The five conservative candidates who aspire to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom got into a fight this Sunday in a second television debate that directed most of the darts to the favorite of the race, the former minister of Rishi Sunak Economy.
The cost of living was the first topic addressed by the presenter, Julie Etchingham, in a debate without an audience broadcast by the channel “ITV” full of scuffles between the five who want to occupy Number 10 Downing Street in seven weeks: Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, and Tom Tugendhat.
The current Foreign Minister, Liz Truss -who is still in the government of the resigning Boris Johnson-, was the one who launched the first attack on Sunak with the accusation of “suffocating” the economy by raising taxes “to the highest levels that have been seen in 70 years.
“This is not going to lead to economic growth,” Truss attacked. “You raised the Social Security rate even when people like me in Cabinet opposed it, because we couldn’t afford to fund the NHS through general taxes.
The favorite continued to defend, as he did in the first debate on Friday, his commitment to the difficult management of the pandemic, where he had to make unconventional decisions for the “tory” party with extensive aid to the population and companies.
“Inflation is what impoverishes everyone,” Sunak said, while defending that he would only cut taxes “in a responsible way.”
Kemi Badenoch, a right-wing candidate who casts herself as the “truth teller,” also seized on the need to end inflation, drawing on her life experiences working in burger joints and cleaning toilets to empathize with citizens.
Liz Truss insisted on presenting herself as the candidate who had already shown her ability to deliver, both in the Ukraine war and in the post-Brexit negotiations, dealing with the problems of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
THE NEED FOR “A NEW BEGINNING”
In the middle of the debate, the presenter asked those who would put Boris Johnson in his cabinet to raise their hands in case he “wished to serve” and ran into five candidates who froze when they heard the forbidden name, without raising a finger. his lectern.
The will to cut off all Johnson’s legacy permeated the entire debate and was the most repeated mantra by Tugendhat, chairman of the parliamentary committee on Foreign Affairs, who opted for “a new beginning” and repeated over and over again that it was “time for change”.
Even so, the “new beginning” of a clean slate was somewhat dissipated when the presenter asked them about the possibility of imminent general elections: none of the candidates plans to call them if they take over the leadership of the country, entrenching themselves in the “manifesto shared” (the electoral program) that pushes them to continue with a common cause.
The five candidates will submit this Monday to a third internal vote among the conservative deputies, where another candidate will be eliminated from a list that next week will end up being reduced to two names, which will be exposed to an election among the 200,000 party members.