Conservative Party members impressed at leadership hustings

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Conservative leadership candidate Rishi Sunak at a hustings event at the Pavilion conference centre at Elland Road in Leeds. Picture date: Thursday July 28, 2022 (Owen Humphries/PA) (PA Wire)
Conservative leadership candidate Rishi Sunak at a hustings event at the Pavilion conference centre at Elland Road in Leeds. Picture date: Thursday July 28, 2022 (Owen Humphries/PA) (PA Wire)

Conservative Party members leaving the first Tory leadership hustings in Leeds said they were relieved both candidates came across as potential Prime Ministers.

But some of the biggest rounds of applause inside the Centenary Pavillion at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground were reserved for questions suggesting current PM Boris Johnson should be on the ballot.

Neil Buckley, from Leeds, said: “I was very impressed by both candidates but particularly by Liz Truss.

“She gives me, as a Conservative, more of a vision about where are actually going – smaller state and lower taxation.

I was impressed with the hustings. I was impressed with the tone

Audience member

“There’s a few weeks to go but on tonight’s showing I will be voting for Liz Truss.”

Mr Buckley said: “For me, I just found Rish Sunak was just slightly steady-as-she-goes, but I think we’re in a pretty desperate situation at the moment and I think we need something a little more.”

Maria Broadhead, from Pickering in North Yorkshire, said: “I was impressed with the hustings. I was impressed with the tone.

“I think Liz Truss performed the best I have seen her perform. I think she answered all the questions that needed answering.

“She gave me confidence that she would be a capable Prime Minister.”

Ms Broadhead said: “But I think we are in safe hand and either would make a good premier.

“I think Rishi’s got a lots of integrity and I think Liz has a lot of common sense ideas.”

Host Nick Ferrari with Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss at the hustings event at the Pavilion conference centre at Elland Road in Leeds (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)
Host Nick Ferrari with Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss at the hustings event at the Pavilion conference centre at Elland Road in Leeds (Owen Humphreys/PA) (PA Wire)

Dr Zahir Khan, had travelled from London to make sure he was at the first of the planned hustings.

Dr Khan said: “I think both candidates are excellent and we are in safe hands.

“I think it’s about whoever can hold the country together. There are some big challenges.

“I think, as a party, we have to become ‘we’ rather than ‘I’.”

Geoff Parsons, from Bradford, said: “I think there was a lot of people who liked Boris and are not happy we’re in this situation, but we are where we are.

“We’ve got to pick one of these and I think that probably Liz Truss will get it.”

The only question that was clapped louder by the Leeds audience than those in support of Mr Johnson was that from a woman who decried what she claimed were moves to bring mixed toilets to schools.

The few boos during the night were mainly of the comedy variety – as when Liz Truss declared her love of Norwich City football club.

But one young man provoked a few sharp intakes of breath in the largely older audience when he suggested that pensioners “sitting at home watching day-time TV” should be contributing more to the financial plight of the hard-pressed youth.

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