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British Prime Minister contenders clash over tax cuts in televised debate

British Prime Minister contenders clash over tax cuts in televised debate
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  • 5 people are struggling to become Prime Minister of Great Britain from Boris Johnson
  • The second of three televised debates on Sunday
  • Tax plans at the center of heated competition
  • Polls show a mixed picture of who won

LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) – The five Conservative candidates still vying to become Britain’s next prime minister clashed over tax cuts in a second televised debate on Sunday, with the two leaders – Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss – stepping up their fight over the economy. .

With no candidate to replace Boris Johnson, who resigned after a series of scandals, the race to become the next leader remains unpredictable and is exposing divisions within the ruling Conservative Party.

Former finance minister Rishi Sunak has emerged as the favorite among the 358 Conservative MPs, who will hold a further vote this week to narrow the field of candidates down to the final two places.

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On Sunday evening, he said his number one priority would be to fight inflation and not make it worse before introducing tax cuts.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who has proposed scrapping increases in payroll tax and corporation tax at a cost of more than 30 billion pounds ($36 billion) a year, said Sunak had raised taxes to their highest level in 70 years.

“Raising taxes now will stifle economic growth,” he said in a debate hosted by ITV.

Sunak responded by saying he would “love to cut taxes” but it would come at the cost of higher inflation. “This no-nonsense economy is not conservative, it is socialism,” he said.

Junior minister Penny Mordaunt, currently in third place, also took aim at Sunak, saying the public needed “urgent action” to tackle the rising cost of living.

THE RACE IS STILL OPEN

A JL Partners poll for the Sunday Telegraph suggested that almost half of Conservative voters thought Sunak would make a good prime minister ahead of Truss and Mordaunt.

However, Truss has broad support, including among Johnson’s most loyalists, and Mordaunt topped the polls among the 200,000 party members who will ultimately choose who will become Conservative leader and therefore prime minister.

In a show of how open the race is, a poll of party members for the Conservative House website on Saturday suggested former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch was leading the pack, with Truss second and Mordaunt currently the bookies’ favourite. the third.

It comes after the fifth candidate, Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, topped a viewer poll after Friday’s first televised debate.

Whoever gets the job will take on soaring inflation and low economic growth, as well as public distrust of politics after Johnson’s scandal-ridden tenure.

Opinion polls also show the Conservatives lagging far behind the opposition Labor Party.

To the moderator’s question, they said that if all the candidates win, they will not hold an election immediately. There is no need for a national election in Britain until 2024.

Each day for the next three days, one candidate will be knocked out and the final two candidates will face a verdict from members of the Conservative Party. They will vote for the winner, who will be announced in September. 5.

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Reporting by Michael Holden and Paul Sandle; Edited by Daniel Wallis and Gareth Jones

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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