Sink and Truss will battle for votes as the Tory leadership campaign heats up.


ishi Sunak and Liz Truss are set to top the latest Tory leadership as the race for the top job heats up.

Tax and spending are likely to be key points of contention as the hopefuls embark on their summer tour of the country, taking questions from party members who will ultimately decide who holds the keys to No 10 in September.

Other possible topics for debate include immigration, identity politics, Brexit, defence, climate change and the NHS.

Mr Sink will try to regain his footing after being accused of “flip-flopping” over his fiscal policy, as he repeatedly dismissed Ms Truss’ tax cut plans as “comforting fairy tales”. Despite the branding, it promised to temporarily reduce VAT on energy bills.

He said he would remove VAT from household energy bills for a year if the price threshold, currently less than £2,000 for the average home, rises above £3,000, as experts predict.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Secretary said she welcomed the pledge but challenged her rival to “do more” and reverse the increase in National Insurance.

She said during a visit to Romford: “I welcome the fact that they are now saying we should cut taxes because that’s what we need to do.

“I want to see more. I want to see him roll back the National Insurance increase because that National Insurance increase is going into the pockets of families.

Mr Sink rejected calls for a VAT cut in energy bills in February, telling the Commons that there would be “no guarantee that suppliers will give discounts to all customers”.

Meanwhile, in a video clip on Twitter, the former chancellor said he had “another great day” campaigning in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.

He told his followers: “We’re talking about everything on people’s minds, from dealing with the cost of living, to how we realized the benefits of Brexit.”

Former chief whip Mark Harper, who is backing Mr Sink, defended the former chancellor’s decision to announce his pledge to cut VAT at this stage in the contest.

Asked why Mr Sink did not open his campaign with the plans, he told BBC Newsnight: “They’ve announced it because it looks like energy prices will rise by several hundred pounds. Maybe more than we thought.

“And he’s always said very consistently that if he needs to do more, he will.

“And he has announced this particular policy now in part to give the people listening to the program at home peace of mind that if he is elected prime minister, he will in fact always support him as much as he does. They did it during the pandemic.”

Later, Mr Sink announced plans to criminalize “downblowing” as part of a larger crackdown on sex offenders to protect women and girls.

Ms Truss has also promised to introduce a stand-alone offense to criminalize street harassment, and a national domestic abuse register.

Foreign Secretary and Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss (PA/Aaron Chown) / PA Wire

Hastings is the first of 12 opportunities for Tory MPs to question the final two candidates before voting closes on September 2, and a key moment for the pair to drum up support for their campaigns, after bitter clashes over policy. Will be.

The event will be held in Leeds, with Ms Truss expected to meet voters in the city in the morning.

It comes as mayors from across England have written to both contenders to express their concerns about the Government’s plans for Northern Transport.

Andy Burnham, Tracy Braban, Steve Rotheram, Oliver Coppard and Jamie Driscoll asked the winning candidate to meet with them to agree “a better way forward for the North”.

“This is a momentous decision that will affect the lives of future generations of northerners. We owe it to them to show the highest possible ambition for what the north of England can be in the future,” he wrote. .