In the BBC’s first live debate between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, the two clashed over their plans for the British economy. Sunak, one of the first government officials to resign to force Johnson to step down, had raised taxes to the highest level in 70 years as Treasury Secretary. He wants to focus on a balanced budget and wants to pay off the national debt as quickly as possible. On the other hand, Truss, who has remained in the position of Secretary of State, wants to cut taxes immediately to boost the economy. She said her plan would start paying off the debt within three years.
Sunak replied, “That’s not true.” Truss was accused of “sugar rush In the short term “which would be followed by a crash, with high inflation and interest rates.” She promised about £40 billion in unfunded tax cuts, and an additional £40 billion in loans.” She was putting him on a “state credit card” and passing bills that They don’t want to pay it to “our children and grandchildren,” and that’s “immoral.” “I don’t think it’s right, I don’t think it’s responsible and certainly not conservative.” Truss adds “thousands of pounds to mortgages and plunges millions into misery.”
Truss “doesn’t believe in this negative language.” She described Sunak’s statements with fear of promotion and “Fear of the project‘, a term used by the exit camp during the Brexit campaign. Sunak accurately noted that Truss was initially ‘remaining’. She in turn accused him of bringing the country into a recession. Crashing the economy to pay off debts faster is a fatal mistake that will be felt by everyone around the world. Across the UK, she would not hesitate to oppose the funding “doctrine,” noting that no other major economy is currently raising taxes.
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The two candidates also clashed over China. Sunak had said the day before he wanted to take a hard line against China, but Truss noted that the Treasury had argued last month for closer economic ties. He criticized Sunak Truss for speaking of a “golden age” between China and the United Kingdom. “I think that was about a decade ago,” Truss replied angrily.
What they both agreed on was that Boris Johnson would not have a role in their government. Johnson had already hinted that he would like to make a political comeback and even run in the next election as Conservative leader. “I’m sure he’ll be outspoken, but he won’t be part of the government,” Truss said. She even said she highly doubts he does not want a role in government in the future. “He deservedly needs a break.” Sunak, like Truss, also poured some praise on Johnson, but emphasized: “Enough is enough.” “I thought all the things that happened in terms of behavior weren’t right. We obviously have different views on the economy.”
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Sunak, who was late in the polls, repeatedly interrupted or spoke to Truss during the debate. A Truss spokesman later accused him of “fraud”. “Rishi Sunak tonight proved to be unsuitable for the position. His aggressive behavior in simplification and shouting at the private school is desperate and inappropriate and a gift to workers.”
Ahead of the debate, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Doris, also described Sunak as arrogant in a bespoke suit of £3,500 and Prada shoes of £450, while Truss wears about 4.5 pounds of earrings from Claires. Asked about it during the discussion, Truss said, “I don’t have a problem with the cost of other people’s clothing. I actually think Ritchie is a very elegantly dressed man. I’m a huge fan of his style. I wouldn’t give him fashion advice.”
In the polls after the debate, a slim majority of viewers thought Sunak was the most persuasive, but among the Conservatives – who should choose a successor to Johnson – Truss emerged as the clear winner. Sunak seemed to do particularly well with Labor voters, not his target audience. According to the opposition Labor Party, both candidates managed to discredit the previous work of the Conservative government during the debate.