Tory leadership race: Truss to launch campaign with swipe at Mordaunt’s inexperience – live | Politics

Key events:

Truss says ‘business-as-usual economic management’ has failed to deliver high growth for decades

Liz Truss says we are at a critical moment for our country.

Now is the time to be bold. We cannot have business-as-usual economic management which has delivered low growth for decades.

And we need to win the fight for freedom around the world, she says.

I will campaign as a Conservative and I will govern as a Conservative. I can lead, I can govern, and I can get things done. I am ready to be prime minister from day one.

Liz Truss launches her campaign for Tory leadership

Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, introduces Liz Truss. He says she has done more than anyone to deliver on the potential of Brexit.

Sunak claims he is candidate best able to beat Labor at next election

And here is a full summary of what Rishi Sunak said in his Today interview.

  • Sunak, the former chancellor and Tory leadership candidate, said that “of course” he intended to stay in the UK if he did not become prime minister. The presenter, Justin Webb, asked the question because Sunak had a US green card when he became chancellor, which gives someone the right to work in the US and normally implies a long-term intention to settle there. In response, Sunak said:

I was living and working and studying in America at the time but after that I returned to the United Kingdom and decided to try and serve my country as an MP and then in government and now, hopefully, if I’m fortunate enough, as prime minister.

  • He rejected claim his family wealth meant he was not qualified to be PM, because he could not appreciate how people struggle with the cost of living. Asked about this, he replied:

I do not judge people by their bank accounts, I judge them by their character and I think people can judge me by my actions over the past couple of years. Whenever I have needed to step in to support people I have and furlough is a fantastic example of that.

Sunak and his wife are reported to be worth £ 730m, mostly because his wife is the heiress daughter of a tech billionaire.

  • He said as PM he would maintain the policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda. He said:

I think it’s absolutely critical that we have control of our borders, and I say that as the child and grandchild of immigrants. This country has a proud history of welcoming people but it’s also vital that we’re in control of who’s coming here.

And, sadly, there is an illegal set of criminal gangs who were causing people to die in pursuit of coming here. We must stop that.

  • He refused to commit to keeping Nadhim Zahawi as chancellor if he became PM. Asked if Zahawi would stay in his post, he replied:

It would not be appropriate for anybody to start talking about all of those things.

If I’m fortunate enough to be elected and selected as prime minister, I will build a team around me that draws on all the talents of our party.

I do not cut taxes to win elections, I win elections to cut taxes.

  • He said he was the best candidate to beat Labor at the next election. He said:

I’m convinced that I’m the best person to beat Keir Starmer and the Labor party at the next election.

That claim is half justified by recent polling from Ipsos Mori, which shows more people think he is likely to make a good PM than they think Keir Starmer is, or any of the other Tory leadership candidates are. But the same poll shows that most people do not have a view on Penny Mordaunt yet, and that her net score (people who think she would make a good PM, minus those who think she would make a bad PM), which is -4, is higher than Sunaks, which is -5.

  • Sunak played down claims that Sir Gavin Williamson, the former Tory chief whip and former education secretary, is playing a major role in his campaign. Williamson has been seen as a devious figure by many Tories, and claims that he has been pulling the strings in the Sunak campaign have been damaging. Sunak said Mel Stride was in charge of the parliamentary aspects of his campaign. He went on:

Like all the members of parliament who are on my team, they are talking to colleagues and making the case for my candidacy because they believe that I am the best person to beat Keir Starmer and the Labor party and I’m really grateful for all their support.

This is from Newsnight’s Lewis Goodall on Rishi Sunak’s Today interview.

Sunak’s problems embodied in the IV there.

1) is consistently drawn back to both political association with BJ and economic record
2) can be evasive about both.
3) strongest lines around credibility on tax. Q is whether Tory selectorate wants to hear it / breaks through points 1 \ 2

Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) July 14, 2022

And this is from my colleague Peter Walker.

That was a pretty tricky R4 interview for Rishi Sunak. Avoided quite a few questions, not least on whether he was shamed into reversing on holiday school meals by Marcus Rashford.

– Peter Walker (@ peterwalker99) July 14, 2022

Good morning. Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, is officially launching her campaign for the Conservative party leadership this morning but within the last 24 hours she has probably been revising her script quite considerably. When she started planning her campaign, Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, was seen as her main rival. But now the main threat is coming from Penny Mordaunt, and Truss will take a swipe at her by implying she does not have the experience to be PM from day one. (Mordaunt has served in cabinet, but as international development secretary, one of the most junior jobs, for about a year and a half, and as defense secretary for less than three months.)

In her speech at the launch, according to extracts released overnight, Truss will say:

I am ready to be prime minister on day one. I can lead, make tough decisions and rise to the moment.

In her speech she will also talk about wanting to make Britain an “aspiration nation” – while also implying that she was educated at a grim comprehensive school in Leeds, which has led to complaints that she is smearing an establishment with a good reputation.

There are two other important developments this morning in the leadership contest, which will see another round of voting start after lunch.

  • Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, has attacked Mordaunt, saying that she was in practice his deputy in trade negotiations with the EU last year and that she was not up to the job. He told Talk TV:

I felt she did not master the detail that was necessary in the negotiations last year. She would not always deliver tough messages to the European Union when that was necessary. And I’m afraid she wasn’t sort of fully accountable, she wasn’t always visible, sometimes I did not even know where she was. And I’m afraid this became such a problem that after six months I had to ask the prime minister to move her on and find somebody else to support me.

Ex Cabinet minister Lord Frost has “grave reservations” about Penny Mordaunt becoming the next PM.

“I am surprised at where she is in this leadership race. She was my deputy. She was not fully accountable or visible. I had to ask the PM to move her on”@ JuliaHB1 | @DavidGHFrost

– TalkTV (@TalkTV) July 14, 2022

  • Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor and leadership candidate who came top in the first round of voting yesterday, has given an interview to the Today program in which he repeatedly sounded evasive. He refused to accept that the government performed a U-turn over free school meals when he was chancellor (even though it did), he refused to say when he realized Boris Johnson was not a good prime minister, and he ducked a question about why he was preparing a campaign website last year. He was also reluctant to discuss what role Gavin Williamson was playing on his campaign, and, when asked if Williamson was a good education secretary, he sidestepped the question.

Here is the agenda for the day.

10am: Liz Truss launches her campaign for the Tory leadership.

10am: Tom Tugendhat, another leadership contender, holds a press briefing.

10.40am: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, holds a press conference where she will publish a new paper on Scottish independence.

11.30am: Conservative MPs start voting in the second ballot for the leadership. Voting closes at 1.30pm.

3pm: Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, announces the result of the second round leadership ballot.

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 not promise to do this for everyone.

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

Alternatively, you can email me at

Leave a Comment