Tory leadership last: Rival Tory camps clash ahead of first TV debate

Once Tory MPs have narrowed the leadership race to two candidates, it’s less than 200,000 Conservative Party members left to vote for their next leader – and, by default, the UK’s next prime minister.

Speaking earlier on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, two of them discussed some of the key factors that could be playing a part.

Is it a bad thing to be a close lieutenant to Johnson?

“Yes and no,” said Nicola Lowery, president of the Telford Conservative Association.

People want to leave Boris Johnson’s government and many candidates are pushing for their own policies, so ‘it’s not a massive consideration I’ve heard from our members’, she explained.

“People very much admire some of what he’s done,” she added.

“But they also want to move forward with a candidate who has strong policies.”

Cameron Molland of the Cornwall Young Conservatives said the Prime Minister had made “rather disappointing errors of judgement” but in the area of ​​foreign policy he had made “great achievements” particularly on the Ukraine.

As long as they have integrity “it’s not such a disastrous thing to be close to Boris”, he added.

Taxation: reduce now or reduce liability and in due time?

Virtually all of the candidates have promised quick tax cuts, except Rishi Sunak who says it should be done in a sustainable way.

Lowery said she liked Sunak’s position but wanted to see cuts now.

“We have to find ways to stimulate the economy and growth,” she said.

Molland agreed and said fuel taxes and the reversal of the National Insurance hike must happen now.

He said he also understood why Sunak wanted to be more cautious, but added: “This cost of living crisis is not going to go away and it is certainly not going to get better unless we are prepared to act quickly. “

Does the Brexit position matter?

“In terms of party membership, it’s important that the candidate can be seen as a true blue Brexiteer,” Molland said.

The intervention of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on the Rwandan plan of Priti Patel is “certainly something that will concern many members”, he added.

Last month the ECHR – which is not linked to the EU – issued a ruling which prevented the first flight taking asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda from departing as planned.

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