Tory leadership race: Rishi Sunak says he is ‘oppressed’ as Liz Truss blames France for Dover travel chaos | Political news
The battle to be the next leader of the Conservative Party – and Prime Minister of the UK – continued on Saturday.
Rishi Sunak gave a speech in Margaret Thatcher’s hometown of Grantham, setting out his stand to members of the Conservative party, branding himself as an ‘outsider’.
Meanwhile, Liz Truss blamed France for the chain’s troubles which saw massive traffic jams in Kent.
Both candidates’ campaign heats up as they battle for the top job.
Politics Hub: Sunak and Truss still unpopular with the general public
They have until September 2 to convince cardholders of the Conservative Party to vote for them.
The exact size of this electorate is unknown, but numbered around 160,000 in 2019.
Launching his membership campaign, Mr Sunak said: “All the evidence is clear, I am the only person who can beat Labour. I am the only candidate who can protect the union and I am the only candidate who can secure Brexit security.
“Today my campaign with party members begins. My campaign will represent the best of Conservative values. I will give my all to win every vote, but have no doubt – I am the underdog.
“The forces that want it to be a coronation for the other candidate. But I think MPs want a choice and they are ready to listen and in the next few days they will see that I am not just proposing change… I propose I hope we can be better.”
And he revealed his plans to “make the most of our COVID response and apply those lessons to eliminate massive NHS backlogs”.
Mr Sunak went on to say that Ms Truss’ plan to cut taxes while inflation is high is “wrong” and immoral and will lead to higher mortgages.
When this was put to Ms Truss, she said: “I think it’s wrong to take money from people we don’t need to take.
“When people across the country grapple with the cost of living crisis.”
Mr Sunak had also hinted that Ms Truss was not being honest about the economy.
She said: “I’m very honest about the situation – we’re facing the biggest economic crisis we’ve seen in a generation and now is not the time for business as usual.”
On the NHS, Ms Truss said she would appoint a “strong” health secretary – and that a strong economy would be needed to solve the backlogs.
Ms Truss, who is Foreign Secretary, was asked about the situation in Kent, which has seen chaos as people attempt to cross the English Channel.
She said it was because the French authorities had “not put enough people on the border”, and denied it was due to Brexit.
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Pierre-Henri Dumont, the Republican MP for Calais, told Sky News that “almost 100%” of the Port of Dover kiosks allocated to French police were full on Friday.
He said: “Because of Brexit we need to have more checks on passports, we need to stamp every passport, we need to check who is entering the European Union – something we didn’t have to do before Brexit.”
Sky News also announced that it would host a live televised debate between Mr Sunak and Ms Truss on Thursday August 4, hosted by Kay Burley.