UK PM race: Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss clash in first hustings

In a bid to succeed Boris Johnson as UK's next Prime Minister, British Foreign Secretary Liz Trus said that she would prefer not to impose further windfall taxes on oil and gas companies while former Chancellor Rishi Sunak backtracked by putting forward the idea of scrapping VAT on energy bills to revive the country's economy and control the inflation if he is elected as the next PM.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak spelled out their vision of leadership as they clashed in the first official grilling in the presence of conservative party members in Leeds on Thursday. Both contenders have to undergo bouts of 12 nationwide events as the first bout took place in Leeds, Northern England as the members elect a new leader.The result will be announced on Sept 5.

Former Chancellor Sunak faced a tough evening during the hustings for his lifestyle and dishonesty towards PM Boris Johnson whereas Truss had a fairly good time as she was backed by maximum support for the Prime Ministerial candidature.

Truss is leading in surveys of Tory members after vowing immediate tax cuts as Britain confronts a slump in living standards.

Speaking to party members, she also pledged to get the Northern Powerhouse rail built, saying Leeds is the "largest city in Europe without its own metro system".

On the other hand, Rishi Sunak, when asked about tax hikes and Truss leading the race after she announced immediate tax cuts, he said, "In the face of challenges, understand to get a grip of inflation and borrowing first," adding that the government has already tried having low corporation tax to get businesses to invest and it hasn't worked.

On Foreign Policy, both the candidates underlined that they will continue to support war-torn Ukraine and resist the authoritarian rise of China.
Responding to a question on whether he would give the role of envoy to Ukraine to Johnson, Sunak said that he cannot commit to it and confirmed there will not be a role in the cabinet for the former PM as he no longer has the confidence of his party.


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