From 1d ago
Penny Mordaunt publicly backs Liz Truss for leader of the Conservative party
Penny Mordaunt takes to the podium and has come out to back Liz Truss.
“I’ve seen enough to know who the person I’m going to put my faith in is. And that is Liz Truss.”
She adds: “She, for me, is the hope candidate.’’
“I could have remained undeclared. I could be off sipping piña coladas right now. But I’m not. I’m here with you, because this is too important. And I’m not going to leave this to chance.”
She added: “I came third in this contest. I owe it to all of you to be a signpost, not a weathervane. So, I’ve made my choice. And I know it’s difficult, because I like both candidates.
“They are both good Conservatives who love their country. And they’ve both done what they thought was right for the right reasons.”
Updated at 19.52 BST
Here is a summary of today’s events.
- Penny Mordaunt has publicly declared she is backing Liz Truss to become the next leader of the Conservative party. She made the announcement in a speech during hustings in Exeter tonight. Truss said of Mordaunt: “She’s a great person, she’s a great politician, she’s a great patriot and I’m proud to call her my friend.’’
- During the hustings Liz Truss hit out at Nicola Sturgeon saying she is an “attention seeker” and should be “ignored”.
- Rishi Sunak says he was loyal to Boris Johnson, but their differences on economic policy and the government being on the “wrong side” of an ethical issue meant he had to resign.
- Earlier today, Truss said she would stop taxes that discourage people from eating unhealthy foods and scrap the ban on ‘buy one, get one free’ offers on junk food.
- Truss has pledged to “unleash British farming” through deregulation.
- Britain’s House of Commons foreign affairs committee is planning a visit to Taiwan later this year.
- Russia’s foreign ministry has announced new sanctions against 39 officials, businesspeople and journalists from the UK, including Keir Starmer and David Cameron.
- Boris Johnson has ruled out an extra bank holiday to celebrate the Lionesses’ victory in the Women’s Euro.
- Sam Tarry, the shadow transport minister sacked by Keir Starmer for comments made on a rail picket line, said it was “great to see” Lisa Nandy visiting striking communications workers today.
- Liz Truss has insisted she is running a “positive” leadership bid as allies tried to distance her campaign from the decision by culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, to share a tweet showing Rishi Sunak wielding a knife at Boris Johnson.
- A new Ipsos poll shows Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer tied amongst the public in terms of who would make the most capable prime minister. Liz Truss trails Starmer by six points on the same measure. Meanwhile, Labour has increased its lead over the Conservative party among the public.
- David Trimble’s funeral took place today in Lisburn. Boris Johnson, and other political representatives from London, Dublin and Belfast attended the service to bid farewell to Northern Ireland’s inaugural first minister.
- York and North Yorkshire are to elect a mayor and receive £540m of government investment over 30 years in a landmark devolution deal.
Updated at 21.26 BST
That is the end of tonight’s leadership hustings in Exeter. The next hustings will be on Wednesday 3 August in Cardiff.
One questioner asks about loyalty saying “you weren’t loyal to Boris Johnson”.
Sunak says: “I respectfully disagree. I was loyal to Boris Johnson over the two and a half years.”
He says in the end not only were they “not on the same page” with regard to economic policy, but the government was on the “wrong side” of an ethical situation.
He says: “It wasn’t just me”, adding that “60 others resigned”.
Updated at 20.54 BST
A question on migration.
Sunak says: “Our country is unbelievably special and has compassionately welcomed people like my family. But alongside that it is also absolutely right that we have control over our borders.
“All of you are forking out £5m a day on hotels for people who are coming here illegally and that has to stop.”
He says he believes in the Rwanda policy but adds there are some legal changes that need to be made.
Updated at 20.55 BST
A question on the elderly population and social care from an audience member. The woman asking the question went back to work during the pandemic working in elderly care. She asks: “Are you listening to the state that elderly care is in? We need help now?”
Sunak says social care provision needs to be improved and workers need to feel “valued and fulfilled”.
He says we cannot have the NHS “gobbling up” all the money and social care being the poor cousin.
Updated at 20.56 BST
In the quickfire round of questions from Sebastian Payne, Sunak is asked what one public perception about him is wrong.
He responds that it is the perception that he is not in favour of change.
“I want to radically change things,” he adds. He cites his “ripping up the rule book” during the pandemic as evidence of this.
In another life, he said if he could run Southampton FC he would be “a very happy man”.
Updated at 20.38 BST
Sunaks says: “I want to improve the conduct of government. That is the change that I want to bring as prime minister.”
Asked why he stuck by Boris Johnson for so long, Sunak said he wanted “to make it work” and give Boris Johnson “the benefit of the doubt”.
Sunak says we need to unlock brownfield sites and build new homes. He also advocates more flat-pack housing because it is “faster and cheaper”.
Updated at 20.24 BST
Sunak says he is the “change” candidate. He adds: “At the crunch moments, where was I? I supported change and I supported Brexit. I believed in my principles then and I believe in my principles now.”
Rishi Sunak is now taking questions from Sebastian Payne and the audience.
Truss is asked about Scotland and whether there should be another independence referendum. She says: “No, no, no.”
Truss adds: “The best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is to ignore her. She is an attention seeker. That is what she is.”
Updated at 20.24 BST
One questioner asks about the Online Safety Bill and that it is not fit for purpose and is a danger to free speech. Would she scrap it?
“We do need to protect the under-18s from some of the content online,” Truss says.
She adds: “When people are grown adults they should be able to speak freely. I would be making sure that we protect free speech.”
Asked if she would order another lockdown, Truss says she wouldn’t. On the government’s Covid strategy, she said she wasn’t part of the “key Covid committee” and “wasn’t a key part” of the Covid decision-making process.
Truss adds: “My vision is bold, it is different, but it is needed.”
Truss is asked whether the Treasury should be broken up.
“I wouldn’t want to give them advance warning,” Truss says.
She adds it needs to change and it has been a “block” on getting things done. “I’m prepared to break eggs to make an omelette.”
Updated at 20.10 BST
Sebastian Payne asks Truss which opposition leader she most respects?
She replied: “Rosie Duffield … because she stood up … and said “women are women”.
Updated at 20.11 BST
Truss says things will take ‘less time under my government”. She adds: “We need spades in the ground before the next election.”
She also says she will “move faster with nuclear” and introduce a moratorium on the green levy, which she says will help people struggling with fuel bills.
Updated at 20.12 BST
Truss says she would have Sunak on her team.