British Conservative frontrunner Liz Truss won another heavyweight on Monday, as Tory members began a month of voting to decide the next resident of 10 Downing Street.
Rishi Sunak, Truss’ lagging rival, has been vying to make up for lost ground with a plan for future tax cuts — and possibly to fund a future women’s World Cup in Britain after England’s “Lionesses” win the European Championship had won.
Truss attended the final against Germany on Sunday, and an English football team’s first win in a major tournament since 1966 wiped Sunak’s long-term tax cut plan from all fronts except The Daily Telegraph.
The Conservative Party contenders would go head-to-head later Monday in a members’ rally in the southwestern city of Exeter – the second of 12 such events before the winner is announced on September 5.
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Sunak, a polished debater, must regain momentum after Truss steams in a strong poll on a platform of immediate tax cuts to tackle Britain’s worst cost of living crisis in generations.
Finance Minister Nadhim Zahawi joined other prominent figures in Boris Johnson’s cabinet in backing the Secretary of State against Sunak, his predecessor in the Treasury.
“Liz understands that the status quo is not an option in times of crisis,” Zahawi wrote in the Telegraphan attack on Sunak’s plan to prioritize fighting inflation now, before lowering taxes later.
“We need a ‘booster’ attitude to the economy, not a ‘doomster’ attitude, to address the cost of living issues and the challenges on the global stage,” said the new chancellor .
Sunak’s resignation from scandal-tainted Johnson’s cabinet helped spark a ministerial exodus that the prime minister forced last month.
When they started receiving postal and online voting forms, pollsters said a large portion of the 200,000 or so Tory members harbored a complaint against Sunak – a complaint shared by Johnson.
The prime minister is not formally taking sides, but has informed his aides that he plans to give his successor some words of advice, “whoever she may be,” the Prime Minister said. Sunday Times reported.
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Despite her support from the likes of Zahawi, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Tory centrist Tom Tugendhat, Truss has warned against complacency.
Heading into the chase for Exeter, the Foreign Secretary has made significant improvements in her sometimes robotic public delivery – most infamously seen in a 2014 speech when she was Environment Minister.
Returning to her former field, the Remainer-in-Brexit fanatic this weekend pledged to “let go” farmers from European Union regulations to improve the UK’s food security.
Truss also pledged to address the agricultural labor shortage caused in part by post-Brexit restrictions on immigration that have forced British farmers to rot fruit in the fields and slaughter healthy pigs.
And Truss unveiled a plan for education, swearing that all students with the best grades would automatically be invited to apply to Oxford, Cambridge or other prestigious universities.
Both Truss and Sunak went to Oxford — in her case after attending a state school in the northern city of Leeds, which she says disappointed too many students by not pushing them to excel.
Both contenders have stressed the need for unity once the elections are over, aware that the opposition Labor party is high in the polls amid the economic crisis and Johnson’s political turmoil.
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But their supporters have not held back, especially Truss’s combative ally Nadine Dorries.
The culture secretary retweeted an image of Johnson as Julius Caesar being stabbed in the back by Sunak.
Last year, Conservative MP David Amess was stabbed to death by an Islamic State follower.
In view of that, Dorries’ retweet was “tasteless and even verging on dangerous,” said Sunak supporter Greg Hands. Sky News.