Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss appeared in Darlington for the latest Tory leadership hustings to discuss issues including the cost of living and the war in Ukraine
The candidates appeared at a Hustings event in the north-east city to answer questions from members of the Cosverative party, who will soon be voting to elect the UK’s next Prime Minister.
Hustings host Tom Newton Dunn also grilled the couple on a variety of topics including the cost of living, immigration and leveling up.
Here’s everything you need to know about what was said at the Darlington Hustings.
What did Rishi Sunak say at the Darlington Hustings?
Rishi Sunak told the audience that he would “get a grip” on illegal channel crossings if he were elected prime minister.
He said: “I have devised a bold and radical plan to finally tackle illegal migration. Because for too long we have all seen scenes on our television screens that are simply unacceptable from people coming here illegally.
“Now, with my plan and under my leadership, we will finally get a handle on this situation, stop the boats, restore confidence and regain control of our borders.”
In addition, he told voters that he plans to rebuild the economy by fighting inflation.
He told voters that cash payments to all households to cover living expenses would not be offered again, but would only support the most vulnerable.
Mr Sunak said: I don’t think that will be necessary because what we are talking about now…is the additional increase on top of what we thought.
“And we were already thinking the bills would jump to £3,000 when we announced this support.”
He added: “I want to go further than before because the situation is worse. It is right that we direct this towards the people who need our help most.”
Mr Sunak also told the audience he had plans to level areas like Darlington and the North East, saying: “I put the Treasury up in Darlington because I wanted to send a loud message to Whitehall that there is more to the North than Manchester. And I’ll tell you this… if that works, it’s not just going to be called the Treasury Campus in Darlington, it’s going to be called the Downing Street Campus in Darlington.”
What did Liz Truss say at the Darlington Hustings?
Like Mr Sunak, Ms Truss pledged to crack down on immigrant and asylum seekers.
She told voters in Darlington that she supports Home Secretary Priti Patel’s controversial Rwanda policy and urged the Government to go further.
Ms Truss said: “I worked with Priti Patel on the Rwanda programme.
“It’s the right system but we need to extend it to more countries and we also need to legislate to ensure the UK’s Bill of Rights cannot be overridden by the ECHR and we are able to set our own borders to control.”
The Foreign Minister also stressed the importance of the Conservative Party retaining control of the “Red Wall” seats at the next general election.
She said: “As Blair himself would say, things can only get better. If you choose me as your Prime Minister, I will work to take new seats in the North East – Wansbeck, I will work to take Sunderland and I will work to win big. And I know we can do it.”
Ms Truss appeared to be slyly attacking Mr Sunak’s anti-inflation plans, branding the £400 cost-of-living handouts as “Gordon Brown Economics”.
She added that lower taxation would allow people to keep more of their wages as the cost of living rises, saying: “We face a lot of trouble with energy. I understand that people are struggling with their fuel and food bills, but the first thing we should do as Conservatives is help people have more of their own money.
“What I don’t support is taking money from people’s taxes and then giving it back to them in handouts. That, to me, is Gordon Brown’s economics.
“Honestly we had that under Labor for years and what we got was a slow growing economy and we didn’t get the opportunities, we didn’t get the company, we didn’t get the new jobs in places like Darlington, which is one of the reasons why people voted conservative.
“They voted the Conservatives because they want to see entrepreneurship, they want to see new opportunities and that’s why it’s so important that we don’t raise taxes, keep taxes down and also get rid of those EU rules that are reluctant to invest in ours Country.”