Tories leadership hopefuls ‘scratching each other’s eyes out’ in race to No 10, says Labour– UK politics live

Key events:

Key takeaways from the leadership debate

Martin Belam

Martin Belam

The five candidates still standing for the leadership of the Conservative party were in action in a TV debate broadcast on Channel 4 on Friday night. Here are the five key takeaways:

Tom Tugendhat was the only one able to answer freely

Given the opportunity to answer “Yes” or “No” to the question “is Boris Johnson honest?”, Tom Tugendhat was the only person able to do it. He got warm applause for simply saying: “No”.

Kemi Badenoch came closest, saying “Sometimes”. Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss all refused to be drawn into the one word answer, and prevaricated.

Τugendhat essentially played the role of the minority party candidate in a multiparty debate, free to just speak his mind, call out the hypocrisy in everybody else, all the while safe in the knowledge there’s virtually zero chance he will end up elected.

Truss has a delivery mantra problem

Truss tried to focus again and again about delivery in every department, saying that her trade deals with Australia and Japan had been considered impossible, and that she had stood up to Vladimir Putin. But it all felt heavily scripted from her.

Badenoch and Tugendhat felt more off the cuff, and Sunak was a more fluid performer here than he has been on the radio over the last 48 hours. Truss felt rigid and dogmatic.

Sunak’s Treasury experience is a potential asset – but not with party members

In a crucial exchange that was mostly Sunak v Truss, the foreign secretary told the former chancellor that Covid was a once-in-a-century occurrence, and that the government should look accordingly at paying it back over a longer term. Sunak was clear, saying: “The best way for people to have money in their pocket is to get a grip of inflation.”

Again and again during the debate he demonstrated a better command of the numbers and Treasury brief, but you still ended up with the feeling that a man instinctively fiscally conservative is being pushed into a corner and portrayed as a leftist for not wanting to cut taxes

You can read more here:

Graphic showing how the next Conservative party leader will be chosen

What happened in the debate?

Peter Walker

Peter Walker

In an often difficult night for all the candidates – former chancellor Rishi Sunak; foreign secretary Liz Truss; Penny Mordaunt, the trade minister and bookmakers’ favourite; the former levelling up minister Kemi Badenoch; and the backbencher Tom Tugendhat – not a single member of the audience of floating voters raised their hands when asked if they trusted politicians.

A long section on trust saw none of the five willing say whether Johnson was honest. “Sometimes,” said Badenoch, while Mordaunt talked about “really severe issues”, and Truss spoke of “mistakes”. Tugendhat won applause by saying, simply: “No.”

A separate show of hands after a debate on energy bills saw just three people say they felt politicians were doing enough to help people. When asked at the end of the debate if it had made them more likely to vote Conservative, only 10 of the audience raised their hands.

A separate spat saw Mordaunt and Badenoch clash with visible enmity about the former’s views on trans rights. When Truss declined to back up her version of events about policies in the government’s equalities office, Badenoch said, “Come on Liz, tell the truth.”

Mordaunt, meanwhile, asked about negative briefings about her from some of the other camps, refused to say she trusted the other candidates.

Tory candidates ‘scratching each other’s eyes out’ – Starmer

Good morning.

Last night, the five remaining candidates to become the next Conservative leader, and therefore prime minister, went head-to-head in a live TV debate.

The debate saw open arguments over tax and identity politics – and none of the five candidates was willing to say that Boris Johnson is honest.

Coming hours after Liz Truss sought to reinvigorate her faltering campaign with a sudden announcement of new tax cuts costing more than £20bn a year, Rishi Sunak the ex-chancellor, openly ridiculed his former colleague’s plans during the Channel 4 broadcast.

You can read my colleague Peter Walker’s full report of the debate here.

KEMI BADENOCH, PENNY MORDAUNT, RISHI SUNAK, LIZ TRUSS and TOM TUGENDHAT
The candidates during the debate last night Photograph: Tayfun Salcı/ZUMA Press Wire/REX/Shutterstock

Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has dismissed the acrimonious Conservative leadership race as a “travelling circus”, in which the candidates have demolished their party’s economic credibility by promising billions of pounds of unfunded tax cuts.

He tells the Guardian’s political editor the party “has got no sense any more of what it stands for”.

“That’s why you have all these candidates scratching each other’s eyes out, taking lumps out of each other,” he said.

We’ll bring you all the latest UK political developments throughout the day, as they happen.

source: theguardian.com