Tory leadership: Truss gets a boost as ex-minister quits Sunak camp – British Politics Live | Policy

Lord Howard, the former Conservative leader and a Rishi Sunak supporter in the leadership contest, has joined those Tories saying Liz Truss’s economic policies would be “suicidal” for the Conservative party. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary, said this in a Times article pubished yesterday, and Sunak himself made the same point during the hustings in Darlington. In an interview on the Today programme, Howard said:

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I really do agree with Dominic Raab that the method that Liz Truss is proposing would be suicidal. We’ve seen it before in the 1970s, it led to a recession and the Labour government, and I didn’t want to see it again.

n
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Howard, who served in cabinet under Margaret Thatcher, said that Truss’s plans were similar to those of Anthony Barber, chancellor in the early 1970s under Edward Heath. Barber cut taxes to inflate the economy, but the so-called “Barber boom” is now remembered as an economic disaster because it fuelled inflation. Howard explained:

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Anthony Barber, who became chancellor after the tragic death of Iain Macleod, cut taxes and increased borrowing, which is exactly what Liz Truss is proposing. The outcome of what Anthony Barber did, which was exactly what Liz Truss is proposing, was higher inflation, even higher inflation, more and more borrowing, recession and inevitably leading to a Labour government.

n

Margaret Thatcher learned the lessons of those years. She did not countenance unfunded, irresponsible tax cuts, she hated inflation, she hated the thought of more borrowing and she took action, direct action, to deal with the problems.

n
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economic policies will lead to recession and Labour government, says former Tory leader Michael Howard","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Wed 10 Aug 2022 05.47 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Wed 10 Aug 2022 04.28 EDT"},{"id":"62f367b78f082f7526a86c80","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

James Cleverly, the education secretary, was doing a media interview round this morning. He was speaking both as a member of the government, and as a support of Liz Truss for next Tory leader. This created some tension; at one point he was talking about what the government is doing now about energy bills, while at another point he was explaining why a full response would have to wait until the leadership campaign was over.

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Here are the key points.

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    n
  • Cleverly confirmed that Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, are holding a meeting with energy company bosses tomorrow. The ministers will discuss increasing the scope of the windfall in the light of rising energy profits. Cleverly said:

  • n
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n

The chancellor of the exchequer and the business secretary are actually calling in the leaders of those big energy companies to knock some heads together and basically hold them to account about what they’re going to do with those profits.

n

The increase in energy costs has been driven by the war in Ukraine and a global crunch, this is affecting everyone pretty much across the world, everyone in the developing world is seeing those energy bills go up. What we need to do is make sure that we have a short, medium and long term plan, so the chancellor and the business Ssecretary are getting those energy companies in as part of the short-term response.

n
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My colleague Alex Lawson has more on tomorrow’s meeting here.

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    n
  • But Cleverly also said calls for an emergency budget now were unrealistic. He said that it was a “well-established principle” that an outgoing prime minister should not make major decisions and that the leadership contest could not be speeded up. He went on:

  • n
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n

In order to bring about changes to tax systems or to financial support systems, we need to have votes in the house, that needs to go through a proper scrutiny process.

n

It is not as simple as recalling parliament to have an emergency debate on something like military action, which is a very simple one-question yes or no answer. An emergency budget needs to be a comprehensive and by definition, therefore, a complicated thing, it’s not just one day sitting, it’s an extended process of debate in parliament, and that is best done when Parliament has come back in September and that’s what Liz has committed to do.

n
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    n
  • He insisted that Truss would bring forward “targeted help” for people needing help with energy bills in the emergency budget she is planning for the autumn if she becomes prime minister. In recent days Truss has refused to explicitly commit herself of offering extra targeted support to people struggling to heat their homes. She has not ruled it out (and she has resiled from the firm ‘no handouts’ position she set out in an FT interview last week), but she has repeatedly stressed that her priority is cutting taxes. In an interview on the Today programme, Cleverly said Truss would hold an emergency budget. He would not say what would be in it, but when it was put to him that tax cuts would not help people on benefits, or very low earners, he replied:

  • n
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n

She has said that she will look at support packages for people that need it most. So, for the people who won’t benefit directly from tax cuts, she is looking at targeted help. For those people who do pay tax, what she has, quite rightly, is to make sure that we don’t take any more money from them than we really need.

n
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This is quite different in tone, and a bit more committal in substance, from what Truss was saying at the Tory hustings last night. She avoided making commitments on “targeted help”, but Cleverly says she is “looking at” it. From the interview it was not clear whether this was an intentional shift, or whether Cleverly was just reflecting the widespread assumption at Westminster that, whatever Truss is saying now, she will have to offer people targeted support with energy bills in the autumn because the alternative would be social catastrophe.

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(This may be a good example of how leadership campaigns can be poor guides to future policy. Truss is campaigning in opposition to a policy she will probably end up implementing within months. In the campaign three years the main policy difference between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt was Johnon’s insistence the UK would have to leave the EU by the end of October 2019. Johnson won, and the UK was still in the EU at the start of 2020.)

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Good morning. Last week my colleague Aubrey Allegretti reported on how the Liz Truss team were hoping to get endorsements from Conservative MPs who had committed in public to backing Rishi Sunak. This sort of public vote-switching by MPs in a leadership contest is rare, because the MP involved looks duplicitous and indecisive and because MPs tend to know the candidates very well, which means they don’t change their minds easily. The story suggested the Truss camp might have been getting over-confident in their briefing.

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But (as usual) Aubrey was absolutely right, and in an article for the Daily Telegraph, Chris Skidmore, the former universities minister, has explained why he is defecting from the Sunak camp and backing Truss. He blames Sunak’s “constantly changing position”, especially on the economy. He says:

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n

The status quo cannot be an option. Initially, I had backed Rishi Sunak during the MPs’ stage of the contest. Yet over the past few weeks, I have grown increasingly concerned by his campaign’s consistently changing position, especially on the economy, to chase votes. I am convinced that we need a bolder, more positive approach to the UK’s future.

n

Above all, we need a leader who will unite the party. Liz Truss has demonstrated that she has the leadership and personal ability to bring us all together. We cannot afford to be seen as a divided party, and I now believe that Liz is the best person to unite us and the country in meeting the challenges we face.

n
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At this stage in the contest, endorsements from MPs probably have no direct impact at all on members as they decide how to vote. But MPs tend to be quite astute observers of where the political wind is blowing and so, even though Skidmore is hardly a household name, his defection represents a significant morale boost for the Truss camp. There are now so many Tory MPs trying to clamber aboard the bandwagon that the campaign resorted to announcing the latest endorsements as a big job lot.

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Truss and Sunak are both doing major TV appearances later today. In the meantime pressure continues for both to make firmer commitments on what they will do about rising energy prices. My colleague Julia Kollewe covers some of the latest developments on that story on her business live blog.

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Here is the agenda for the day.

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12pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is interviewed by the broadcaster Iain Dale at an event at the Edinburgh festival fringe.

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12.30pm: Suella Braverman, the attorney general, gives a speech to the Policy Exchange thinktank on equalities and rights.

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5pm: Liz Truss takes part in a People’s Forum for GB News in Leigh, Greater Manchester. Alastair Stewart is presenting.

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7pm: Rishi Sunak is interviewed by Nick Robinson on BBC One’s Our Next Prime Minister.

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I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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Key events

Lord Howard, the former Conservative leader and a Rishi Sunak supporter in the leadership contest, has joined those Tories saying Liz Truss’s economic policies would be “suicidal” for the Conservative party. Dominic Raab, the justice secretary, said this in a Times article pubished yesterday, and Sunak himself made the same point during the hustings in Darlington. In an interview on the Today programme, Howard said:

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n

I really do agree with Dominic Raab that the method that Liz Truss is proposing would be suicidal. We’ve seen it before in the 1970s, it led to a recession and the Labour government, and I didn’t want to see it again.

n
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Howard, who served in cabinet under Margaret Thatcher, said that Truss’s plans were similar to those of Anthony Barber, chancellor in the early 1970s under Edward Heath. Barber cut taxes to inflate the economy, but the so-called “Barber boom” is now remembered as an economic disaster because it fuelled inflation. Howard explained:

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n

Anthony Barber, who became chancellor after the tragic death of Iain Macleod, cut taxes and increased borrowing, which is exactly what Liz Truss is proposing. The outcome of what Anthony Barber did, which was exactly what Liz Truss is proposing, was higher inflation, even higher inflation, more and more borrowing, recession and inevitably leading to a Labour government.

n

Margaret Thatcher learned the lessons of those years. She did not countenance unfunded, irresponsible tax cuts, she hated inflation, she hated the thought of more borrowing and she took action, direct action, to deal with the problems.

n
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economic policies will lead to recession and Labour government, says former Tory leader Michael Howard","contributors":[],"primaryDateLine":"Wed 10 Aug 2022 05.47 EDT","secondaryDateLine":"First published on Wed 10 Aug 2022 04.28 EDT"},{"id":"62f367b78f082f7526a86c80","elements":[{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

James Cleverly, the education secretary, was doing a media interview round this morning. He was speaking both as a member of the government, and as a support of Liz Truss for next Tory leader. This created some tension; at one point he was talking about what the government is doing now about energy bills, while at another point he was explaining why a full response would have to wait until the leadership campaign was over.

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Here are the key points.

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    n
  • Cleverly confirmed that Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, are holding a meeting with energy company bosses tomorrow. The ministers will discuss increasing the scope of the windfall in the light of rising energy profits. Cleverly said:

  • n
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n

The chancellor of the exchequer and the business secretary are actually calling in the leaders of those big energy companies to knock some heads together and basically hold them to account about what they’re going to do with those profits.

n

The increase in energy costs has been driven by the war in Ukraine and a global crunch, this is affecting everyone pretty much across the world, everyone in the developing world is seeing those energy bills go up. What we need to do is make sure that we have a short, medium and long term plan, so the chancellor and the business Ssecretary are getting those energy companies in as part of the short-term response.

n
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My colleague Alex Lawson has more on tomorrow’s meeting here.

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    n
  • But Cleverly also said calls for an emergency budget now were unrealistic. He said that it was a “well-established principle” that an outgoing prime minister should not make major decisions and that the leadership contest could not be speeded up. He went on:

  • n
","elementId":"24db6220-2abc-4748-8461-6eb1e9c9ce79"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.BlockquoteBlockElement","html":"
n

In order to bring about changes to tax systems or to financial support systems, we need to have votes in the house, that needs to go through a proper scrutiny process.

n

It is not as simple as recalling parliament to have an emergency debate on something like military action, which is a very simple one-question yes or no answer. An emergency budget needs to be a comprehensive and by definition, therefore, a complicated thing, it’s not just one day sitting, it’s an extended process of debate in parliament, and that is best done when Parliament has come back in September and that’s what Liz has committed to do.

n
","elementId":"9c18252b-300d-472d-9ecf-d448cca5cdd6"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"
    n
  • He insisted that Truss would bring forward “targeted help” for people needing help with energy bills in the emergency budget she is planning for the autumn if she becomes prime minister. In recent days Truss has refused to explicitly commit herself of offering extra targeted support to people struggling to heat their homes. She has not ruled it out (and she has resiled from the firm ‘no handouts’ position she set out in an FT interview last week), but she has repeatedly stressed that her priority is cutting taxes. In an interview on the Today programme, Cleverly said Truss would hold an emergency budget. He would not say what would be in it, but when it was put to him that tax cuts would not help people on benefits, or very low earners, he replied:

  • n
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n

She has said that she will look at support packages for people that need it most. So, for the people who won’t benefit directly from tax cuts, she is looking at targeted help. For those people who do pay tax, what she has, quite rightly, is to make sure that we don’t take any more money from them than we really need.

n
","elementId":"a449c7c4-5d9f-4a1c-b020-e5f6b80881bc"},{"_type":"model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement","html":"

This is quite different in tone, and a bit more committal in substance, from what Truss was saying at the Tory hustings last night. She avoided making commitments on “targeted help”, but Cleverly says she is “looking at” it. From the interview it was not clear whether this was an intentional shift, or whether Cleverly was just reflecting the widespread assumption at Westminster that, whatever Truss is saying now, she will have to offer people targeted support with energy bills in the autumn because the alternative would be social catastrophe.

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(This may be a good example of how leadership campaigns can be poor guides to future policy. Truss is campaigning in opposition to a policy she will probably end up implementing within months. In the campaign three years the main policy difference between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt was Johnon’s insistence the UK would have to leave the EU by the end of October 2019. Johnson won, and the UK was still in the EU at the start of 2020.)

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Good morning. Last week my colleague Aubrey Allegretti reported on how the Liz Truss team were hoping to get endorsements from Conservative MPs who had committed in public to backing Rishi Sunak. This sort of public vote-switching by MPs in a leadership contest is rare, because the MP involved looks duplicitous and indecisive and because MPs tend to know the candidates very well, which means they don’t change their minds easily. The story suggested the Truss camp might have been getting over-confident in their briefing.

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But (as usual) Aubrey was absolutely right, and in an article for the Daily Telegraph, Chris Skidmore, the former universities minister, has explained why he is defecting from the Sunak camp and backing Truss. He blames Sunak’s “constantly changing position”, especially on the economy. He says:

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n

The status quo cannot be an option. Initially, I had backed Rishi Sunak during the MPs’ stage of the contest. Yet over the past few weeks, I have grown increasingly concerned by his campaign’s consistently changing position, especially on the economy, to chase votes. I am convinced that we need a bolder, more positive approach to the UK’s future.

n

Above all, we need a leader who will unite the party. Liz Truss has demonstrated that she has the leadership and personal ability to bring us all together. We cannot afford to be seen as a divided party, and I now believe that Liz is the best person to unite us and the country in meeting the challenges we face.

n
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At this stage in the contest, endorsements from MPs probably have no direct impact at all on members as they decide how to vote. But MPs tend to be quite astute observers of where the political wind is blowing and so, even though Skidmore is hardly a household name, his defection represents a significant morale boost for the Truss camp. There are now so many Tory MPs trying to clamber aboard the bandwagon that the campaign resorted to announcing the latest endorsements as a big job lot.

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Truss and Sunak are both doing major TV appearances later today. In the meantime pressure continues for both to make firmer commitments on what they will do about rising energy prices. My colleague Julia Kollewe covers some of the latest developments on that story on her business live blog.

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Here is the agenda for the day.

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12pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, is interviewed by the broadcaster Iain Dale at an event at the Edinburgh festival fringe.

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12.30pm: Suella Braverman, the attorney general, gives a speech to the Policy Exchange thinktank on equalities and rights.

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5pm: Liz Truss takes part in a People’s Forum for GB News in Leigh, Greater Manchester. Alastair Stewart is presenting.

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7pm: Rishi Sunak is interviewed by Nick Robinson on BBC One’s Our Next Prime Minister.

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I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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Truss’ economic policies will lead to recession and Labor government, says former Tory leader Michael Howard

Michael Howard. Photograph: British Parliament

Lord Howard, the former Conservative leader and supporter of Rishi Sunak in the leadership race, joined those Tories in saying Liz Truss’ economic policies would be “suicidal” for the Conservative Party. Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, said so in a Times article published yesterday, and Sunak himself made the same point during the roundups in Darlington. In an interview with the Today program, Howard said:

I really agree with Dominic Raab that the method proposed by Liz Truss would be suicidal. We saw it before in the 1970s, it led to a recession and the Labor government, and I didn’t want to see it again.

Howard, who served in cabinet under Margaret Thatcher, said Truss’ plans were similar to those of Anthony Barber, chancellor in the early 1970s under Edward Heath. Barbers cut taxes to inflate the economy, but the so-called “barbers’ boom” is now considered an economic disaster because it fueled inflation. Howard explained:

Anthony Barber, who became chancellor after the tragic death of Iain Macleod, cut taxes and increased borrowing, which is exactly what Liz Truss is proposing. The result of what Anthony Barber did, and that’s exactly what Liz Truss is proposing, was higher inflation, even higher inflation, more and more borrowing, recession and inevitably leading to a Labor government.

Margaret Thatcher learned the lessons of those years. She didn’t approve of unfunded and irresponsible tax cuts, she hated inflation, she hated the idea of ​​borrowing more, and she took action, direct action, to fix the problems.

Anthony Barber, pictured as Chancellor in 1971.
Anthony Barber, pictured as Chancellor in 1971. Photography: William Lovelace/Getty Images

The Liz Truss The camp says Chris Skidmore’s defection (see 9:28) could be the start of a “bigger exodus” of Rishi Sunak campaign MPs. A spokesperson for the Truss campaign said:

We are in talks with others from the Rishi camp and Chris’ arrival could trigger a greater exodus of Sunak deputies to us. Rishi’s flip-flop on the economy clearly upsets many of his backers. Our supporters love Liz’s optimistic vision for the future, her conservative plan for the economy based on tax cuts, and her credentials as a leader who will stand up to dictators like Putin and put national defense first.

Liz Truss at the Tory campaign in Darlington last night.
Liz Truss at the Tory campaign in Darlington last night. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA

Truss is ‘looking for targeted help’ for people with energy bills, says top ally James Cleverly

james shrewdly, the education secretary, was doing a media interview this morning. He was speaking both as a member of the government and as Liz Truss’ backer for the next Tory leader. This created some tension; at one point he was talking about what the government is doing now about energy bills, while at another point he was explaining why a full answer would have to wait until the end of the leadership campaign.

Here are the key points.

  • Cleverly confirmed that Nadhim Zahawi, the chancellor, and Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, are holding a meeting with energy company bosses tomorrow. Ministers will discuss increasing the magnitude of the windfall in light of rising energy profits. Cleverly said:

The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Business Secretary are actually calling on the heads of these big energy companies to sit down and hold them to account on what they’re going to do with those profits.

Rising energy costs have been driven by the war in Ukraine and a global crisis, this affects everyone pretty much everywhere in the world, everyone in the developing world is seeing these energy bills increase . What we need to do is make sure that we have a short, medium and long term plan, so that the Chancellor and the Business Secretary engage these energy companies as part of the short term response.

My colleague Alex Lawson has more on tomorrow’s meeting here.

In order to make changes to tax systems or financial support systems, we need to have votes in the House, which must go through an appropriate review process.

It’s not as simple as calling Parliament back to have an emergency debate on something like military action, which is a very simple yes or no answer. An emergency budget must be complete and by definition, therefore, a complicated thing, it is not just a day of sitting, it is a long process of debate in parliament, and it is better when Parliament has returned in September and that’s what Liz has pledged to do.

  • He insisted that Truss would offer “targeted aid” to people needing help with energy bills in the emergency budget she plans for the fall if she becomes prime minister. In recent days, Truss has refused to explicitly commit to providing additional targeted support for people struggling to heat their homes. She hasn’t ruled it out (and backed down from the tough ‘no donations’ stance she laid out in an interview with the FT last week), but she has repeatedly stressed that her priority is to reduce Taxes. In an interview on the Today program, Cleverly said Truss would hold an emergency budget. He would not say what would be in it, but when told that the tax cuts would not help people on benefits or people on very low incomes, he replied:

She said she would look at support programs for people who need it the most. So, for people who will not benefit directly from the tax cuts, she is considering targeted assistance. For those who pay taxes, what she rightly does is to make sure that we don’t take more money from them than we really need.

It’s quite different in tone, and a bit more committed in substance, to what Truss was saying during the Conservative election campaign last night. She avoided committing to “targeted aid”, but Cleverly says she is “looking into it”. From the interview, it was unclear whether this was an intentional change, or whether Cleverly merely reflected the widespread assumption at Westminster that whatever Truss says now, she will have to offer people targeted support with energy bills to fall because the alternative would be social catastrophe.

(This may be a good example of how leadership campaigns can be poor guides to future policy. Truss is campaigning against a policy that she will likely end up implementing in a few months. During the campaign three years, the main policy difference between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt was Johnon’s insistence that the UK should leave the EU by the end of October 2019. Johnson won and the UK was still in the EU at the start of 2020.)

Truss gets a boost as ex-minister quits Sunak camp

Hello. Last week, my colleague Aubrey Allegretti reported how Liz Truss’ team hoped to win the endorsement of Tory MPs who had publicly pledged their support for Rishi Sunak. This kind of public vote change by MPs in a leadership contest is rare, because the MP involved looks deceitful and indecisive and because MPs tend to know the candidates very well, which means that they don’t change their minds easily. History suggested that Camp Truss may have become overconfident in his briefing.

But (as usual) Aubrey was absolutely right, and in a Daily Telegraph article, Chris Skidmore, the former minister of universities, explained why he is leaving Camp Sunak and supporting Truss. He blames Sunak’s “evolving stance”, particularly on the economy. He says:

The status quo cannot be an option. Initially, I had supported Rishi Sunak during the MP stage of the contest. Yet in recent weeks I have become increasingly concerned about his campaign’s ever-shifting stance, particularly on the economy, to chase votes. I am convinced that we need a bolder and more positive approach to the future of the UK.

Above all, we need a leader who can unite the party. Liz Truss has demonstrated that she has the leadership and personal ability to bring us all together. We cannot afford to be seen as a divided party, and I now believe that Liz is the best person to unite us and the country to address the challenges we face.

At this stage of the contest, MP endorsements likely have no direct impact on members when deciding how to vote. But MPs tend to be pretty shrewd observers of where the political winds are blowing and so, while Skidmore isn’t a household name, his defection represents a significant morale boost for the Truss camp. There are now so many Tory MPs trying to jump on the bandwagon that the campaign has resorted to news of the latest approvals as a big job.

Both Truss and Sunak make big TV appearances later in the day. In the meantime, pressure continues for the two sides to commit more firmly on what they will do in the face of rising energy prices. My colleague Julia Kollewe covers some of the latest developments in this story on his company live blog.

Here is the program for the day.

12 p.m.: Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, is interviewed by broadcaster Iain Dale at an event on the outskirts of the Edinburgh Festival.

12:30 p.m.: Suella Braverman, the Attorney General, delivers a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank on equalities and rights.

5 p.m.: Liz Truss takes part in a popular forum for GB News in Leigh, Greater Manchester. Alastair Stewart presents.

7 p.m.: Rishi Sunak is interviewed by Nick Robinson on BBC One’s Our Next Prime Minister.

I try to monitor comments below the line (BTL) but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, include “Andrew” somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I try to answer questions, and if they’re of general interest, I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably best to use Twitter. I’m on it @AndrewSparrow.

You can also email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com

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