Rishi Sink vowed that London would be the engine room of our drive to equalize Britain.

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Ashwin has pledged to help London’s economy thrive as he and Liz Truss prepare for their first direct pitch to Conservative MPs.

Speaking ahead of Thursday night’s hustings event in Leeds, the former chancellor told the Meczyki that the government’s flagship leveling-up agenda would not mean leveling the capital.

“As chancellor I championed the industries that make London special,” Mr Sink said. “Whether it’s hospitality with all the support it’s received during the pandemic or whether it’s financial services and making sure the city remains the most competitive place in the world, I support it to succeed. I want to continue.”

This evening’s event at Leeds United’s Elland Road football ground is the first of 12 hustings to be held across the country over the next five weeks, before around 160,000 Tory members vote for their next leader and Britain’s new leader until September 5. will choose the Prime Minister.

After Monday night’s fierce live BBC TV debate, Ms Truss and Mr Sink are under pressure to stop the “blue-on-blue” attacks which Tory grandees say have been gifted to Labour. .

But ahead of the hustings, Culture Secretary and Truss supporter Nadine Dorries risked further inflaming tensions as she accused the former chancellor of being out of touch with ordinary voters.

Ms Dorries caused a storm earlier this week when she tweeted newspaper reports that the former chancellor had worn a £3,500 bespoke suit and £450 Prada loafers while attending a campaign event in the north-east of England. . She also compared Mr Sink’s wardrobe to Ms Truss’s choice of earrings which she said came from Claire’s Accessories and cost £4.50.

Asked about her comments on BBC Breakfast, Ms Dorries said she stood by them and added: “It’s about decisions and about who voters can relate to. And who do voters think walks in their shoes and understands their lives?

“I believe the polls have shown … that voters believe Liz Truss is someone who is more in touch with their lives. You can be the richest man or woman in the world, that’s what makes you a minister. Doesn’t stop you from being great at all. But what you have to do is understand and relate to the lives that people lead.

He later accused Mr Sink of being behind a “brutal coup” to oust Boris Johnson as prime minister, and attacked him during a controversial televised BBC debate on Monday. Criticized for “humanist rhetoric”.

With Mr Sink trailing in early polls of Tory members – many of whom are expected to vote as soon as they receive their ballot papers next week – the former chancellor is running out of time to close the gap on Ms Truss. is facing a race against

Both contenders have pledged to stick to the Prime Minister’s flagship plans to level the country, with the Foreign Secretary announcing this morning that she will revive plans for a Northern Powerhouse rail line from Liverpool to Leeds.

But London business leaders fear whoever becomes prime minister will ignore the capital’s economy as it bounces back from the damage caused by the pandemic.

Last week the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry wrote to both claimants urging them not to ignore deprivation in the capital as it looks to tackle inequality across the UK.

“Leveling up should mean business start-ups and business growth in disadvantaged areas of London, as well as helping to catch up with the rest of the country,” wrote LCCI chief executive Richard Bridge.

But Mr Sink said: “My background is in innovation and I want to make sure this is the most innovative economy in the world and London has a fantastic track record of creating world-class businesses and I know What it takes to create the environment for that business to succeed.

“Whether it’s reforming our high-skill visa system to attract the best and brightest from around the world to come and work in these companies or start these companies. are getting the capital they need to grow and expand.”

London business chiefs are also calling on Tory leadership contenders to bolster the capital’s economic recovery with a long-term funding settlement for Transport for London.

Mr Sink told the Standard he was open to the idea of ​​negotiating a long-term deal for TfL if he won the race for No 10 but added: “I will also make sure that we, the Mayor Hold TfL to account for what has happened in the past. A few years. And it is true that London taxpayers get good value for the money they are paying.

The former chancellor sought to boost his bid for No. 10 this week by announcing plans to cut VAT on energy bills, a move that sparked claims of a U-turn.

But with Ms Truss offering wider tax cuts to boost economic growth, she insisted she would not change her tough stance on the economy even if it made it harder for her to win over voters.