Both contenders for the Tory leadership faced a wide range of issues in the first formal bidding with Tory members in Leeds.
broadcast by LBC and hosted by Nick Ferrari, it was the first of 12 official actions in which party members across the country asked their questions to the last two candidates before voting for the next party leader and prime minister closes on 2 September.
Both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were represented on stage by supportive MPs, with former Conservative Minister David Davis opening for Mr Sunak and Education Secretary James Cleverley representing Ms Truss.
Here are the key points brought up during the two-hour hunt.
– Some members of the Conservative Party expressed support for the inclusion of Boris Johnson on the ballot.
Part of the audience applauded when the host mentioned support for Boris Johnson being on the leadership ballot.
Mr Ferrari cited reports that some 14,000 members of the Conservative Party wanted Mr Johnson’s name on the ballot.
Asked what he would say to those members, Mr Sunak said: “I would tell them that I think about 60 people have resigned in parliament and it is the duty of the prime minister to gain the confidence of the parliamentary party and that is not there at the end.
“So, whether he’s on the ballot or not, ultimately you have to be able to have the confidence of your MPs in Parliament, and we’ve gotten to the point where about 60 of them have left the government.”
– Taxes continued to be a significant dividing line between the two
Mr. Sunak told the crowd, “We will reduce the VAT on fuel. But what I won’t do is go on a rampage, borrowing tens and tens of billions of pounds of unsecured promises, putting them on the country’s credit card and handing them over to our children and our grandchildren to pay the bills.
“It’s not right. It’s not responsible and certainly not conservative. But, of course, once we curb inflation and make sure mortgage rates don’t go up and hurt people, I’m going to cut taxes.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Truss criticized the contingency taxes Mr. Sunak imposed on energy companies as a one-time measure as chancellor.
Ms Truss said: “I don’t believe in windfall taxes because they delay future investment. What we have to do is encourage Shell and other companies to invest in the UK because we need to increase our productivity, we need capital investment.
“What I would do is create investment zones with low taxes, encouraging these companies to invest in our country.
“I think windfall taxes are sending the wrong signal to the world. They don’t make it clear that the UK is open for business. And actually what we need to do now is use more of our North Sea reserves to help people with a living wage and that’s what I would do along with a temporary moratorium on clean energy fees to really help. people with their accounts. ”
“Miss Truss avoided being accused of potential inheritance tax changes.
Asked what she would do about inheritance tax, Ms Truss replied: “I think our tax system in Britain is not working. It’s too complicated… so I would do a full review of the tax system.
“I want to make it more fair for families, so if people spend their free time caring for children or elderly relatives, they are not punished. And I would also consider inheritance tax as part of this review.”
Pressing on what she meant by “look at,” Ms Truss said, “I mean, I would look at the overall tax system in the round and make sure it’s fair. And my point of view on fairness is that we should reward people who do the right thing, work hard, create businesses, earn money and want to pass it on to their children.”
– Mr Sunak denied that his plans to eliminate VAT on energy were a U-turn
He was asked: “Last week it was non-conservative, now it’s politics, are you tumbling and flopping?”
He said, “Oh hell no. Absolutely not.”
“Now, as you can see on the news, people’s expectations of what will happen to the fall energy bills have risen. And so it makes sense that we can do more. And this is the policy that I would implement if I were elected prime minister. But this is temporary and time-limited support,” he said.
He added: “What is non-conservative is a permanent unfunded tax cut. There is a big difference between things that are temporary to solve a short term problem and constantly borrowing £40bn, £50bn every year and not paying for it.”
– Miss Truss watched “Love Island” on ITV and was “horrified”.
Miss Truss said: “I watched it for 10 minutes with my teenage daughter, I was completely horrified and turned it off.”
– Rishi Sunak supported the gymnasiums
When asked if he would support “the return of the gymnasiums,” Mr. Sunak replied, “Yes.”
He added: “I believe in the excellence of education, I believe that education is the most powerful way to change people’s lives. But I also think that we can do a lot with the school system that we have.
“What Michael Gove did a few years ago changed me. And Michael has taken on some vested interests, defied consensus, put in place some reforms that mean millions of our children are now better off.
“But this is the conservative way to do it. This is not about putting more money into a problem, but about reforming the system to get better results. And that’s what I would do with education.”
It is understood that Mr. Sunak supports the expansion of existing high schools in local areas.
– Miss Truss said she would bring back the whips’ office at 12 Downing Street.
“We know there is a real need to improve discipline in the Conservative Party and also to support the welfare of our MPs,” she said, adding: “I want to support our MPs more.
“But I also want to make sure that when a problem arises, we address it early and resolve it quickly. And one of the things I would do as prime minister is move the whips’ office back to 12 Downing Street.
“They were moved from 12 Downing Street by Alastair Campbell and replaced by the press office, which shows the priorities of the Blair government.
“But we need to show that parliamentary democracy is important to us and deputies are important, and we need the restoration of standards, discipline, and also support.”
– Mr Sunak said he would not support moving the House of Lords.
He said, “I don’t think it makes sense for the practical work of government to be divided.”
– Mr. Sunak admitted he was behind Ms. Truss in the polls, but vowed to fight for every vote.
He said: “We will have to reach out to swing voters in all parts of our country. And I believe with all my heart that I am the person, I am the candidate who gives our party the best opportunity to secure this victory.”
But he acknowledged that the polls show he is behind in the race, although he said: “I will fight for every vote.”