Tory leadership live: Sunak and Truss in Cheltenham hustings

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Tory leadership candidates face mounting pressure to deal with the cost of living crisis once Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss are elected leaders

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak appeared at Cheltenham tonight for their final Husting appearance, with one theme prevailing.

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This means that responsibility for rising energy bills and food prices will lie with the incoming prime minister.

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Mr Sunak opened his Husting appearance, telling the Cheltenham crowd his Government is “proud not only to reduce VAT on energy bills, but to go further to support the most vulnerable in our society, because that’s what it is.” … compassionate conservative governments do”.

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In a thinly veiled dig at his opponent’s economic recovery plans, he added: “What I will not do is pursue policies that risk making inflation worse and lasting much longer, especially if those policies amounts to borrowing £50 billion and loading it onto the country’s credit card.”

Ms Truss has gone on record during her leadership campaign that she would reverse the increase in Social Security to put more money in the pockets of the British public, but blasted those who speak of ‘profit’ as a ‘dirty word’.

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It comes after energy companies including BP and Shell announced record profits amid the cost of living crisis, with Ms Truss previously saying she would not introduce a corporate windfall tax so as not to discourage investment in the UK.

Ms Truss told the Cheltenham crowd: “I don’t think profit is a dirty word and the fact that it has become a dirty word in our society is a massive problem.”

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“Of course, when the energy giants are in an oligopoly, they should be held accountable and I would make sure they were rigorously held accountable. But the way we toss the word around ‘profit’ (as if) it’s something dirty and evil is something we, as conservatives, shouldn’t do.”

Mr Sunak also said the Conservative Party could not risk not supporting those in need directly, saying: “Millions of pensioners will have an extraordinarily hard time this autumn and winter.

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“They don’t have the ability to go out and work more hours. You can already draw on your savings when you retire.

“And as I said then, and I will say it again, if we don’t directly support millions of vulnerable pensioners, it will be a moral failure by this party and the country will never forgive us for that.”

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Who is the favorite to win the competition?

Currently, Ms Truss is the favorite to win the Tory leadership contest.

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A new ConservativeHome poll showed that 56% of respondents intended to use their vote to elect Ms Truss as party leader, while only Mr Sunak had just 26% of the support. 12% of respondents remain undecided.

Ms Truss is also the bookmakers’ favorite to win, with Paddy Power currently giving odds of 1/12 for the Foreign Secretary to become party leader and prime minister. Mr. Sunak’s odds are currently 11/2.

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Last updated: Friday, August 05, 2022 at 7:47 p.m

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Climate protesters have been kicked out of Eastbourne Hustings

Climate protesters were led out of the Eastbourne venue after staging a demonstration during Liz Truss’ speech. (Credit: PA)

Five protesters were thrown out of Tory leadership hustings in Eastborne.

Protesters yelled “shame on you” at candidate Liz Truss and called for a “Green New Deal”.

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Onlookers in the crowd chanted “out, out” as the protesters began their demonstration.

Ms Truss, who described the protesters as “infiltrators”, said: “I will make sure that militant activists like Extinction Rebellion are not able to disrupt normal people who work hard and do the right thing and go to work.

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“I will never, ever allow our democracy to be disrupted by unfair protests.”

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Rishi Sunak is sticking to anti-inflation policies rather than tax cuts

Dire news came today after it was revealed that the country is likely to slip into recession by the end of the year and the next potential Tory leader will no doubt have to have plans to stem the impact of that.

Rishi Sunak has advocated a policy of fighting inflation but not cutting taxes while they remain high.

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He reiterated this, saying: “It’s not the tax burden that’s causing the recession. That’s just wrong. What causes the recession is inflation. That’s the root of the problem, not just here, but in America and elsewhere.

“So the main way we’re going to get through this is by getting inflation under control.

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He added: “What I’m not going to do is start a tens of billions of pounds worth of lending, putting that on the country’s credit card and asking our children and grandchildren to foot the bill because that’s not right is. That is not responsible.”

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Liz Truss justifies public wage policy

Liz Truss has come under criticism after what appears to have reversed a decision to cut salaries for public workers like teachers and nurses outside of London.

The Foreign Secretary has taken the position that the policy has been misinterpreted by the media, but received a question from an angry potential voter who stated that her “misinterpreted” policy was offensive to public workers outside London and the South East.

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Ms Truss said she made the decision not to proceed with the policy following the response, adding that the policy was not intended to include workers such as teachers, nurses and police officers.

Kay Burley grilled her more, prompting Ms Truss to admit the policy was a mistake and that she had blamed the media for the backlash rather than face the about-face.

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Ms Truss stood firm, declaring that politics was not the key to her campaign and was out of the question as a result of the criticism.

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Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in the Sky News debate

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak face off in the latest debate as Sky News hosts the two contestants.

The pair will face questions from an audience of Conservative Party members as well as debate moderator Kay Burley.

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It comes as ballots are being sent out to around 160,000 party members to choose the UK’s next leader and Prime Minister.

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Debate canceled after incident

TalkTV has apologized to viewers after announcing today’s debate would be canceled altogether.

Presenter Kate McCann fainted in the studio while the debate was still going on, resulting in the event being canceled.

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It has now been announced that the show has been canceled and will not be returning to screens.

The broadcaster said in a statement: “Kate McCann passed out on air tonight and although she is fine, medical advice has been that we should not continue the debate.

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“We apologize to our viewers and listeners.”

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Debate on break due to medical issues

The debate was adjourned because of a “medical issue”.

A spokesman for The Sun said: “There has been a medical issue, we hope to be back on the air soon.”

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TalkTV tweeted that there were no security issues at the studio and that Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were not involved in the medical incident.

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Discussion about hiatus due to studio output

The TalkTV and The Sun debate between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss was suspended due to an incident in the studio. (Credit: PA)

The leadership debate was interrupted due to an incident in the studio.

Liz Truss was answering a question when there was a loud crack and the transmission was cut off.

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The candidates grilled about the cost of living crisis

Arguably one of the most immediate issues affecting people’s lives is the cost of living, and Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have been grilled over their plans to curb soaring prices.

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Ms Truss said: “As Prime Minister, I will be putting money in people’s pockets from day one, driving growth and creating opportunity with a new growth plan.

“It is wrong that we currently have the highest tax burden in this country that we have had in 70 years.”

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Ms Truss also pledged to support rural communities with alignment plans to reduce the cost of homegrown food.

Mr Sunak drew on his experience as Chancellor to show voters he had already taken steps to remedy this, adding that “I will do more if the situation calls for it”.

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Sunak and Truss take part in a debate hosted by The Sun

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss face off in their second public debate. (Credit: PA)

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss face off in their second public debate.

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Hosted by The Sun and TalkTV, the public could send their questions directly to the candidates.

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Sunak and Truss assess Boris Johnson’s tenure

The debate was rounded off with a quick question and answer session by moderator Sophie Raworth.

She asked the two candidates how they would rate Boris Johnson’s time as Prime Minister of 10.

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Mrs. Truss quickly gave Mr. Johnson a seven.

Mr Sunak initially said Mr Johnson was doing a good job until he stumbled.

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He then explained that he would give the future former prime minister a 10 if he got Brexit done, receiving a round of applause from the audience.

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