Paul Scully, the business secretary, gave interviews this morning on behalf of the Liz Truss campaign. Referring to Dominic Raab’s article in The Times (see 9:13), Scully criticized Rishi Sunak’s campaign for its negative campaigning. He told Times Radio:
It’s a shame that we hear this kind of language. That kind of blue-on-blue language, as it’s always called, doesn’t really help. People watching from the outside must be tearing their hair out because all we want is to do the best we can for the country, for the people.
Scully also defended Truss’ cost-of-living proposals (described by Raab as a potential “election suicide note” for conservatives). He said:
What Liz said is the right thing to do, the Conservative thing to do is not to take people’s money in the first place, rather than just taking money and giving it back to them. .
Ofgem will decide on the price cap in the coming weeks. And at that point, we can make a quick decision… We clearly have to support people as best we can.
Liz is much more daring, ambitious, she is more optimistic for the economy. And the combination of targeted tax cuts and targeted support can help both in the short term and grow the economy for medium term solutions.
As Annabelle Dickson reports in his London Playbook briefing for Politico, privately, Camp Truss’ response to the ‘electoral suicide’ article is much stronger. “The suicide note here is Rishi’s high taxes and failed economic policy that he peddled over the past two and a half years as Chancellor,” they say.
Hello. At 7 p.m. tonight, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will speak at the Conservative Party’s fifth official election campaign. TalkTV’s Tom Newton Dunn is for president, and the event may provide some insight into how the two candidates are appealing in “red wall” territory. The Conservatives won Darlington in 2019, but until then it had been a Labor seat since 1992. It is a key target seat for the opposition.
Truss and Sunak will also be under pressure to clarify exactly what they would do to help people deal with crippling energy bills later this year. A column in The Sun yesterday said Britain was ‘on the brink of a full-fledged calamity of wartime proportions’. In a statement released overnight Altar went further than he has done before, saying he would essentially replicate the support package he announced earlier this year as chancellor. He said:
People need proven methods that will serve them quickly. So I will use the framework I created to provide additional support and give millions of people the peace of mind they desperately need before winter.
In fact, Sunak has announced three energy support packages in the first half of this year, but his campaign briefing only refers to May’s £15billion package, implying that will be the model. Economists called the measures “very progressive”, saying they would help the poor the most.
Truss was less clear about what she would do. Her team said an interview she gave to the Financial Times late last week, in which she said she wanted to “do things conservatively by reducing the tax burden, not giving freebies “, didn’t mean she ruled out providing people with one-time Sunak-style payments. But she insists her main goal remains helping people through tax cuts.
This morning the Guardian splashed a story from my colleague Rowena Mason about the criticism ‘Trussonomics’ is receiving from economists and others who say its plans could cost £50billion a year, while failing to protect those most at risk from the cost of living crisis.
You can read Rowena’s story here.
And it turns out that the Rishi Sunak camp largely agrees with the experts Rowena quotes. Dominique Raab, the Justice Secretary, Deputy Prime Minister and one of Sunak’s leading supporters, wrote an article for The Times today and claimed that Truss’ policies would amount to an ‘electoral suicide note’ for the Conservatives because voters would not forgive the party for not helping the most vulnerable. He says:
Deep down we know that the aftermath of a global pandemic, compounded by war on our near shores, is having a palpable impact on people across the country. This is why, in addition to fighting ruthlessly against inflation, it is wrong to exclude additional direct support for families who are worried and uncertain about how they will manage to make ends meet in the months to come. That’s why it’s only right that we think carefully about how we step in and shield them from the full force of the global economic headwinds we currently face. We must tackle these problems in a way that does not increase borrowing, and therefore inflation – and with our medium-term objective constantly fixed on this objective of reducing taxes and making taxpayers’ money grow. . It’s the economic tightrope we have to walk, and there’s no avoiding it…
As members of the Conservative Party decide which way to vote over the next few weeks, I urge them to think carefully about this. If we go to the country in September with an emergency budget that will not be up to the task, voters will not forgive us because they see their standard of living eroded and the financial security they cherish. disappear before their eyes. Such a failure will unmistakably read to the public as an electoral suicide note and will see our great party thrown into the helpless oblivion of the opposition.
I’ll be here all day, reporting on this debate as it unfolds, and I’ll be covering the hustings at Darlington tonight.
Otherwise the newspaper is relatively empty, although Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labor leader, speaks at an event at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at 12pm which may provide some news.
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 [email protected]