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UK PM contenders set to clash in TV debate

Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, chair of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also remain in the running but trail the others in support from Conservative lawmakers…reports Asian Lite News

British foreign minister Liz Truss clashed over tax policy with former finance minister Rishi Sunak on Friday, as the five remaining contenders to be Britain’s next prime minister went head-to-head in the first of three televised debates.

An initial field of 11 challengers has been whittled down following two days of votes by lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party.

While Sunak has topped those two votes, he faces stiff competition from Truss, who has the backing of a number of senior figures, and junior trade minister Penny Mordaunt, who polls suggest is the most popular with party members who will decide the winner.

Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, chair of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also remain in the running but trail the others in support from Conservative lawmakers.

A snap poll by market research company Opinium of the British public showed Tugendhat was viewed as the best performer by 36% of viewers. Sunak came second on 24%, followed by Mordaunt and Badenoch on 12% and Truss at the rear on 7%.

Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat, chair of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, also remain in the running but trail the others in support from Conservative lawmakers.

A snap poll by market research company Opinium of the British public showed Tugendhat was viewed as the best performer by 36% of viewers. Sunak came second on 24%, followed by Mordaunt and Badenoch on 12% and Truss at the rear on 7%.

“We have to be honest, borrowing your way out of inflation isn’t a plan, it’s a fairy tale,” Sunak told Truss.

Truss said tax rises would undermine business investment just as the economy was faltering. “You cannot tax your way to grace,” she said.

Johnson, who resigned as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party on July 7, has been urging defeated Tory leadership candidates not to back former chancellor Sunak, who is widely blamed for Johnson’s loss of support among his own party members, The Times newspaper reported.

“The whole No 10 [Downing Street] team hates Rishi. It’s personal. It’s vitriolic. They don’t blame Saj [Sajid Javid] for bringing him down. They blame Rishi. They think he was planning this for months,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

All five candidates will clash in a television debate on Sunday before the third round of voting set on Monday, when Conservative MPs will further narrow down the field as the candidate with the least votes is knocked out of the race until only two remain.

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