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Liz Truss news – live: Rishi Sunak vows he won’t stand aside for frontrunner

·38-min read
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Rishi Sunak has insisted that there is no point in which he would stand aside for Tory leadership rival Liz Truss, despite multiple polls placing the foreign secretary significantly ahead of the ex-chancellor.

The two contenders set out their differing views on a range of policies in another live hustings debate, as opposition parties called for Ms Truss to face a “sleaze” probe over an apparent failure to declare thousands of pounds donated to an event where she schmoozed Tory MPs in her leadership bid.

Labour appealed to the cabinet secretary, and the Liberal Democrats wrote to the parliamentary commissioner for standards, asking her to open an investigation into the funding of a hospitality event, including champagne, attended by around a dozen Conservative MPs.

The Independent has revealed how she did not declare the thousands of pounds put towards the “Fizz with Liz” dinner, although MPs are obliged to disclose hospitality worth more than £300.

The event was paid for by club owner, multimillionaire aristocrat Robin Birley.

Key points

  • Rishi Sunak vows not to stand aside for frontrunner Liz Truss

  • Call for probe into funding of champagne dinner hosted by Truss

  • Sunak’s economic pledges ‘riskier’ than Truss’s, Javid claims

  • Sunak hints at reducing inheritance tax if he becomes PM

  • Truss campaign bounces back after embarrassing U-turn

Thursday 4 August 2022 22:17 , Andy Gregory

We’re going to pause updates on the blog for now, thanks for following here.

You can find all of The Independent’s latest articles on UK politics here.

Or else keep scrolling to catch up on our live reporting of tonight’s leadership hustings and today’s political events.

Sunak accuses Truss of plans that would pour ‘fuel on the fire’ of recession

Thursday 4 August 2022 22:15 , Andy Gregory

Our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin has this report on tonight’s leadership hustings, in which she leads on Rishi Sunak’s accusation that Liz Truss’s economic plans would pour “fuel on the fire” just hours after the Bank of England warned the UK was heading for recession.

In a direct appeal to party members, Mr Sunak warned the Conservatives had to “get real and fast” because “the lights on the economy are flashing red and the root cause is inflation.

“I’m worried that Liz Truss’s plans will make the situation worse,” the ex-chancellor said.

You can read the full report here:

Sunak accuses Truss of plans that would pour ‘fuel on the fire’ of recession

Sunak appears to win backing of hustings audience

Thursday 4 August 2022 22:00 , Andy Gregory

There was a glitch with handheld voting machines intended to allow the Sky News hustings audience to show which candidate they were most likely to vote for following tonight’s event.

However, a show of hands suggested that a large majority of those watching would vote for Rishi Sunak.

Sunak plays down wide ministerial support for Truss

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:55 , Andy Gregory

Pressed on the wide range of ministerial support for Liz Truss’s leadership bid, Rishi Sunak pointed to his greater success during earlier rounds of voting by Tory MPs.

“Every single round of the parliamentary process, I led. I was the person that MPs chose every round, ahead of everyone else. And since it finished, more and more people have come and joined the team.”

He added: “That support is drawn really widely from across the parliamentary party.”

Sunak denies tax haven claims and addresses comments on having no working class friends

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:51 , Andy Gregory

In a more quickfire round of questioning, Rishi Sunak has said he would not “fistbump” Saudia Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, but would shake his hand as “you do have to engage with people around the world”.

Asked about a resurfaced video in which he said he did not have any working class friends, Mr Sunak said: “I think I was a student when I said that and we all say silly things when we’re younger.

“At the same time I was, as you know, I was working in my mum’s shop. I was out and about, biking around, running around, delivering medicines to people from all walks of life.”

Pressed on whether he now has working class friends, he replied: “I don’t go around asking them [how] they define themselves, I think we’ve moved beyond that as a country actually.”

Asked whether he had ever benefitted from an offshore tax haven, he said: “No ... I personally have absolutely never ever benefitted and have paid absolutely full, normal taxes wherever I’ve lived.”

Sunak appears to back new coal mines

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:33 , Andy Gregory

Here is what the ex-chancellor had to say about the climate and his “green credentials”.

Rishi Sunak said new coalmines were “local decisions” but added that we should not be importing coal from other places when we have it at home.

He said he backed fracking when it had the support of local communities – which has previously proved incredibly rare. Pressed on previous earthquakes caused by fracking, he cited a study by various royal societies which he said showed that fracking was “safe” and that seismic activity is not out of the ordinary.

The ex-chancellor said he would not raise flight taxes, saying he had already made a change to flight taxation which he insisted was a “green” move.

He insisted he had not changed his position on onshore wind, and was not in favour of it.

Mr Sunak insisted the UK would get to net-zero by 2050 by attracting investment and talent to the UK.

Sunak pressed on Rwanda policy support

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:26 , Andy Gregory

Rishi Sunak has been pressed on whether he says “one thing in private” and “another for voter consumption”, pointing to claims on his private policy positions on subects like the Northern Ireland Protocol and Rwanda asylum plan.

“I do believe in the Rwanda policy, but do I ask tough questions when Cabinet ministers come to me and say ‘we’d like to do this new thing’. Yeah, because my job is to make sure ... everyone’s money is spent properly.”

He repeats a previous assertion that “it’s not good enough just to announce things” and government must actually deliver things.

Sunak says he is ‘tough enough’ to stand up to Putin

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:22 , Andy Gregory

Asked whether he is really “tough enough to stand up to Vladimir Putin” in what host Kay Burley suggested was Rishi Sunak’s “hell, yeah, moment”, the ex-chancellor said: “How are we standing up to Vladimir Putin?

“We’re doing two things,” he said, pointing to sending funds and arms to Ukraine and placing economic sanctions on Russia. “It’s not diplomatic measures that are making a difference, it’s economic.”

Mr Sunak added: “Who do you think put all those things together? I did, with all my finance minister colleagues around the world.”

He continued: “Yes, I’m tough enough. And I’m already delivering the measures that are actually causing him the most trouble.”

Tackling inflation a priority, insists Sunak

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:07 , Jane Dalton

Tackling inflation would be Mr Sunak’s priority, he said. In a dig at Liz Truss, he said the lights on the economy are flashing red and inflation was the root cause - but it was important not to put fuel on the fire by cutting taxes first.

He said he would support people through the winter crisis and he would not introduce tax cuts until inflation was under control.

'We need to reject more asylum-seekers’

Thursday 4 August 2022 21:03 , Jane Dalton

Mr Sunak says he aspires to a tighter definition of asylum-seekers to be able to reject more, and to insist on other countries taking more back.

But he wanted an immigration system that supported the best and brightest to come to work in the UK, he said.

Sunak: NHS not free at point of misuse

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:58 , Jane Dalton

Asked about how to boost NHS dentistry, the former chancellor said it was a No 1 public-service priority.

Mr Sunak said the government had to be bolder about reforming the NHS, starting with putting in more resources.

Hailing a crackdown on the over 10 million missed appointments with a £10 fine, he said it was not “free at the point of misuse”.

To find money to spend more, he was prepared to challenge the system, he said.

Sunak pledges to raise armed forces budget

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:52 , Jane Dalton

Mr Sunak pledged to increase the size and budget of the armed forces in view of the threats from China and North Korea, citing his track record of increasing funding.

“I will invest whatever it takes to keep you and our country safe,” he said.

Challenged to identify specifics on uniting the party, Mr Sunak talked of putting differences aside as soon as the contest was over and turning attention to issues.

Sunak: I won’t step aside

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:46 , Jane Dalton

As Rishi Sunak comes under questioning from an audience member, over whether he would stand aside to let Ms Truss win, he said no.

The former chancellor said he wanted to have a debate with people and that he had the highest number of MPs supporting him including Lord Lawson and William Hague.

Truss refuses to say sorry to Sturgeon

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:40 , Jane Dalton

Asked whether she would apologise to Nicola Sturgeon for saying she would ignore her, Ms Truss said she would not.

She declined to say whether she would remove the whip from Boris Johnson if he was found to have misled Parliament.

To restore integrity to Westminster, she said it was about following through on promises. And she would ensure there was zero tolerance for bad behaviour by MPs.

Truss ‘sorry for how policy interpreted'

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:28 , Jane Dalton

Kay Burley reads out Ms Truss’s press release on varying pay, challenging her about what was “misrepresented” on the £8bn.

Ms Truss said she did not have details of the figures but Ms Burley suggested it came from the Taxpayers’ Alliance and asked whether she accepted she’d made a mistake.

The foreign secretary said she accepted it was not the right policy so she withdrew it, saying she was “honest and upfront”.

Should good leaders own their mistakes, the interviewer asks.

Truss refuses to apologise for pay blunder

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:23 , Jane Dalton

Ms Truss has again blamed “misinterpretation” for cancelling a policy she had announced - over varying regional pay for public-sector workers - as she resisted admitting that announcing it was a mistake.

Accused of valuing the work of teachers in Newcastle less than those in Guildford and asked to apologise, she said she had been clear she would not go ahead with the policy.

Saying it wasn’t working was nothing to be ashamed of, she insisted - but did not apologise.

Under questioning she said: “I absolutely accept that it wasn’t the right policy to deal with the situation and therefore I withdrew the policy immediately.”

Truss warns of 'difficult times’

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:20 , Jane Dalton

Liz Truss said recession is not inevitable, as she faces questions as the Sky Tory leadership debate.

The Bank of England has warned Britons face two years of tumbling household incomes with inflation set to soar to more than 13 per cent and the economy plunging into the longest recession since the financial crisis.

Ms Truss told the audience: “What the Bank of England have said today is of course extremely worrying but it is not inevitable. We can change the outcome and we can make it more likely that the economy grows.”

She said she would she wanted to keep taxes low and “do all we can to grow the economy by taking advantage of our post-Brexit freedom, unleashing investment, changing things like the procurement rules and doing things differently”.

She added: “Now is the time to be bold, because if we don’t act now, we are headed for very, very difficult times.”

Sir Keir Starmer found to have breached MPs’ code of conduct eight times

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:16 , Jane Dalton

Sir Keir Starmer has been found to have breached the MPs’ code of conduct by failing to register eight interests on time, including gifts from football teams and the sale of a plot of land.

Andy Gregory has this breaking story:

Sir Keir Starmer found to have breached MPs’ code of conduct eight times

Truss’s plan to solve NHS understaffing

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:09 , Jane Dalton

Asked about NHS understaffing, Ms Truss pledged to put money earmarket for social care into social care.

She said the system needed more decisions to be made by people on the front line. She denied it was about sacking layers of managers but about deploying people better.

And she needed to “sort out” the issue of doctors’ pensions that encouraged them to retire.

Truss: current high taxes ‘likely to mean recession'

Thursday 4 August 2022 20:05 , Jane Dalton

In the first question of the debate, on the recession, Liz Truss says it’s important not to burden businesses and current high taxes are likely to lead to a recession - in a side swipe at former chancellor Rishi Sunak. She said she knows what it’s like to lose jobs, and she would lower corporation tax.

Thursday 4 August 2022 19:54 , Jane Dalton

Tonight’s leadership debate is due to start at 8pm. Stay tuned here for key developments.

Analysis: what a grim economic outlook means for the Tories

Thursday 4 August 2022 19:46 , Jane Dalton

While not universally true, generally Conservative governments have won elections during an economic slump, or shortly after, and especially in an air of crisis, writes Sean O’Grady:

Analysis: The economic outlook is grim – but what does that mean for the Tories?

Labour calls for ‘Fizz with Liz sleaze’ probe

Thursday 4 August 2022 19:21 , Jane Dalton

Liz Truss is facing the possibility of her first major sleaze probe over claims she failed to declare “murky donations” related to her leadership campaign.

Labour has appealed to the cabinet secretary to open an investigation into the Tory frontrunner over funding for a so-called “Fizz with Liz” champagne dinner, and the Liberal Democrats have written to the parliamentary commissioner for standards. Jon Stone reports:

Liz Truss facing first sleaze investigation over ‘murky donations’

Labour frontbencher likens energy bill non-payment campaign to poll tax response

Thursday 4 August 2022 18:30 , Andy Gregory

A Labour frontbencher has likened a supposedly 70,000-strong campaign for people to refuse to pay their energy bills in protest at soaring prices to the response to Margaret Thatcher’s poll tax.

Asked what he would say to those thinking of cancelling their direct debits, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden told LBC: “Well it reminds me a little bit of a long time ago when we had the poll tax.”

He added: “There were campaigns around at that time not to pay and I would caution people against that because I don’t want to add to people’s difficulties of paying their bills with legal action and other consequences like that.

“But what I would say is: I’ve been on the doorsteps here in Wolverhampton talking to people about this in recent days and people typically last year were paying maybe £150 a month for their energy, they’re now paying £300 a month, and it’s going to go up to £400 or more in the autumn.

“I don’t believe that the help announced by the government so far is going to meet the difficulty of people’s circumstances and they’re going to have to do more because people simply will not be able to cope.”

Amazon pay rise offer ‘sounds pitiful’, says Labour frontbencher

Thursday 4 August 2022 18:08 , Andy Gregory

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury has denounced a 35p pay rise offered to protesting Amazon workers in Tilbury as “pitiful”.

Pat McFadden told LBC: “When it comes to the individual percentages and so on, that always has to be negotiated between the employees and the employer but 35 pence an hour sounds like a pitiful rise given the circumstances that people are facing this year.”

The GMB union has said that the workers in Essex are seeking a £2-an-hour pay rise.

Less than a third of voters believe Tories deserve re-election, polling finds

Thursday 4 August 2022 17:47 , Andy Gregory

Less than a third of the British public believe the Conservatives deserve to be re-elected – but many remain unconvinced that Labour is ready to take over, new polling suggests.

According to a poll by Ipsos, just 31 per cent of the public think the Tories deserve to continue in power, compared with 52 per cent who believe they do not.

The figures have changed little since April, when 51 per cent said the government did not deserve to be re-elected, and represent only a slight improvement compared with January when the Tories were mired in the Partygate scandal, at which point just 28 per cent thought they should remain in power.

However, the survey of 1,000 British adults carried out at the end of July found only 37 per cent thought Labour was ready to take over, down from 38 per cent in January.

In April 2010, some 47 per cent said they thought David Cameron’s Conservatives were ready to take office, as they did in the following month, rising to 55 per cent who said the same for Tony Blair’s Labour Party a month before they swept to power in May 1997.

Keiran Pedley, director of politics at Ipsos UK, said that while there is “plenty of evidence that the public are not happy with how the Conservatives are running the country in several important areas”, it’s also true that the “public are not 100% sold on Labour as an alternative” and satisfaction with Sir Keir Starmer “is unspectacular by historic standards”.

Truss pledges ‘uncomfortably reminiscent of Tory missteps 50 years ago’, Thatcher’s chancellor warns

Thursday 4 August 2022 17:25 , Andy Gregory

A Tory former chancellor under Margaret Thatcher has warned that Liz Truss’s economic pledges are “uncomfortably reminiscent of the missteps of the Tory government of 50 years ago”.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Lawson of Blaby said: “While Liz Truss has many qualities, her plans now reportedly comprise approximately £60 billion of unfunded spending/tax cuts – and her message of reassurance about the associated inflationary risk – is, to me, uncomfortably reminiscent of the missteps of the Tory government of 50 years ago.”

He reflected that Tory chancellor Anthony Barber’s budget in 1972 was popular but led to “years of inflationary nightmare”.

Conversely, Lord Lawson said Rishi Sunak was “guided by the principles of Thatcherism” in his bid to ensure the current generation “pays its own way” rather than “saddling” the next with greater debt.

ICYMI: Truss faces fresh questions over ‘Fizz with Liz’ champagne dinner

Thursday 4 August 2022 16:00 , Matt Mathers

Liz Truss is embroiled in fresh controversy after a leaked email left her facing questions over why she did not declare thousands of pounds spent on schmoozing Tory MPs in the run up to her bid to succeed Boris Johnson.

Simon Walters reports:

Truss faces fresh questions over ‘Fizz with Liz’ champagne dinner

What is driving the policy merry-go-round of Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak?

Thursday 4 August 2022 15:30 , Matt Mathers

The two candidates are engaged in a policy arms race ahead of ballots arriving on Tory members’ doormats, writes Ashley Cowburn

Read Ashley’s full piece here:

What is driving the policy merry-go-round of Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak?

Liz Truss facing first sleaze investigation over ‘murky donations’

Thursday 4 August 2022 15:08 , Matt Mathers

Liz Truss is facing the possibility of her first major sleaze probe amid claims she failed to declare “murky donations” related to her leadership campaign.

Labour on Thursday appealed to Cabinet secretary to open an investigation into the Tory frontrunner over funding for a so-called “Fizz with Liz” champagne dinner.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Liz Truss facing first sleaze investigation over ‘murky donations’

ICYMI: Rishi Sunak could be PM in a month – does this count as ‘vilifying’ Britain?

Thursday 4 August 2022 15:03 , Matt Mathers

For reasons only they can truly understand, writes Tom Peck, both candidates evidently feel they have an obligation to launch new policies every single day, for six full weeks.

Read Tom’s full piece here:

Sunak could be PM in a month – does this count as ‘vilifying’ Britain? | Tom Peck

Government must come forward with more help for energy bills

Thursday 4 August 2022 14:29 , Matt Mathers

The government has "got to come forward" with more help for people struggling to pay their energy bills, Labour has said.

Darren Jones, chair of the business committee, spoke to LBC earlier after the Bank of England hiked interest rates to 1.75 per cent, warned inflation will hit 13 per cent by the end of the year and that the country is set for a recession.

He said Labour would cut VAT on energy bills to help people pay. More comments from Mr Jones below:

Ken Clarke: Truss tax cuts ‘for wealthy’ could stoke inflation

Thursday 4 August 2022 14:00 , Matt Mathers

Conservative former chancellor Ken Clarke suggested Liz Truss's plan for immediate tax cuts runs "the risk of contributing to the problem".

Lord Clarke of Nottingham said the country is in "total stagflation", telling BBC Radio 4's World at One: "It may be the government has to do something to help the people who will be badly hit, and some households are being badly hit already, but it should be very narrowly, strictly targeted to the people who can't cope - who are the poor.

"I very much hope we don't see an increase in the number of people destitute in this country. We already have too many people in abject poverty and the number is likely to rise, and I think the government should be looking at things that help the very poorest and the very low-paid, and things like universal credit.

"What we don't want is immediate tax cuts which cheer up the better off and are particularly valuable to the very wealthy."

He cautioned such an approach could make inflation "worse", adding: "It'd really run the risk of contributing to the problem so I don't think tax cuts are terribly relevant at the moment.

"I think targeted help for the poorest and less well-paid is justified - they've done some of that already and I think they may have to do more."

Should the West stop helping Ukraine like Jeremy Corbyn suggests? No – and here’s why

Thursday 4 August 2022 13:30 , Matt Mathers

The idea of a ‘brokered peace’ in Ukraine comes from the fantasy notion that Putin doesn’t want this war, writes Sunny Hundal.

Read Sunny’s full article below:

Opinion: Should the West stop helping Ukraine? No – and here’s why

The cult of Boris Johnson spells trouble for Liz Truss

Thursday 4 August 2022 13:00 , Matt Mathers

Conservative Party members are not reconciled to the prime minister’s departure, writes John Rentoul

Read his full piece here:

The cult of Boris Johnson spells trouble for Prime Minister Liz Truss | John Rentoul

Don’t Pay: Government says campaign for energy bill payers’ strike is ‘highly irresponsible’

Thursday 4 August 2022 12:30 , Matt Mathers

The government has said a campaign for energy bill-payers to go on strike and refuse to pay rising tariffs is “highly irresponsible”.

A campaign group called Don’t Pay says 70,000 people have so far pledged to cancel their direct debits for gas and electricity in protest at escalating costs.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Government says campaign for energy bill payers’ strike is ‘highly irresponsible’

‘I’ve wasted a year’: Afghan evacuee has spent 11 months in hotel

Thursday 4 August 2022 11:58 , Matt Mathers

An Afghan evacuee who lived in a hotel near Leeds for almost a year has described feeling like her family's "lives are paused" as they await news of permanent accommodation from the Home Office.

In a letter seen by the BBC, refugees minister Lord Harrington appealed to councils to help house the 10,500 Afghans currently staying at hotels across the UK.

Marwa Koofi, 21, fled Kabul, Afghanistan when the city fell to the Taliban in August last year and has lived in two hotels over the last 12 months.

She said the year has felt "wasted" and has recently been split up from family members after three of them were moved from a hotel in Selby, North Yorkshire to one near Crawley, West Sussex.

"I stayed in a hotel for 11 months, I don't want to stay in a hotel for another 11 months," Ms Koofi, who is set to study International Relations at King's College London in September, said.

"I have wasted a year because my hotel (in Selby) was in a location where I couldn't do anything. When I think back to the year, I just see it as a blank - it's nothing, I haven't done anything.

"You don't even have the energy to get up from your bed because you know your day is nothing. I feel like our lives are paused, I just want our lives to be played."

Truss threatens to interfere with Bank of England mandate after policy disagreement

Thursday 4 August 2022 11:16 , Matt Mathers

Liz Truss is to review the Bank of England‘s mandate after supporters of her leadership campaign said it had been “too slow” to raise interest rates.

The Tory leadership frontrunner believes the bank, which has been independent of government since the 1990s, should have raised interest rates “a long time ago”.

Our policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:

Liz Truss to interfere with Bank of England mandate after policy disagreement

Sunak ignores Islamophobia appeal from parliamentary group amid extremism row

Thursday 4 August 2022 10:45 , Matt Mathers

Rishi Sunak has not responded to an appeal from MPs to combat Islamophobia, amid a row over his proposals on extremism.

Our home affairs editor Lizzie Dearden reports:

Sunak ignores Islamophobia appeal from MPs amid extremism row

Truss and Sunak 'chronically inconsistent' on China

Thursday 4 August 2022 10:16 , Matt Mathers

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been "chronically inconsistent" in their positions on the growing threat posed by China, Labour has claimed.

Preet Kaur Gill, the shadow international development secretary, spoke to Sky News earlier as Beijing began a military blockade of Taiwan.

She said the government had "no clear strategy" on how to deal with the Communist Party-ruled country.

More comments below:

Sunak supporter: New poll showing huge Truss lead is ‘out of touch with reality'

Thursday 4 August 2022 09:45 , Matt Mathers

A new poll showing Liz Truss with a 32 per cent lead among Tory members in the leadership contest is “out of touch with reality,” an ally of Rishi Sunak has claimed.

Mel Stride MP was commenting on a survey by the Conservative Home website published last night, which tallied with a YouGov survey put out earlier on Monday night.

He also said “Thatcher and Nigel Lawson would have done was what Liz is suggesting, ie. coming forward with all these unfunded tax cuts to stoke up inflation.”

More comments from Mr Stride below:

Javid: It would be ‘riskier’ not to cut taxes

Thursday 4 August 2022 09:11 , Matt Mathers

It would be “riskier” for the next prime minister not to cut taxes, Sajid Javid has claimed.

The former health secretary and chancellor spoke to Times Radio earlier after backing Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest.

He said her promises to cut tax - which some estimates have put at as high as £80bn - is the least risky option to grow the economy and would not further stoke inflation, which could peak at 15 per cent.

“Fixing the economy is absolutely central, not just to deal with the cost-of-living challenges but to pay for all the public services, in the long-term, that we all rely on,” he said.

“I think the only way we can do that is to improve our long-term growth rate. We need to get it back to where we were pre-financial crisis, we’re a long way off.”

He added: “To do that, it can’t be business as usual and it does mean, when it comes to our fiscal position - balancing the books and things - we’ve got to take a long-term view.”

He acknowledged it was “risky” but “not cutting taxes now is also risky and I think it’s the riskier option”.

Sunak: Truss tax pledges ‘giving with one hand then taking away with the other'

Thursday 4 August 2022 08:52 , Matt Mathers

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak has launched a fresh attack on his rival’s taxation plans as the pair prepare to go head-to-head in a live TV debate.

Mr Sunak said Liz Truss’s pledges would further drive up interest rates and therefore raise mortgage payments.

He said the foreign secretary’s proposals would give people money with “one hand then take it away with the other”.

The two candidates are scheduled to appear live on Sky News at 8pm.

Interest rates ‘should have been raised a long time ago'

Thursday 4 August 2022 08:12 , Sam Rkaina

An ally of Liz Truss said she would review whether the Bank of England’s current arrangements are “fit for purpose” if she becomes prime minister.

Attorney General Suella Braverman told Sky News: “Interest rates should have been raised a long time ago and the Bank of England has been too slow in this regard.”

She added: “Liz Truss has made clear that she wants to review the mandate that the Bank of England has, so that’s going to be looking in detail at exactly what the Bank of England does and see whether it’s actually fit for purpose in terms of its entire exclusionary independence over interest rates.”

Ms Braverman rejected criticism that Ms Truss’s tax-cutting plans would further drive up inflation.

“People say ‘we can’t afford to cut taxes’, Liz thinks – and I agree with her – that we can’t afford not to cut taxes,” she said.

Attorney General Suella Braverman (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Wire)
Attorney General Suella Braverman (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Wire)

Sunak calls for compensation over hosepipe bans

Thursday 4 August 2022 07:57 , Sam Rkaina

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak wants to look at introducing compensation if a hosepipe ban is a direct consequence of water companies’ failures.

The former chancellor told The Daily Telegraph he would consider introducing the measure, with hosepipe bans coming into force in parts of England as months of dry conditions push the country towards drought.

“It is unacceptable for water companies to impose restrictions on their customers when they fail to stem leaks,” he said.

“We need tougher financial penalties on the companies that are not investing enough to stop water being wasted.”

South East Water became the second water company to restrict use of hosepipes and sprinklers with a ban within Kent and Sussex from Friday August 12 until further notice.

Southern Water announced the first hosepipe ban of the year last week on Hampshire and the Isle of Wight from this Friday.

Mr Sunak’s rival Liz Truss, meanwhile, said such bans should not have to happen.

A spokesman for her campaign told the Telegraph: “We shouldn’t be in a position where hosepipe bans have to happen.

“More needs to be done to make sure water companies fix leaks and waste across their networks.

“As prime minister, Liz would look at how best Ofwat could hold those water companies with the worst track record to account, so that hard-working people across the country are not restricted on their water use over the summer months.”

The spokesman said Ms Truss believed desalination could help shore up water supplies into the future, adding that communities would be given the final say on planning permission.

The moves to curb water use come after England has seen the driest eight-month period from November 2021 to July since 1976, when much of the country struggled in extreme drought.

Last month saw a record-breaking heatwave and the driest July in records dating back to 1836 for south east and central southern England.

For England as a whole, last month was the driest since 1935, Met Office figures show.

The country could be in drought this month if the dry conditions continue, the Environment Agency has warned.

Truss’s plans for economy and public finances “dangerous”

Thursday 4 August 2022 07:35 , Sam Rkaina

A senior supporter of Rishi Sunak warned that Liz Truss’s plans for the economy and public finances were “dangerous”.

Mel Stride, chairman of the Commons Treasury Committee, told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “What we must do now is avoid stoking the inflation and making the problem even worse.

“One of the ways you can make the problem very significantly worse is by coming forward with large-scale, tens of billions of pounds’ worth, of unfunded tax cuts.”

He added: “The big decision, fiscally, here is around tax. You have to do it in a measured way and at the right time but not start coming forward with tens of billions of unfunded tax cuts right now.

“I think that would be really quite dangerous.”

He insisted Mr Sunak would “absolutely not” concede despite polls suggesting he was a long way behind Ms Truss.

Mr Strike claimed there was a “huge disconnect” between the polls and the situation on the ground where “there is a huge amount of support for Rishi”.

Tory memers doubtful of major election win under Sunak, poll shows

Thursday 4 August 2022 07:05 , Namita Singh

Under a fifth of Tory members believe the most likely outcome at the next general election is a Commons majority if Rishi Sunak succeeds Boris Johnson in No 10, according to a new poll.

Two-and-a-half years after the outgoing prime minister won the Tories’ biggest majority since Margaret Thatcher, the survey by YouGov found the Conservative faithful were doubtful of a major electoral success.

The figures for Mr Sunak – the former chancellor – are most stark, with just 19 per cent of those polled suggesting the “most likely” result after the next election would be a Conservative majority in the Commons.

Thirty-three per cent thought the most likely scenario was a hung parliament with a Tory-led government while 23 opted for a Labour-led government and 14 per cent for a Labour majority – the first in over a decade.

Our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn reports:

Under fifth of Tory members say ‘most likely’ scenario is a Tory majority under Sunak

Javid accuses Sunak of sleepwalking into a high-tax economy as he endorses Truss

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:55 , Namita Singh

Former chancellor Sajid Javid has endorsed Liz Truss as he warned that Rishi Sunak’s economic plans would lead Britain “sleepwalking into a high-tax, low-growth” economy.

Mr Javid and Mr Sunak quit within an hour of each other last month, triggering a string of resignations that finally brought Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister to an end.

But writing in the Times, Mr Javid criticises his friend’s stance as he backs his rival to win the keys to Downing Street.

Mr Sunak has argued that tax cuts can come after soaraway inflation has been brought under control.

Kate Devlin reports:

Javid accuses Sunak of sleepwalking into a high-tax economy as he endorses Truss

‘Ravaged’ social care sector needs more money before year is out - MPs

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:45 , Namita Singh

England’s “ravaged” adult social care sector urgently needs more money from government before the year is out, MPs have warned.

A cash injection and a long-term plan is needed to help the sector meet immediate cost pressures and become sustainable over the coming years, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee said.

The cross-party committee said the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated underlying challenges of rising demand, unmet need and difficulties in recruiting and keeping staff.

Rising inflation and increases in the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage are also adding pressure.

The committee, which held an inquiry into the long-term funding of adult social care, said the “message rang clear” that adult social care “does not have enough funding either in the here and now, or in the longer term”.

Read more here:

‘Ravaged’ social care sector needs more money before year is out – MPs

UK ‘not on course’ to become science and technology superpower, warn peers

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:35 , Namita Singh

Ministers are set to fall short in their promise to turn the UK into a “science and tech superpower” by 2030, according to a cross-party group of peers, who described the government’s science policy as “inconsistent and unclear”.

The House of Lords’ science and technology committee said the commitment was at risk of becoming “an empty slogan” without a “laser focus on implementation”.

The peers also expressed concern over the government’s failure to appoint a new science minister after George Freeman resigned and vacated the position on 7 July. A replacement is not expected to be appointed until the Conservative Party elects a new prime minister.

They called on Boris Johnson’s successor, due to be announced early next month, to prioritise appointing a minister for science, research and innovation to a cabinet-level position.

Our senior news correspondent Samuel Lovett reports:

Government ‘not on course’ to turn UK into ‘science superpower’ by 2030, peers say

MPs urge reform of laws that give cohabiting couples ‘inferior protections’

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:25 , Namita Singh

“Urgent” reforms are needed to current laws which leave cohabiting couples receiving “inferior protections” despite a shift in social norms, a cross-party group of MPs has suggested.

The Commons Women and Equalities Committee warned that many people believe in the “so-called common-law marriage myth”, often leaving women vulnerable to a “lack of legal protection on family breakdown” or the death of a partner.

The MPs’ report, entitled The Rights Of Cohabiting Partners, noted that cohabitation “is the fastest growing family type” in England and Wales, adding: “In 2021 there were around 3.6 million cohabiting couples in the UK compared with 1.5 million in 1996.”

It added: “Whereas married couples and civil partners in England and Wales have certain legal rights and responsibilities upon divorce or death, cohabitants receive inferior protections.

Notwithstanding the legal reality, many people believe in the so-called ‘common-law marriage myth’, which is the erroneous belief that, after a certain amount of time of living together, the law treats cohabitants as if they were married. On family breakdown, cohabitants must rely on complex property law and trusts principles.

Commons Women and Equalities Committee

PA

UK ‘not on course’ to become science and technology superpower, warn peers

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:24 , Namita Singh

Ministers are set to fall short in their promise to turn the UK into a “science and tech superpower” by 2030, according to a cross-party group of peers, who described the government’s science policy as “inconsistent and unclear”.

The House of Lords’ science and technology committee said the commitment was at risk of becoming “an empty slogan” without a “laser focus on implementation”.

The peers also expressed concern over the government’s failure to appoint a new science minister after George Freeman resigned and vacated the position on 7 July. A replacement is not expected to be appointed until the Conservative Party elects a new prime minister.

They called on Boris Johnson’s successor, due to be announced early next month, to prioritise appointing a minister for science, research and innovation to a cabinet-level position.

Our senior news correspondent Samuel Lovett reports:

Government ‘not on course’ to turn UK into ‘science superpower’ by 2030, peers say

‘Refugee minister appeals to councils to help Afghan refugees'

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:15 , Namita Singh

Refugees minister Lord Harrington appealed to councils to help house the 10,500 Afghans currently staying at hotels across the UK, according to a letter seen by the BBC.

Marwa Koofi, 21, fled Kabul, Afghanistan when the city fell to the Taliban in August last year and has lived in two hotels over the last 12 months.

She said the year has felt “wasted” and has recently been split up from family members after three of them were moved from a hotel in Selby, North Yorkshire to one near Crawley, West Sussex.

“I stayed in a hotel for 11 months, I don’t want to stay in a hotel for another 11 months,” Ms Koofi, who is set to study International Relations at King’s College London in September, told the PA news agency.

“I have wasted a year because my hotel (in Selby) was in a location where I couldn’t do anything.

“When I think back to the year, I just see it as a blank - it’s nothing, I haven’t done anything.”

More in this report:

Our lives are paused, says Afghan evacuee after 11 months in UK hotel

Sunak and Truss clash over tax plans ahead of debate

Thursday 4 August 2022 06:00 , Namita Singh

Rishi Sunak launched a fresh attack on Liz Truss’s plans for tax cuts ahead of the pair’s next debate in their quest to become prime minister.

The former chancellor said his foreign secretary rival in the Tory leadership race would further drive up interest rates, raising mortgage payments, with her plans.

His warning came as the Bank of England was forecast to raise interest rates to the highest level in nearly three decades on Thursday, from 1.25 per cent to 1.75 per cent.

A Bank of England announcement is scheduled for midday, with experts warning that inflation could peak at 15 per cent, adding to the already painful cost-of-living crisis with spiralling prices.

Read the details in this report:

Sunak and Truss clash over tax plans ahead of debate

Truss campaign bounces back afer embarrassing U-turn

Thursday 4 August 2022 05:44 , Namita Singh

Liz Truss has bounced back from an embarrassing U-turn to revitalise her Tory leadership campaign with a key endorsement and a series of polls that shows her well in front of her rival.

A new survey by the influential website ConservativeHome put the foreign secretary 32 points ahead of Rishi Sunak in the battle for Downing Street.

Crucially, it was carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Ms Truss was being forced to ditch plans to cut public sector pay outside London in the face of a revolt by Tory MPs.

The result is similar to a YouGov poll of party members, which found a 34-point gap in favour of Ms Truss.

Read the details in this joint report by Kate Devlin and Ashley Cowburn:

Truss campaign bounces back after embarrassing U-turn

What is driving the policy merry-go-round of Tory leadership candidates?

Thursday 4 August 2022 05:15 , Namita Singh

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are engaged in a policy arms race ahead of ballots arriving on Tory members’ doormats, writes Ashley Cowburn.

What is driving the policy merry-go-round of Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak?

Sunak hints at reducing inheritance tax if elected as prime minister

Thursday 4 August 2022 05:06 , Namita Singh

Rishi Sunak has hinted he could cut inheritance tax as he tries to revive his faltering Tory leadership campaign.

The former chancellor was asked at hustings in Cardiff if he would scrap the levy, a bugbear of many Conservative party members.

He rejected that idea but did suggest that he could lower it in future if he became prime minister, suggesting the move would be consistent with his political outlook.

He told the hustings crowd: “I’ve set out a plan to consistently cut income tax over time because I want to reward hard work. But I very much, as you heard from my earlier remarks, I’m someone who believes in supporting aspiration.

“I think that is a Conservative value that many of us in this room will hold dear and inheritance tax is a way to do that.

Read more on this from our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin:

Rishi Sunak hints he could cut inheritance tax as prime minister

Foreign secretary embroiled in controversy over ‘Fizz with Liz’

Thursday 4 August 2022 04:55 , Namita Singh

Liz Truss is embroiled in fresh controversy after she was probed in a leaked email about the non-declaration of thousands of pounds spent on hosting Tory MPs in the run-up to her bid to succeed Boris Johnson.

Around a dozen Conservative MPs attended a so-called “Fizz with Liz” champagne dinner hosted by the foreign secretary at Mayfair members club 5 Hertford St last year.

While the event was paid for by club owner, multimillionaire aristocrat Robin Birley, Ms Truss’ spokesperson denied organising the event. They said, it had “nothing to do with her” and that she was merely one of the persons invited by “organiser and host” Mr Birley.

However, this account is disputed by other MPs present who told The Independent that she was the host and not Mr Birley, who “turned up briefly to say hello”.

Read more in this exclusive from my colleague Simon Walters:

Truss faces fresh questions over ‘Fizz with Liz’ champagne dinner

Thursday 4 August 2022 04:16 , Namita Singh

Welcome to The Independent’s UK politics blog for 4 August 2022 where we provide the latest on the Tory leadership race.

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