Conservative leadership race: Liz Truss claims ‘we’re headed for recession’ under Rishi Sunak in fiery TV debate

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·32-min read
Conservative leadership race: Liz Truss claims ‘we’re headed for recession’ under Rishi Sunak in fiery TV debate
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The remaining two Conservative party leadership candidates have faced off in their first one-one-one televised clash.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak became embroiled in bitter clashes over the weekend, with signs the competition is becoming more personal after Liz Truss supporter Nadine Dorries mocked Rishi Sunak over his taste in expensive clothing.

But on Monday night while being quizzed by BBC’s Sophie Raworth on a raft of policy issues including tax cuts, inflation, China and climate change, Ms Truss said the fashion comments were “not the key issue” of the campaign.

The TV debate took place at Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire in front of an audience of MPs, ministers and Tory party voters.

The pair became most heated when discussing their differing approaches to rising inflation and the cost of living crisis.

Liz Truss claimed Britain was “headed for recession” under Mr Sunak’s plans, and raising taxes would make the country “internationally uncompetitive”.

While Rishi Sunak said Ms Truss’ plans would raise mortgage rates by seven per cent, inflation would stay for longer and interest rates would go up.

Both, vying to be Boris Johnson’s successor, will take part in Sky News TV debate on August 4 before touring the country in a bid to win over party members.

The new Tory leader and prime minister will be announced on September 5.

Goodnight

22:55 , Miriam Burrell

That’s all for our live coverage tonight. We will be back in the morning.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clash on tax cuts

22:49 , Miriam Burrell

The biggest clash during tonight’s TV debate between the two final Tory leadership hopefuls was about when taxes should be cut.

Watch Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss debate during the BBC’s leadership contest coverage:

Truss would not deploy British troops to Ukraine

22:28 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss has said she would not deploy British troops to help defend Ukraine, while Rishi Sunak declined to answer the question directly during the BBC’s TV debate on Monday night.

Ms Truss said: “I am not prepared for the United Kingdom to become directly involved in the conflict.

“We have done as much as we can: we were the first European country to send weapons to Ukraine...but Ukraine is not a Nato country, and I think it would be wrong to directly deploy our troops and our resources.”

When asked whether he would deploy the British Navy to Ukraine, Mr Sunak said: “We have put together one of the strongest set of economic sanctions that the world has ever seen and that has really hampered Putin’s war effort.

“We also made sure that we supported Ukraine financially with the arms and weapons they needed to defend themselves, and actually that’s something that Liz and I worked together on.”

Watch: Rishi Sunak hits out at Liz Truss’ tax plan

22:18 , Miriam Burrell

The debate got heated between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss over their tax policies.

Liz Truss: ‘I don’t just talk, I act'

22:13 , Miriam Burrell

3 steps to tackle climate change

22:11 , Miriam Burrell

On the three things people should change in their lives to help tackle climate change faster, Rishi Sunak told the BBC debate they would be reducing energy usage, recycling and innovation.

Liz Truss said it’s about saving resources, wasting less and innovation. She said as prime minister she would lift the green energy levy and cut money from people’s fuel bills whilst looking for better ways to deliver on that net zero.

Levelling up

22:06 , Miriam Burrell

On Levelling Up, Liz Truss said she would change the Treasury investment rules so “they’re fair across the country”. She claimed they currently favour London.

“It’s about making sure that we unleash private sector investment through low tax zones… but it’s also about the schools, it’s about getting the best schools everywhere in the country and allowing those to thrive as well.”

Rishi Sunak said: “’ve see the amazing change that I’ve helped to deliver in [Teesside], delivering a freeport, attracted jobs and investment and jobs post-Brexit to an area with new industries, like carbon capture and storage, and vaccine manufacturing.

“That’s what levelling up should mean, it should mean that no matter where you grow up, you have fantastic opportunities to fulfil your potential, but you also have enormous pride in the place that you call home.”

Restoring trust in the government

22:02 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak promised honesty and delivering policies as ways to restore trust in the government.

Liz Truss said she always keeps her promises and is “straight talking”.

When asked if there was a quality each needs to improve on, Liz Truss said Rishi Sunak needs to work on “taking more risks and being bolder”.

Rishi Sunak said he was not going to anwser the question, saying there was “far more that unites us” and he said “of course” he would work with Liz Truss in government.

 (PA)
(PA)

‘Not key issue’: Liz Truss on Nadine Dorries' fashion comments

21:51 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss has said comments made by her supporter Nadine Dorries comparing her £4.50 earrings with Rishi Sunak’s expensive shoes are “not the key issue of the campaign”.

The Foreign Secretary said she didn’t know how Ms Dorries knew how much her earrings cost.

Ms Truss said she doesn’t have “any issue” with the way Rishi Sunak dresses.

Read more about Ms Dorries comments here.

TV debate: China

21:45 , Miriam Burrell

When asked about what Britain’s relationship should be with China, Rishi Sunak said the country should stand up for its values but “engage with countries when it’s in our interest to do so”.

Liz Truss said the UK “absolutely should be cracking down” on companies like TikTok, and “I’m very clear…we have to take a tougher stance”.

Mr Sunak then said he helped passed legislation to block investment in the economy from countries that are not consistent with British values.

TV debate heats up over approach to inflation

21:28 , Miriam Burrell

In tonight’s BBC TV debate, Liz Truss said: “Under my plan we would start paying debt down in three years.”

The Tory leadership candidate claimed that raising taxes now would make the UK “internationall uncompetitive” and “crashing the economy in order to pay debt back quicker”, is a “mistake”.

But Rishi Sunak hit back, saying her plan would mean inflation “stays for longer” and interest rates would go up.

“Does anyone think the best thing to do is go on massive borrowing spree?” he said.

 (PA)
(PA)

Sunak, Truss clash over taxes

21:19 , Miriam Burrell

While Rishi Sunak defended raising taxes, Liz Truss said his plan would “lead to a recession”.

She said: “Everybody thinks that putting up taxes at this moment is going to hurt the economy.

“There is no evidence at all that not raising taxes is inflationary.”

Meanwhile Rishi Sunak claimed Truss’ plan would lead to mortgage rates going up 7 per cent.

“That’s thousands of pounds on mortgage bills.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Debate opens on cost of living crisis

21:10 , Miriam Burrell

In their first question in the BBC TV debate, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were asked what they would do about the cost of living crisis.

Both cadidates paid tribute to the late David Trimble before answering.

Rishi Sunak said the first is to help with energy efficiency with better insulation, and when pushed on short-terms olutions he said “of course” he would do more to help people immediately with the electricity bills.

Liz Truss said she would “act immediately” and “reverse the increase in national insurance”.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak arrive for TV debate

20:35 , Miriam Burrell

Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have arrived at Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent ahead of tonight’s televised debate.

The pair are minutes away from their first one-on-one debate at 9pm on BBC One.

 (PA)
(PA)
 (PA)
(PA)

Former Northern Ireland first minister David Trimble dies

20:07 , Miriam Burrell

Former Northern Ireland first minister David Trimble has died, the Ulster Unionist Party has announced.

The UUP said: “It is with great sadness that the family of Lord Trimble announce that he passed away peacefully earlier today following a short illness.”

One of the principal architects of the Belfast Agreement ending decades of conflict in Northern Ireland died at the age of 77.

He was a 1998 Nobel Peace Prize winner for his contribution to the Northern Ireland Peace Process.

Read more here.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Rishi Sunak’s property portfolio revealed

19:58 , Miriam Burrell

Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak and his wife own a string of luxury properties worth an estimated £15 million.

The couple own a Pacific Ocean facing penthouse apartment in celebrity enclave Santa Monica, a rambling Georgian manor house in North Yorkshire and in London they own two properties.

Find out Rishi Sunak’s property portfolio here.

Rishi with daughters Krishna, Anushka and wife Akshata Murthy (PA)
Rishi with daughters Krishna, Anushka and wife Akshata Murthy (PA)

Rishi on TSSA strikes: ‘I will stop the unions holding people to ransom'

19:19 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has said he will stop the unions “holding working people to ransom” if he becomes prime minister.

Commenting on new strike action announced today, the Tory leadership hopeful and former chancellor said: “These irresponsible strikes will cause hardship for millions of ordinary workers across the country.

“As prime minister, I will stop the unions holding working people to ransom. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that unions cannot dictate how the British people go about their daily life.”

Read more about the TSSA strikes here.

 (PA)
(PA)

Why is tonight’s debate at Stoke-on-Trent?

19:10 , Miriam Burrell

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are debating at Stoke-on-Trent’s Victorial Hall at 9pm tonight in front of a live audience. It will be broadcast on BBC One.

The broadcaster said the clash is taking place at the city in Staffordshire because it was one of the constituencies won by the Conservatives for the first time in 2019.

Retaining voters’ support in places such as Stoke-on-Trent will be a key test for Boris Johnson’s successor.

 (PA)
(PA)

Partygate: Boris Johnson not sent questionnaires by the Met

17:46 , Miriam Burrell

The Metropolitan Police has admitted it did not send Boris Johnson questionnaires about two lockdown-busting gatherings at Downing Street for which other attendees were fined, a campaign group has said.

The Prime Minister did not face questions from the force over his involvement in the events, despite Sue Gray finding he attended both, according to the Good Law Project.

Mr Johnson received a fixed-penalty notice (FPN) over a birthday party in the Cabinet Room in June 2020, but faced no further action over other gatherings covered by the Met’s Operation Hillman inquiry into events in No 10 and Whitehall.

The group vowed to proceed with a judicial review.

‘People are going to die'

17:41 , Miriam Burrell

The founder of a mothers support group in Stoke-on-Trent, where tonight’s TV leadership debate is taking place, said “people are going to die” if the next prime minister does not tackle the cost of living crisis.

Laura from Stoke-on-Trent Mothers Support Network told the BBC she has met parents who said they hadn’t eaten in four days because of soaring bill costs.

She said: “This is going to get worse as we get colder…the next prime minister needs to tackle this now beore we get to this crisis.”

Local MPs, ministers and Tory voters from the city are expected to be among the audience of tonight’s debate.

Rishi Sunak crosses fingers in Staffordshire

16:07 , Miriam Burrell

Rishi Sunak has been attempting to drum up support from party members in Codsall, Staffordshire today.

Yesterday he was seen pulling pints in Cheshire.

The two leadership candidates will travel around the UK to try to persuade party members to vote for them at a series of 12 hustings.

What to expect from tonight’s TV clash

15:50 , Miriam Burrell

Tory leadership hopefuls Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are going head-to-head on BBC One tonight at 9pm.

The pair are expected to be quizzed about their policies on tax, the economy, migration and refugees to a live audience of Conservative supporters at a venue in Stoke-on-Trent Central.

It’s the first time the two candidates have faced each other one-on-one in the lead up to the voting deadline on September 2.

The debate can also be followed on BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 5.

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Tom Tugendhat ‘would serve any Tory leader’

13:53 , Sami Quadri

Conservative former leadership candidate Tom Tugendhat said he would serve any Tory leader who asked.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme about the tone of the current leadership debate, Mr Tugendhat said: “Conservative ideas need a champion and we need to be uniting behind them.

“And so I hope very much what we’ll do is we’ll see this debate focus on ideas rather than on personalities.”

Mr Tugendhat said he would be happy to serve in either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet, adding: “I would serve any Conservative leader who asked me to because it’s about serving the country and serving the British people, and it would be a privilege to do so.”

Sunak takes a dig at Liz Truss over Andrew Neil interview

13:29 , Sami Quadri

13:04 , Sami Quadri

Boris Johnson has “given his farewell address to Parliament”, his official spokesman said in response to reports the Prime Minister could stay on in the role.

Tories loyal to the Prime Minister claim around 10,000 party members have signed a petition calling for his name to be added to the ballot, giving Mr Johnson the chance to remain in No 10.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “You heard the Prime Minister say his farewell address to Parliament, he gave advice for his successor.

“Beyond that, obviously I can’t comment on what the Prime Minister may choose to do once he ceases to be Prime Minister, that wouldn’t be one for me.”

No 10: Boris Johnson had ‘strong wish’ for Ukraine to host Eurovision

13:01 , Elly Blake

Downing Street said it had been Boris Johnson’s “strong wish” for Ukraine to host the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s deeply regrettable that a Ukraine-hosted Eurovision will not be possible.

“But we are confident the BBC and UK will pull out all the stops to make sure it is an event that celebrates and honours the country, the people and the creativity of Ukraine.”

Asked if Britons should fly Ukraine flags to mark the event, the spokesman said: “Absolutely. As we saw, a number of countries and the people of the UK (were) supporting both our UK entry and the Ukrainian entry.

“I’m sure the Prime Minister would encourage the public to get behind this opportunity to really demonstrate how the UK is supporting the people of Ukraine.”

No 10: Scenes at Dover not result of leaving the EU

12:33 , Elly Blake

Downing Street insisted the chaos seen at the Channel crossings was not the result of Brexit.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We understand there are changes, post-Brexit. We recognise that, we have planned for that.”

The weekend’s problems were down to a combination of factors “including a shortage of French border control staff”.

“So these are not scenes that we think are necessitated by leaving the European Union,” the spokesman said.

“We think we have operational procedures and processes in place that do not need to see these levels of queues.”

Rishi Sunak to be interviewed by veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil

12:27 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak has agreed to be interviewed by veteran political journalist Andrew Neil on Friday.

But his rival for Tory leader Liz Truss has so far declined to take part, Channel 4 said.

The former chancellor will be grilled live on the network where Neil hosts a weekly politics programme having left the BBC.

Boris Johnson refused to be interviewed by Neil during the 2019 general election campaign.

Neil did interview Mr Johnson and Jeremy Hunt earlier in 2019 as they went head-to-head in the last Tory leadership contest.

Louisa Compton, head of news and current affairs and specialist factual and sport at Channel 4, said: “After the success of our first audience debate we’re delighted that Rishi Sunak has confirmed he will be interviewed by Andrew Neil on Channel 4.

“We hope that Liz Truss also now agrees – and allows the British public to better understand what she stands for.”

Nadine Dorries confirms UK to host Eurovision in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine

12:15 , Elly Blake

The UK will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC have said.

After it was announced, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The Eurovision Song Contest unites people through the power of music and creativity.

“Following a request from the European Broadcasting Union and the Ukrainian authorities, I’m delighted that the BBC has agreed to step in and host next year’s contest.

“I’m just sorry that due to Russia’s continued acts of bloodshed it has not been possible to host the event in Ukraine, where it should be.

“As hosts, the UK will honour the competition’s spirit and diversity, and most importantly, ensure it reflects Ukraine’s recent Eurovision victory and Ukrainian creativity.”

Nadine Dorries confirms UK to host Eurovision in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine

12:15 , Elly Blake

The UK will host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023 on behalf of Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union and the BBC have said.

After it was announced, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “The Eurovision Song Contest unites people through the power of music and creativity.

“Following a request from the European Broadcasting Union and the Ukrainian authorities, I’m delighted that the BBC has agreed to step in and host next year’s contest.

“I’m just sorry that due to Russia’s continued acts of bloodshed it has not been possible to host the event in Ukraine, where it should be.

“As hosts, the UK will honour the competition’s spirit and diversity, and most importantly, ensure it reflects Ukraine’s recent Eurovision victory and Ukrainian creativity.”

Sir Keir Starmer says Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss ‘part of the problem'

11:36 , Elly Blake

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said Tory leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are “part of the problem” and their answers “too small”.

Answering questions after his speech, Sir Keir said: “What we’re seeing from the leadership contest is two individuals who are part of the problem.

“We’ve had 12 years now of stagnation, they have voted for every one of those 15 tax rises and now they’re trying to distance themselves as quickly as possible from it.

“Their answers, if you like, are too small for our country, for the challenge that we face.”

 (PA)
(PA)

Starmer: Clear contrast between Labour Party and Thatcherite cosplay

11:28 , Elly Blake

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there is a clear contrast between his plan and the “Thatcherite cosplay on display tonight” in the BBC’s Tory leadership debate.

He said: “People want a fresh start for Britain. They want the opportunity to get on. And above all they want to be free from the insecurity of the cost-of-living crisis.

“The approach to growth I have set out today will challenge my party’s instinct. It pushes us to care as much about growth and productivity as we have done in the past about redistribution and investment.”

He added: “You will see a clear contrast between my Labour Party and the Thatcherite cosplay on display tonight. The difference between a Labour Party ready to take Britain forward, and a Tory Party that wants to take us back to the past.

“Between Labour growth and Tory stagnation – that will be the choice at the next election and we are ready, ready to renew the contract with working people. Ready to reboot our economy and end the cost of living crisis.

“Ready to unlock the contribution of every business, every person and every community and deliver the strong secure and fair growth our country needs.”

Climate action and growth go hand-in-hand, says Starmer

11:09 , Elly Blake

Sir Keir Starmer has highlighted Labour’s focus on tackling climate change as part of its plan to boost growth.

In a speech in Liverpool, the party leader said he completely rejects “siren calls from the right or the left that say economic growth or net zero do not go together”.

He said: “A plan for net zero needs growth; a plan for growth needs net zero.

“Fail to tackle climate change and you can forget about growth.

“Some nation is going to lead the world in electric vehicles, in floating offshore wind, in new hydrogen and technological development. Why not Britain?

“The growth I want for Britain is strong, secure and fair.”

Sir Keir Starmer gives speech in Liverpool (PA)
Sir Keir Starmer gives speech in Liverpool (PA)

Growing economy Labour’s ‘central mission’, says Sir Keir Starmer

11:02 , Elly Blake

Sir Keir Starmer said growing the economy is Labour’s “central mission” to “unite the country”.

In a speech in Liverpool, the Labour leader said: “I’ve told the shadow cabinet every policy they bring forward will be judged by the contribution it makes to growth and productivity.

“Because everything I want from Britain comes back to this central mission.

“Without growth, we won’t get a high-wage economy. Without growth we can’t revitalise public services. Without growth we can’t repair the broken contract, re-energise communities or unite the country”.

He said low-growth economies “can’t rise to meet the challenges of the future”.

Sir Keir Starmer (Getty Images)
Sir Keir Starmer (Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer: Sunak and Truss don’t understand modern economy

10:51 , Elly Blake

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Tory leadership hopefuls did not understand the nature of the modern economy.

In a speech in Liverpool he said: “Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss rage against the dying of the Thatcherite life.

“They don’t understand: economic strength in the 21st century needs partnership.

“They don’t believe you need state and market, business and worker, the everyday economy and the technological frontier all contributing together if you want strong, secure and fair growth.”

Starmer: Neither Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss have the answers to economic challenges

10:50 , Elly Blake

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer attacked the economic plans set out by Tory leadership hopefuls Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

In a speech in Liverpool he said: “In one corner you have Rishi Sunak, the architect of the cost-of-living crisis.

“In the other you have Liz Truss, the latest graduate from the school of magic money tree economics.

“Neither of them has the answers to the economic challenges that we face.”

He said the average British family is £8,800 poorer than equivalents in other advanced economies.

“That’s not just a failure of policy, it’s a failure of philosophy,” he said.

“Their leadership contest is not going to change that.”

Sir Keir Starmer (PA)
Sir Keir Starmer (PA)

Sir Keir Starmer says ‘Labour will fight the next election on economic growth'

10:49 , Elly Blake

Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer promised he would lead a government focused on economic growth as he took aim at the two rivals competing for the Tory leadership.

In a speech in Liverpool he said: “Our economy is weaker than our competitors, less resilient, brittle and ultimately we are all poorer for it.

“That’s why I’m clear: Labour will fight the next election on economic growth.

“There is no task more central to my ambitions for Britain than making the country and its people better off.”

Rishi Sunak lays out foreign policy

10:46 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak has laid out the approach he would take with China if he were to become the next Conservative leader and prime minister.

The former Chancellor said the the Chinese communist party represents “the largest threat to Britain and the world’s security and prosperity this century”.

To combat this Mr Sunak wants to ban all 30 of China’s Confucius Institutes in the UK, saying that they promote “Chinese soft power”.

Mr Sunak said he would also build a new international alliance of free nations to tackle Chinese cyber-threats and share best practice in technology security.

He also wants to expand MI5’s reach to “provide greater support to British businesses and universities to counter Chinese industrial espionage”, as well as protecting British assets as such intellectual property.

Pictured: Liz Truss has spring in her step ahead of TV debate

10:14 , Elly Blake

Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss was pictured leaving her home ahead of a TV debate in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday evening.

The foreign secretary, who hopes to become the next prime minister, appeared to have a spring in her step ahead of the BBC TV debate against her rival Rishi Sunak.

Appearing in high spirits as she left her home, Ms Truss sported a casual look in a red wrap dress and white plimsolls.

Liz Truss (Getty Images)
Liz Truss (Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Truss and Sunak set for TV showdown in race for No 10

10:02 , Elly Blake

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will go head-to-head in a TV debate after the battle to become the next prime minister became bitter with the two rival camps clashing over immigration, China and the economy.

The BBC debate at 9pm comes after a weekend that saw allies of the two Tory leadership hopefuls trade increasingly personal attacks.

Both candidates will spend Monday engaging in final preparations ahead of the first showdown between the two.

Sophie Raworth will host the debate in Stoke, with the BBC’s political editor Chris Mason and economics editor Faisal Islam offering analysis and some follow-up questions.

The studio audience will be made up entirely of people who voted Conservative at the last general election.

Timeline for Conservative Party leadership contest (Press Association Images)
Timeline for Conservative Party leadership contest (Press Association Images)

Minister slams ‘puerile nature’ of leadership contest

09:42 , Elly Blake

Johnny Mercer has slammed the “puerile nature” of the Tory leadership contest.

The UK’s first minister for veteran affairs said the nature of the contest was “embarrassing” and that it is “time to raise the standards”.

The two Tory leadership hopefuls became embroiled in bitter clashes over the weekend, with signs the competition is becoming more personal after Liz Truss supporter Nadine Dorries mocked Rishi Sunak over his taste in clothing.

Mr Mercer tweeted on Monday: “Back in Whitehall today - perhaps only a few weeks to make a difference.

“Probably worth remembering that on current trajectory we are out of power in two years time.

“The puerile nature of this leadership contest is embarrassing. Time to raise the standards.”

Jeremy Hunt: Rishi Sunak is ‘prepared to be honest with the country'

09:20 , Elly Blake

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said Rishi Sunak is “prepared to be honest with the country” about the state of the nation’s finances.

Mr Hunt, who failed in his own leadership bid, is backing the former chancellor in the Tory leadership contest.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “I’m supporting Rishi Sunak because I think he’s prepared to be honest with the country about the challenges that we face, the fact we can’t afford unfunded tax cuts.

“I think we need that honesty when it comes to the future of the NHS as well.”

It comes as a damning report by MPs found the large number of NHS job listings is posing a “serious risk” to patient safety.

The NHS has 12,000 unfilled positions for hospital doctors and more than 50,000 for nurses and midwives.

Read the full story here.

Jeremy Hunt (PA Archive)
Jeremy Hunt (PA Archive)

Nadine Dorries mocks Rishi Sunak over expensive attire

09:17 , Elly Blake

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has mocked Rishi Sunak over his expensive taste in clothing.

Ms Dorries, a supporter of Mr Sunak’s leadership rival Liz Truss, pointed to reports that the millionaire former chancellor has been pictured wearing a £3,500 suit and £490 Prada shoes.

She said the foreign secretary Ms Truss is more likely to be seen in a pair of £4.50 earrings from high street chain Claire’s.

It is the latest sign of the bitter, highly personal nature of the Tory leadership battle.

Read the full article here.

Could Boris Johnson return to the Cabinet?

08:51 , Elly Blake

Education Secretary James Cleverly said he does not rule out supporting Boris Johnson returning to the Cabinet, but that it is not a decision for him to take.

Asked on Sky News if Mr Johnson should get a senior role in Government, Mr Cleverly said: “He’s an incredibly talented politician.

“Whether he would want to serve after the bruising that he’s got at moment that might be another matter, but it’s not for me to start dictating to Liz (Truss) who she puts into her Cabinet.”

He added: “I would be comfortable if she is.”

James Cleverly says he would ‘love to remain as Education Secretary’ under Liz Truss

08:00 , Elly Blake

Education Secretary James Cleverly said he would like to remain in the post in a Liz Truss government.

Asked if he would like to continue if Ms Truss wins the leadership election, Mr Cleverly told Times Radio: “The education department is an incredibly important department… I would love to remain as Education Secretary.

“Hopefully if I can do a good and strong job over the summer Liz will look kindly upon that as an idea for future.

“But ultimately, for me, there is plenty of work to be getting on this summer. That’s what I will be focusing on.”

James Cleverly says Liz Truss ‘has taken a firm line’ on China

07:49 , Elly Blake

Education Secretary James Cleverly said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been talking about addressing the influence of China for “quite some time”, and suggested the issue is new for Rishi Sunak’s campaign.

Mr Cleverly, who is backing Ms Truss in the Tory leadership election, was asked on Times Radio if Confucius Institutes should be banned.

He said Ms Truss “has taken a firm line on China’s influence globally”.

He said: “She’s been talking about these for a long time. So I’m very glad that Rishi’s now talking about the issues that Liz has been talking about for quite some time, and of course we do need to look at China’s influence, not just on the world stage but here in the UK.”

Asked again about potentially removing the institutes in the UK, he said: “I’m in a position as Education Secretary where it would be unwise for me to make significant policy announcements in response to the positions that have been put out through a leadership campaign.

“We do of course, and I would say we have already been looking at the influence that China has in our education system. This is not new, it might be new to the people on Rishi’s campaign team, but it’s not new to anyone that’s worked in the education or the Foreign Office.”

Funded by the Chinese Government, Confucius Institutes are ostensibly culture and language centres but critics have labelled them propaganda tools.

Liz Truss promises ‘full-fat freeports’ with vow to cut red-tape for business

07:38 , Elly Blake

Liz Truss has pledged to boost UK growth rates with “full-fat freeports”, in the latest policy proposal to emerge in the Tory leadership campaign.

The Foreign Secretary has promised to cut red-tape and boost investment as part of her bid to defeat rival Rishi Sunak.

The plan from Ms Truss, seen as the candidate of the Tory right-wing, comes with fresh promises of reducing regulation and cutting Whitehall bureaucracy.

She said the plans would see brownfield sites and other locations turned into “investment zones”, dubbed “full-fat freeports”.

“As Prime Minister, I will be laser-focused on turbocharging business investment and delivering the economic growth our country desperately needs.

“We can’t carry on allowing Whitehall to pick the winners and losers; like we’ve seen with the current freeport model,” Ms Truss said.

Freeports became one of the flagship, post-Brexit policies for the Johnson Government, with several free port locations announced by then-Chancellor Mr Sunak last year.

The latest flagship policy from her campaign may also be seen as a bid to steal a march on Mr Sunak, who has been an advocate of free ports since his days as a backbench MP and has used the contest to style himself as the “common-sense Thatcherite” candidate.

What is Rishi Sunak’s stance on China?

07:24 , Elly Blake

Rishi Sunak promised to ban all 30 of China’s controversial Confucius Institutes from the UK, labelling the country the “biggest-long term threat to Britain”.

The announcement would signal a major hardening of government policy on China if Mr Sunak becomes the next prime minister.

In recent months Mr Sunak’s Tory leadership rival Liz Truss has also taken an increasingly hardline approach on China in her role as Foreign Secretary.

Funded by the Chinese Government, Confucius Institutes are ostensibly culture and language centres but critics have labelled them a threat to national security.

Mr Sunak accused China of “stealing our technology and infiltrating our universities”.

He said: “Abroad, they are propping up Putin’s fascist invasion of Ukraine by buying his oil and attempting to bully their neighbours, including Taiwan.

“They are saddling developing countries with insurmountable debt and using this to seize their assets or hold a diplomatic gun to their heads.

“They torture, detain and indoctrinate their own people, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in contravention of their human rights. And they have continually rigged the global economy in their favour by suppressing their currency.”

The Truss campaign was quick to question Mr Sunak’s new pledges, with Sir Iain Duncan Smith calling the announcement “surprising”.

A spokesperson for Ms Truss said: “Liz has strengthened Britain’s position on China since becoming Foreign Secretary and helped lead the international response to increased Chinese aggression.

“This will only continue when she becomes prime minister and seeks to expand her network of liberty around the world.”

TV debate hosted by the BBC to take place at 9pm

07:09 , Elly Blake

The BBC is hosting a head-to-head TV debate between the Conservative leadership hopefuls on Monday evening.

Hosted by Sophie Raworth, from a venue in Stoke on Trent at 9pm, there will be a studio audience made up entirely of people who voted Conservative at the last general election in 2019.

The BBC said it chose Stoke because it is “one of the many constituencies won by the Conservatives for the first time at the last general election”.

Good morning

07:01 , Elly Blake

Welcome to the Standard’s politics live blog.

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