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Liz Truss vs Rishi Sunak news: Foreign secretary faces fresh questions over ‘Fizz with Liz’ champagne dinner

Tory leadership race: Liz Truss insists U-turn over regional pay policy shows she is ‘decisive

Liz Truss is embroiled in fresh controversy after a leaked email left her facing questions about why she did not declare thousands of pounds spent on schmoozing 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.

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

when The Independent asked why Ms Truss has not declared the function – worth an estimated £3,000 – in the Commons register, where MPs are obliged to disclose hospitality worth more than £300, her spokesperson denied she had organized it.

It had “nothing to do with her,” they said. Ms Truss was merely one of a number of Conservative MP guests invited by “organiser and host” Mr Birley, the spokesperson said.

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”.

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Sunak and Truss clash over tax plans ahead of debate

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 rival foreign secretary 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 spiraling prices.

Read the details in this report:

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Truss campaign bounces back afer embarrassing U-turn

Liz Truss has bounced back from an embarrassing U-turn to revitalize 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 favor of Ms Truss.

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

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

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

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Sunak hints at reducing inheritance tax if elected as prime minister

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 the 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:

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Foreign secretary embroiled in controversy over ‘Fizz with Liz’

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 organizing the event. They said, it had “nothing to do with her de ella” 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:

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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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