Sunak would put UK on ‘crisis footing’ as Truss defends tax plans

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Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

Rishi Sunak has said that he would put the UK on a “crisis footing” from his first day as prime minister, as he and Liz Truss bid to woo the Tory grassroots as the leadership contest continues.

In interviews with two major newspapers, both Mr Sunak and Ms Truss reveal eye-catching proposals designed to firm up their case to be the next Conservative leader.

The former chancellor tells The Times that the UK needs to be on a “crisis footing” to deal with inflation and a host of other challenges.

Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

“They’re challenges that are staring us in the face and a business-as-usual mentality isn’t going to cut it in dealing with them. So from day one of being in office I’m going to put us on a crisis footing.

“Having been inside government I think the system just isn’t working as well as it should,” he is quoted as saying.

“And the challenges that I’m talking about, they’re not abstract, they’re not things that are coming long down the track.”

Mr Sunak also hits out at again at the proposed tax cuts lauded by Ms Truss, warning that it could lead to inflation becoming “entrenched” in the British economy.

He said: “What I worry about is the inflation we’re seeing now becoming entrenched for longer.

“That’s the risk we need to guard against. If that happens, it will be incredibly damaging for millions across the UK. The cost for families is going to be enormous.”

He also suggests that the Foreign Secretary’s plans could see interest rates rise, while rejecting the suggestion he is running a so-called “project fear”.

He added: “Imagine what that’s going to do to people’s mortgage rates.

“If we get this wrong, interest rates [will] have to go up even more because of a government that borrowed too much and made the situation worse.

“Anyone who doesn’t take really seriously the fact that inflation is running at the level it is is being hugely complacent about the challenge that is facing this country.

“That’s not project fear, that’s being honest with the country about what is happening and being responsible in saying this is a pressing priority that the government needs to help resolve and not make worse.

“That’s not project fear. Ignoring that problem is irresponsible, that’s not leadership.”

The Foreign Secretary, who on Friday hit out at the French government over lengthy delays at Dover, robustly defended her economic plans in an interview with the Telegraph.

Describing herself as an “insurgent” who wants to change things, she tells the newspaper that she wants the UK to become a “high growth, high productivity, powerhouse”.

Pressed on her thinking on the Bank of England’s mandate, she says: “What I want to do is look at best practice from central banks around the world, look at their mandates, and make sure we have a tight enough focus on the money supply and on inflation.”

Ms Truss also reveals that she has not spoken to the Prime Minister since she made the final two.

“He is not backing any candidate,” she says.

Both candidates have added another broadcast debate to their campaign schedules, with the pair facing-off in a live head-to-head on July 26 hosted by The Sun and TalkTV, following a televised BBC debate on Monday.

Mr Sunak and Ms Truss have also signed up for a Sky debate on August 4.

They will tour the UK to take part in 12 hustings for the Tory members who will vote for their next leader, with the result being announced on September 5.

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