UK leadership candidates debate on TV

LONDON – The two candidates running for Britain’s next prime minister debated on Monday how to help struggling families with the rising cost of living, meeting in a challenging debate on television highlights the contrasting economic visions of rivals in the Conservative Party.

Secretary of State Liz Truss promised to cut taxes as soon as she took office, using the loan to pay. Former Treasurer Rishi Sunak said he would control inflation first, arguing that Truss’ plan would increase public debt and make people worse off in the long run.

Anger flared when Sunak said it was “unethical to ask our children to pick up bills we weren’t prepared to pay.”

Truss calls it “Project Fear” and says it makes sense to borrow to rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic, a “once every 100 years”.

The pair are battling to succeed Boris Johnson, who stepped down as leader of the ruling Conservative Party on July 7 after months of ethics scandal sparked a mass evacuation of ministers from his government. he. The campaign revealed deep divisions within the party as the party attempted to transition from Johnson’s position, but won the election.

Bookmakers say that Truss is the preferred choice to win. She outperformed Sunak in opinion polls of Conservative Party members – although Sunak has the upper hand among voters overall.

The winner will be chosen by some 180,000 Conservative Party members and will automatically become prime minister, running a country of 67 million people. Party members will vote over the summer, with the results announced on September 5. Johnson remains prime minister until a successor is chosen.

Truss, 46, and Sunak, 42, appealed to the Conservative Party by doubling down on policies that are said to attract Tory right-wing support, including a controversial plan to expel some asylum seekers went to Rwanda.

The government says the policy will prevent traffickers from taking migrants on dangerous journeys across the Channel. Political opponents, human rights groups and even some Conservative lawmakers say it’s immoral, illegal and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

The first scheduled flight of evictions was launched following legal rulings last month and the entire policy is now being challenged in UK courts.

Hardline policies such as the Rwanda plan are less popular with the general public than the Conservatives, but British voters will have no say over the government until the next national election takes place on Sunday. end of 2024.

The leadership election is taking place during a cost-of-living crisis caused by soaring food and energy prices, in part due to the war in Ukraine. While many countries are experiencing economic turmoil, in the UK it is compounded by the country’s departure from the European Union, which has a complicated business and travel relationship with its largest trading partner. of the United Kingdom.

Both Sunak and Truss are staunch supporters of Brexit, which is a special policy of the Johnson government.

Both denied Brexit was the cause of the long queues of vehicles arriving in France at the port of Dover in recent days.

Sunak is running as a candidate of financial probability, while Truss positions himself as a disruptor who will “challenge the orthodoxy” and “get the job done”.

The two debated topics such as China policy, in which Truss accused Sunak of changing his stance on relations with Beijing.

Sunak said China was the “biggest long-term threat to Britain” and if elected he would close 30 Confucius Institutes in the UK. Funded by the Chinese government, the academies teach Chinese language and culture, but have been accused of spreading pro-Beijing propaganda.

“As recently as a month ago, you pushed for closer commercial relationships with China,” Mr. Truss said.

“I’m glad you got it right with my way of thinking,” she said.

Sunak faces hostility from Johnson’s allies, who see him as the undershirt for quitting the government earlier this month, a move that helped bring down the prime minister. Truss chose to stay in government care.

However, both candidates said Johnson would not join their governments if they became prime minister.

“I think we need to look ahead at this point,” Sunak said.

Truss said Johnson “deserve a well-earned vacation, and added: ‘What’s done is done. “

Many Conservatives worry that the bitter infighting the campaign has brought about will only benefit the opposition Labor Party. Former party chairwoman Amanda Milling said the contest was “more toxic than I’ve ever seen”.

Writing on Twitter, she urged both candidates to sign the “Clean Campaign Statute”, saying that without it “long-term damage to our Party could cost us a decade”. century.”

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