Tugendhat has said that trust in politics has been “collapsing”.

He said he has been “calling out” friends as well as enemies in politics.

“I’ve been holding a mirror to many of our actions and asking those in our leadership positions, is that what the public really expects?”

“That’s the real question tonight,” he said.

Sunak: Giving PM benefit of the doubt became ‘increasingly hard'

19:39 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak has said he always tried to give the PM the “benefit of the doubt” but that became “increasingly hard”.

He said he decided to resign because “he wanted to be honest with you and everyone in the country about the challenges we face economically”.

“I’m willing to say difficult things,” he said.

Mr Sunak said that he did disagree privately with the PM about issues but he was also proud about some of the achievements under Boris Johnson including the vaccine rollout and the UK’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Kemi Badenoch: It is time to tell the truth

19:40 , Elly Blake

Kemi Badenoch said it was “a really good question, why should the public trust us. We haven’t exactly covered ourselves in glory”.

She said that “it is time to tell the truth”

Mordaunt: I take it as a compliment that no one wants to run against me

19:43 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said the challenges facing the country were “very grave indeed”.

She said trust was important because “it’s a bond between all of us” and the government does need to now “step up and lead” to help communities thrive.

She said she could be trusted because she has “spoken truth to power”. Mordaunt said she has called out things that needed to be changed in the party.

When asked about alleged smear campaigns against her, she responded: “We’re all responsible for our own campaigns and I take it as a big, fat compliment that no one wants to run against me”.

Q: Is Boris Johnson honest?

19:47 , Elly Blake

Krishnan Guru-Murthy has asked “Is Boris Johnson honest?” and asked all five candidaes to give a yes or no answer.

Here is what they said:

Kemi Badenoch: “Sometimes.”

Penny Mordaunt: “I'm not doing a yes or no, it would be wrong to do that.”

Rishi Sunak: “I've tried to give him the benefit of the doubt for as long as possible... there was a number of reasons I resigned and trust was one of them.”

Lizz Truss: “He himself has said some of the statements issued were not 100 per cent accurate so I take that as face value.”

Tom Tugendhat: *Shook his head*

Q: What will you do to make a clean break from Boris Johnson?

19:54 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said part of restoring trust was to deliver from the manifesto, on issues such as Brexit, Covid-19 recovery and making sure public services are delivering. "I think we do need to set out a new modern agenda," she said.

Kemi Badenoch said she would change the way the government was run, appointing people who are talented instead of loyal. "I will be truthful about the difficulties we face as a country," she added.

Tom Tugendhat said "we need a break from the government of the past, we need a break from those Johnson years, that's why I am here". He called for a new ministerial standards commissioner and said he wanted to make sure people could trust their politicians who are elected to serve the public and not themselves.

Rishi Sunak said the first was to "be honest", specifically being honest about the economic difficulties the country is facing. His second was to say less and do more, delivering on their promises. And lastly he said he wanted to build a team around him that represented the best of the Conservative Party.

Liz Truss said she would run a government that didn't over-promise but focused on delivery. "I will be open and honest and transparent," she said. It's only by walking the walk and not talking the talk that we restore trust, she continued.

Audience asked if any one trusted politicians

19:56 , Elly Blake

Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked the audience to vote on if they trusted politicans at the moment.

It was a very quiet audience, with no one raising their hands.

Q: Will tax cuts come at the expense of public services, asked Sharon Williams, a full-time carer for her mother

20:15 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said her economic strategy was based on growth and competition. She said the country needed to tackle the barriers to investment coming into the country and innovation to help deliver the "Brexit dividend". Ms Mordaunt added that she wanted to half VAT on fuel at the pump, to give people targeted support amid the cost of living crisis.

Kemi Badenoch said that every decision made incurs a cost somewhere else, even though they are made with the best of intentions. Paying tribute to long term carers, she said she wanted to focus on social care in an ageing population. Ms Badenoch said that tax cuts were there to let people keep more of their own money, to deal with inflation and cost of living issues, not to cut public services. "The decisions we make have trade-offs," she concluded.

Tom Tugendhat said it was a "very fair question" and everyone is feeling the squeeze at the moment. Public services are essential to all of us, he said. Mr Tugendhat said he wanted to re-think how we deliver public services, pushing them out from the centre to the regions. "We need to be reaching beyond the centre and into your homes," he said. Mr Tugendhat said he would hold the NHS to account and return to the service ethos of the government. “I’m the only one who didn’t vote for the rise in National Insurance and now it sounds like everyone agrees with me,” he added.

Rishi Sunak said Sharon's question was "excellent" because public services are incredibly important. "After the pandemic, I had to make an incredibly difficult decision," he said. "The NHS is under enormous pressure... even though it was politically inconvenient for me, I wanted to make sure the NHS, our number one priority, was properly funded." He said the NHS would continue to be his number one priority if he was elected as leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. "Borrowing your way out of inflation isn't a plan, it's a fairytale," he said in response to Liz Truss' economic strategy.

Liz Truss said understood how much people are struggling at the moment. She said she thought it was wrong to put up National Insurance and the green energy levy at the moment and would “immediately reverse” both those policies if she was elected leader of the Conservative Party. “You cannot tax your way to growth,” she said, and stated her opposition to the rise of corporation tax.

Penny Mordaunt asked about gender self-identification

20:23 , Elly Blake

When asked to define her position on gender identity against claims that she previously supported gender self-identification, Penny Mordaunt said she has “never been in favour of self-ID”.

She told the Channel 4 leadership debate: “I can’t imagine why people are not comprehending what I say and have been regurgitating this issue for weeks and weeks, but I’m happy to state my position and evidence to back it up.

“I took through a consultation looking at the Gender Recognition Act, I’ve never been in favour of self-ID.

“I would have made the system much better but I would not have divorced it from healthcare.

“I’m a woman, I’m a biological woman, if I had a mastectomy I would still be a woman – I’m a biological woman in every cell in my body.

“I’m also legally a woman and some people who are born male go through a process and are issued at the end of that process with a legal document in their new gender, but that does not mean they are identical to me.”

Q: People are struggling to pay energy bills, what will you do when prices rise in the winter?

20:32 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said cost-saving by energy providers was not being passed on to the consumer, which she wanted to focus on. “We have to be careful that this contest is not the place to set a budget or have a fiscal event,” she said. “There is more that needs to be done on cost of living this autumn.”

Kemi Badenoch said she was worried by the energy crisis, adding that she knows what it's like to not be able to turn on the lights. She said she wanted to remove some green levies. "We must tackle it asap," she said.

Tom Tugendhat said he wanted to look at bringing down bills as quickly as possible. The problem of energy as a weapon against us is not new, he said, and stated that he had been raising the issue of Vladimir Putin's aggression for years. Mr Tugendhat wanted to look at home insulation and deliver nuclear.

Rishi Sunak said energy was the bill causing the most anxiety for people across the country. Drawing on his previous role as Chancellor, Mr Sunak said during he tenure he pledged support for people to help pay their bills, including up to £1,200 for the most vulnerable. He also wanted to improve the supply of domestic energy, whether that's renewables or nuclear, and focus on home insultation to bring down bills by hundreds of pounds, he said.

Liz Truss said the government needed to remove the green energy levy because "we're hammering consumers but we're also hammering businesses". Ms Truss said she wanted to reduce the impact on consumers. "I can assure you as PM I will do everything in my power to make life easier and better for people," she pledged. She wanted to see more investment in gas energy like renewables and nuclear capabilities.

Q: How will you deal with the NHS backlog when funding has not reached the frontline?

20:45 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said prevention was a really important part of balancing the NHS to ensure it could go forward. She also said she wanted to put caveats on healthcare professionals for what they could use funding for.

Kemi Badenoch said the "backlog is terrifying" and said she was struggling to get a dentist appointment for chipping her tooth months ago. The backlog won't be dealt with unless we find more efficient ways of running our NHS, she said.

Tom Tugendhat said "the NHS is personal to all of us" and thanked the NHS for bringing many of his friends in the military "back to life", as well as delivering his two children. Mr Tugendhat paid tribute to colleagues for making "life tolerable" over the last few years.

Rishi Sunak thanked doctors for what their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic. "What you do is personal to me, I grew up in a medical family in primary care", he said. Mr Sunak said he believed in the NHS and knew the challenges it is currently facing. "I took a difficult decision for me to create a new way to fund the NHS and social care," he said, referring to the rise in National Insurance. "If you ask do I care about the NHS, do I care

Liz Truss said the "we need to work as hard as we can to reduce that backlog." She said she supported the extra money to the NHS but not the way it was funded. Ms Truss said she wanted to see more support for patients in rural areas.

Q: How would you create a green economy?

20:51 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt said levies hammering consumers and businesses were "causing problems" and needed to be looked at.

Kemi Badenoch said she wanted to pursue green policies that did not damage the economy.

Tom Tugendhat said he wanted other countries to be held to the same standards as the UK or else they should be “taxed appropriately”.

Rishi Sunak said he cares about the climate and environment he is leaving his children.

Liz Truss said she was committed to net zero by 2050 but felt it could be delivered "in a better way".

Final Q: Why are you the best person to be the next Prime Minister?

20:58 , Elly Blake

Penny Mordaunt: “I’m not the traditional offer, I’m not the legacy candidate. I’m focused on the future, and I want our nation to be all it can be and to shine with the new-found freedoms our great democracy has determined it would.”

Kemi Badenoch: “It's time to tell the truth".

Tom Tugendhat: “I have a track record of leadership: I have led on operations and I have led in Parliament and now I would like to lead the United Kingdom.”

Rishi Sunak: “The question is simple. Do we confront the challenges facing our country honestly and responsibly, or not? For me, there is only one answer.”

Liz Truss: “I'm somebody who can go into Downing Street on day one and get the job done”.

Debate has ended

20:59 , Elly Blake

The Conservative leadership TV debate on Channel 4 has now finished.

There will be two further televised debates on ITV and Sky News for the candidates to put their case forawrd for why they deserve to be voted the next Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.

Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat performed best in debate, according to bookmakers

21:09 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat have performed best in the first Conservative leadership debate, according to the latest Betfair Exchange odds.

The bookmakers said the former Chancellor had regained second place, coming in to 11/4 (from 7/2).

Meanwhile, outside Tugendhat’s odds have more than halved to 48/1 (from 119/1 on Friday morning).

Penny Mordaunt still remained the favourite with 6/5.

Betfair Exchange current odds for next Conservative leader

Penny Mordaunt: 6/5

Rishi Sunak: 11/4

Liz Truss: 7/2

Kemi Badenoch: 30/1

Tom Tugendhat: 48/1

Tom Tugendhat gave best performance during debate, snap poll suggests

21:25 , Elly Blake

Tom Tugendhat performed best during the Conservative leaders debate, a snap poll by Opium has suggested.

The poll of 1,000 people found that Rishi Sunak came in second, with 25 per cent, and Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch came joint fourth, with 12 per cent of the vote share each.

Only six per cent of people thought Liz Truss was the best performing candidate.

That’s all for tonight

21:48 , Elly Blake

Thank you for tuning in to our Conservative leadership race live coverage this evening.

That’s all for now. Have a good night!

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