Tory leadership latest: Liz Truss denies tax cut ‘gamble’ of over £30bn would fuel inflation

Watch: Boris Johnson’s government wins confidence with 349 votes

Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss has admitted her plan to cut taxes would cost the UK £30bn-£38bn a year – but denied such borrowing would fuel inflation.

In comments that surprised experts, Ms Truss said: “My tax cuts will decrease inflation … It’s not a gamble.”

Asked on Radio 4’s Today programme to identify leading economists who agreed with her approach, Ms Truss, who has come under fire from rival Rishi Sunak over her tax-cutting proposal, named the right-wing Brexiteer Patrick Minford.

This week the International Monetary Fund’s UK head warned against tax cuts, suggesting they might boost inflation.

The foreign secretary also said she would have liked Boris Johnson to continue as Prime Minister – despite promising to tear up the economic plans he presided over.

And she said she had been wrong to back remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Meanwhile, the former chancellor declared himself as a Thatcherite. The pair will try to win over the support of local politicians today when they participate in the private hustings for the Conservative Councillors’ Association.

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Truss brands Thatcher claims ‘sexist and frustrating’

Ms Truss has denied that she has been modelling herself on former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, suggesting comparisons to the former Tory leader were sexist. It was “frustrating that female politicians always get compared to Margaret Thatcher”, she said. Thomas Kingsley reports:

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Badger-cull protesters greet Truss

Ms Truss was met by badger-cull protesters as she arrived for a hustings with Conservative councillors.

The leadership contender smiled as she walked into the Local Government Association’s offices in Westminster, but questions by reporters were drowned out by the noisy demonstration.

A dozen protesters, one wearing a badger costume, chanted: “Save our badgers, stop the cull”, as Ms Truss walked past.

As environment secretary, she reportedly changed the badger licensing criteria so that the badger cull could be rolled out.

Ms Truss‘s rival, Rishi Sunak, was still being grilled by local government politicians in a private session inside.

(Getty Images)

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Journalists share bespoke Ready for Rishi merchandise as the Tory leader hopeful begins his hustings campaign in Westminster today

A box provided to reporters includes a can of Coco cola, a chocolate bar and a customised bottle of factor-50 sun lotion.

A message in the box reads: “Looking forward to seeing you out on the road. Just a little something to make sure you protect yourself in this hot weather.

“After all, we wouldn’t want anyone going red.”

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Liz Truss arrives for a hustings event in Westminster

Tory leadership contender Liz Truss was met by badger-cull protesters as she arrived for a hustings with Conservative councillors.

The foreign secretary smiled as she walked into the Local Government Association’s offices in Westminster, but any questions by reporters were drowned out by the noisy demonstration.

A dozen protesters, one wearing a badger costume, chanted: “Save our badgers, stop the cull”, as Ms Truss walked past.

Ms Truss’s rival, Mr Sunak, was still being grilled by local government politicians in a private session inside, with Ms Truss up next.

(PA)

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Do you think Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will become the next prime minister?

The race is on for the keys to 10 Downing Street after the Tory leadership contenders were whittled down to the final two – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

On Wednesday, Penny Mordaunt was eliminated after a closely fought fifth round of voting saw her miss out on second place to Ms Truss by just eight votes.

Former chancellor Mr Sunak scooped 137 votes, Ms Truss 113 and Ms Mordaunt 105.

We want to know who you think will become Tory leader and subsequently the UK’s next prime minister – in our reader poll. Read more below on how to vote:

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Rishi Sunak arrives for a hustings event in Westminster

Tory leadership candidate Rishi Sunak greeted reporters as he arrived for a hustings with local government politicians.

The former chancellor smiled and said “morning”, but declined to answer any questions as he walked into the Local Government Association’s offices in Westminster for a behind-closed-doors session with Conservative councillors.

Mr Sunak and rival Liz Truss are holding the first in a series of summer hustings on Thursday morning, a day after making it into the Tory leadership run-off.

Arriving before Mr Sunak, Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark said: “We’ve got two very good candidates and I know and expect they’ll be very keen on levelling up.”

(PA)

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Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has said he is backing Rishi Sunak

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has said he is backing Rishi Sunak for prime minister after a “miserable” couple of weeks.

The senior backbencher – suspended after failing to turn up to back the government in a confidence vote – said he would throw his weight behind Sunak after backing defeated candidate Penny Mordaunt.

“What I’d like to see, I think, as I say, is absolute commitment to advancing Britain’s defence posture,” he told Times Radio.

“Given the challenges domestic and foreign, I think Rishi Sunak is probably best placed to take our country forward, and most importantly, to unite the party.”

He added: “This has been a miserable couple of weeks for the party itself. We’ve not showcased the ideas, the vision, and expressed to the electorate any justification for us to remain in government right now.”

(PA Archive)

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Liz Truss says she would keep PM’s wallpaper

Liz Truss has joked she will not have time to think about changing the wallpaper in Downing Street if she is elected prime minister.

The quip, a reference to Boris Johnson’s controversial refurbishment of his official Downing Street flat, came as the Foreign Secretary prepares to face off against rival Rishi Sunak in the last round of the Conservative leadership contest.

Ms Truss and the former chancellor will now face a vote of Tory Party members, after a series of ballots by Conservative MPs narrowed the contest down to the final two candidates.

Appearing on GB News, she was asked if she plans to remove the infamous gold wallpaper, reportedly part of the controversial overhaul which prompted questions about how the renovations were funded.

Recent reports suggested that the revamp could have cost around £200,000, prompting jokes in some quarters over the fate of any plush wallpaper now that Mr Johnson is set to leave No 10.

Ms Truss appeared to get in on the act, telling the programme that, if elected Tory leader by party members, she will not have time to think about such things.

“I’m not going to have the time to be thinking about the wallpaper in No 10, because we’ve only got two years until the general election – we need to hit the ground running,” she said.

(PA Wire)

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NEW: Boris Johnson could face by-election if suspended by Partygate inquiry, Commons Speaker confirms

Boris Johnson could face a recall petition which could trigger a by-election if he is suspended by MPs investigating whether he lied over Partygate, the Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle confirmed.

The cross-party Privileges Committee examining whether the prime minister mislead parliament over the scandal has set out the terms of their inquiry.

The Commons Speaker confirmed that the committee’s findings – if they deem Mr Johnson worthy of suspension – would fall within the remit of the Recall of MPs Act, following advice from a leading lawyer.

More below on the developing story:

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Truss hints at jobs for Sunak and defeated rivals

Liz Truss said she would happily serve under Rishi Sunak if he wins the Tory leadership contest and becomes the next PM.

Asked whether would she rule out working under his leadership, she told GB News: “No, I wouldn’t.”

So also hinted at jobs for Sunak and rivals if she wins the race to No 10. “We’ve had fantastic candidates present themselves, like Penny, Kemi, Tom Tugendhat and Rishi, and we need to make sure that those talents are being fully used.”

Former No 10 strategist Dominic Cummings claimed the PM quietly supported Truss’ campaign because he “knows she’s mad and thinks she’ll blow and he can make a comeback”.

Cummings said his former boss’s immediate priority was stopping Sunak. But he added: “He knows Truss is mad as a box of snakes and is thinking, ‘There’s a chance she blows, there’s another contest and I can return’.”

Liz Truss hints at jobs for Sunak and defeated rivals if she wins leadership bid

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