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Truss-Sunak live: Labor says foreign secretary’s tax cut pledges do not stack up as Tory candidates prepare for first TV debate

When will the next Conservative Party leader be announced?

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said promises of big tax cuts must be backed by plans to show where the money will come from.

Ms Reeves was responding to Sky’s Kay Burley who asked if Liz Truss can cut taxes by £30 billion, following the foreign secretary’s latest pledges for the economy if she wins the leadership race.

The shadow chancellor replied: “I don’t see how those numbers stack up.”

She added: “I don’t think that either candidate are being responsible in saying how they’re going to fund the things that they are promising.”

Meanwhile, a new poll that asked Conservative voters who would be the best person for prime minister has seen Boris Johnson come out on top.

The current prime minister beat both Rishi Sunak and Ms Truss who are preparing for their first TV head-to-head debate on BBC tonight at 9pm, with many of the 160,000 Tory members likely to vote as soon as ballot papers arrive next week.


Keir Starmer brands Tory leadership race as ‘Thatcherite cosplay’

Labor leader Keir Starmer is due to make a speech in Liverpool for his party’s policy on growth.

According to extracts from his speech released in advance, he will describe the Tory leadership race as a “Thatcherite cosplay”.

He will say: “You will see a clear contrast between my Labor party and the Thatcherite cosplay on display tonight [in the Tory leadership debate. The difference between a Labour party ready to take Britain forward. And a Tory party that wants to take us back into the past.

“Between Labour growth and Tory stagnation. That will be the choice at the next election and we are ready.”


Education secretary does not rule out supporting Boris Johnson returning to Cabinet

Education secretary James Cleverly said he does not rule out supporting Boris Johnson returning to the Cabinet, but that it is not a decision for him to take.

Asked on Sky News if Mr Johnson should get a senior role in Government, Mr Cleverly said: “He’s an incredibly talented politician. Whether he would want to serve after the bruising that he’s got at moment that might be another matter, but it’s not for me to start dictating to Liz (Truss) who she puts into her Cabinet.”

He added: “I would be comfortable if she is.”


Nadine Dorries mocks Sunak over designer clothing

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has mocked Rishi Sunak over his expensive taste in clothing.

Ms Dorries, a supporter of Mr Sunak’s leadership rival Liz Truss, pointed to reports that the millionaire former chancellor has been pictured wearing a £3,500 suit and £490 Prada shoes.

She said Foreign Secretary Ms Truss is more likely to be seen in a pair of £4.50 earrings from high street chain Claire’s.

It is the latest sign of the bitter, highly personal nature of the Tory leadership battle.

Mr Sunak was seen wearing a Henry Herbert suit – worth a reported £3,500 – ahead of the vote which saw him and Ms Truss selected by Tory MPs as the final two candidates to be the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister.

His choice of Prada shoes on a visit to a construction site in Redcar also caught Ms Dorries’ attention.

The Culture Secretary said Ms Truss “will be travelling the country wearing her earrings which cost circa £4.50 from Claire (sic) Accessories.

“Meanwhile… Rishi visits Teeside (sic) in Prada shoes worth £450 and sported £3,500 bespoke suit as he prepared for crunch leadership vote.”

Guildford MP Angela Richardson, a supporter of Mr Sunak, shot back: “FFS (for f***’s sake) Nadine! Muted.”


Rachel Reeves MP says Tory leadership candidates must say how they will fund their promises

Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has said promises of big tax cuts must be backed by plans to show where the money will come from.

Ms Reeves was responding to Sky’s Kay Burley who asked if Ms Truss can cut taxes by £30 billion.

The shadow chancellor replied: “I don’t see how those numbers stack up.”

She added: “I don’t think that either candidate are being responsible in saying how they’re going to fund the things that they are promising.”


Education secretary defends Truss’ taxation plans

Education secretary James Cleverly has defended Liz Truss’s taxation plans and said he would not want to see interest rates at 7%.

Speaking to Sky News, he said it is about “maximising the growth in the economy” and reducing pressures on families.

Asked about the policy being questioned by the Office for Budget Responsibility, he said: “Of course we listen to it… but ultimately it’s the decision of politicians, which are then implemented by officials. It shouldn’t be the other way around. It should not be officials telling politicians what they should and should not do policy-wise.”

He said he does have respect for economist Patrick Minford, but added: “Ultimately it’s for politicians to make the decisions on this.”

Asked if 7% interest rates would be acceptable, he said: “Ultimately we want to keep interest rates modest.

“A big jump in interest rates will hit people who are already finding bills difficult, and that’s not what we want to see. But ultimately what we need to do is make sure that we have that economic boost.”

Challenged again on the potential for 7% interest rates under Ms Truss’s plan, he said: “Of course we wouldn’t want to see 7% interest rates.”

He said no prime minister can guarantee what interest rates will be in the future, but added: “Tax decreases will stimulate economic growth. That has got to be the foundation stone.”


Labour will not nationalise rail, water or energy, Rachel Reeves says

Labour will not go into the next election promising to take private rail, energy or water companies back under public ownership, Rachael Reeves has said.

The shadow chancellor said the policies were not compatible with new “fiscal rules” she would introduce to restrain public spending.

At the 2017 and 2019 election Labour promised to bring the sectors into public ownership to help with the cost of living and drive down fares and bills.

But asked whether she was still committed to the policies, Rachel Reeves said they had been replaced by ideas like reforms to business rates and a “buy British” campaign.

Our policy correspondent, Jon Stone, has more:


Rishi Sunak says China is ‘biggest threat’ to UK as he promises new curbs on Beijing

Rishi Sunak has promised to ban China’s controversial Confucius Institutes from the UK, labelling the country the “biggest-long term threat to Britain”.

The announcement would signal a major hardening of government policy on China if Mr Sunak becomes the next prime minister, following pressure from a vocal caucus of Tory backbencher, Dominic McGrath writes.

In recent months Mr Sunak’s Tory leadership rival Liz Truss has also taken an increasingly hardline approach on China in her role as foreign secretary.

This latest announcement will be seen as a move to firm up the former chancellor’s national security credentials, as he promises to close all 30 of China’s Confucius Institutes in the UK.


Sunak’s campaign for asylum seekers could be a ‘negative thing’ for holiday destinations, James Cleverly says

Education Secretary James Cleverly said a suggestion from Rishi Sunak’s campaign that asylum seekers could be housed on cruise ships could be “reputationally quite a negative thing” for holiday destinations if the ships are moored nearby.

Asked about putting people seeking asylum on disused cruise ships, Mr Cleverly told Times Radio: “It’s understandable that (Mr Sunak) needs to put across a strong position on migration issues. I get that.”

He added: “I haven’t seen the practicalities of that. I do think that it would be interesting to see where those ships would be moored because typically the places where you can moor a cruise ship are holiday destinations.

“And I’m not completely sure that that would suit the tourist industry in our coastal towns which need I think a boost rather than what might be reputationally quite a negative thing, but I will look at that.”

Mr Cleverly added: “What we have seen is Liz has consistently taken a strong line on these things, the Foreign Office was of course heavily involved in the negotiation of the Rwanda scheme.

“Liz Truss has said she is going to extend that to other countries. She has got pre-existing and very strong relationships with a number of other countries around the world, and I think that is a very credible plan.”


Sunak understands NHS crisis and calls it an ‘emergency,’ Jeremy Hunt says

Rishi Sunak is the first of the two Tory leadership candidates to speak about the NHS and call it an “emergency”, the Jeremy Hunt MP has said.

He told Sky News this morning: “Only Conservative governments take the tough and difficult long-term decisions the country needs and [Sunak] was prepared to say publicly that we can’t afford to take unfunded tax cuts, and I thought that was very brave.”

Watch the full clip here:


Education secretary says Truss has ‘taken a firm line’ on China’s influence

Education secretary James Cleverly said Liz Truss has been talking about addressing the influence of China for “quite some time”, and suggested the issue is new for Rishi Sunak’s campaign.

Mr Cleverly, who is backing Ms Truss in the Tory leadership election, was asked on Times Radio if Confucius Institutes should be banned.

He said Ms Truss “you have taken a firm line on China’s influence globally”.

He said: “She’s been talking about these for a long time. So I’m very glad that Rishi’s now talking about the issues that Liz has been talking about for quite some time, and of course we do need to look at China’s influence, not just on the world stage but here in the UK.”

Asked again about potentially removing the institutes in the UK, he said: “I’m in a position as education secretary where it would be unwise for me to make significant policy announcements in response to the positions that have been put out through a leadership campaign .

“We do of course, and I would say we have already been looking at the influence that China has in our education system. This is not new, it might be new to the people on Rishi’s campaign team, but it’s not new to anyone that’s worked in the education or the Foreign Office.”

Funded by the Chinese government, Confucius Institutes are ostensibly culture and language centers but critics have labeled them propaganda tools.

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