- Candidates Exhange Words In First TV Debate
The epic race to number 10, Downing Street between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss continues to trigger anxiety among the British public as the two candidates took on each other in their first head-to-head TV debate, late Monday.
The contest for Conservative Party leader is down to Sunak and Truss as members of the UK Parliament had previously scaled down the pack of aspirants after multiple rounds of voting to decide who replaces outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a time Britons are suffering from record inflation and energy crisis occasioned by the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war.
The New Diplomat had earlier reported that the final decision as per the new UK Prime Minister will be made after an election by members of the Conservative Party, with the result announced on 5 September.
While Truss is the UK Foreign Secretary, Sunak of Indian origin is a former Chancellor who recently resigned his appointment to protest what was termed as ‘bad leadership’ by PM Johnson, following scandals that rocked his government.
During a live debate powered by BBC, Monday, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss clashed over their rival visions for the future of the UK economy.
The two contenders to be the next PM did not hold back from “blue-on-blue” attacks.
While Sunak told Truss her tax cut plan would “tip millions of people into misery” and cost the Conservatives the next election, Truss said tax rises brought in by him would lead to a recession.
The foreign secretary and former chancellor, who until three weeks ago were in the same cabinet, talked over each other at times and shot angry glances across the stage at Stoke-on-Trent’s Victoria Hall, according to the BBC.
It was reported that there were complaints afterwards by Ms Truss’s supporters that the ex-chancellor was being too aggressive and was “mansplaining” – something fiercely denied by the Sunak camp.
“The pair were on better terms by the end of the debate, with Ms Truss saying she would “love” to have Mr Sunak on her team if she becomes PM. The ex-chancellor praised her stance on Russia.
Ms Truss wants to scrap the rise to National Insurance, a planned rise in corporation tax and would temporarily scrap green levies on energy bills to be paid for through borrowing.
Mr Sunak says he would not cut taxes until inflation was under control.
Mr Sunak – who quit as chancellor earlier this month – said the coronavirus pandemic had created a large bill and that putting it on the “country’s credit card” would “pass the tab to our children and grandchildren”.
Ms Truss insisted that under her plans the UK would start paying down the debt in three year’s time – and paying it back straight away as Mr Sunak wanted to do would push the UK into a recession.
Mr Sunak suggested her plans would lead to higher interest rates, but the foreign secretary dismiss this as “scaremongering” and “project fear” – an echo of the criticism aimed at the Remain campaign during Brexit referendum.
Mr Sunak took this opportunity to point out that, unlike him, Ms Truss campaigned against Brexit.
“Maybe I learnt from that,” she replied. She later said the Brexit referendum was when she had learnt not to trust Treasury forecasts on the economy.
With News Wires