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Tory leadership race latest: Liz Truss opens up huge lead over Rishi Sunak in latest poll

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Watch: Boris Johnson’s government wins confidence with 349 votes

Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss has a huge lead over her rival Rishi Sunak in a new YouGov poll.

The foreign secretary opened up a 24-point lead after 62 per cent of the 730 Tory members that were surveyed said they would vote for her to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister.

Former chancellor Mr Sunak received 38 per cent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss’ plan to bring in immediate tax cuts is likely to push up prices and risks a return to 1970s-style inflation, top economists have warned while Mr Sunak has declared himself a Thatcherite.

Ms Truss pledged to bring in tax cuts of at least £30bn if she becomes PM, claiming: “My tax cuts will decrease inflation.”

Dr Jo Michell, associate professor of Economics at UWE Bristol, told The Independent that Ms Truss was wrong to claim tax cuts would bring inflation down.

“The tax cuts she’s proposing are more likely to be inflationary, so on the balance of probability her comments are false,” he said. “It’s certainly a gamble – saying the plan has no risk [of increasing inflation] is ridiculous.”

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Rishi Sunak vows to bring back Lord Geidt if he wins race to No 10

Rishi Sunak has insisted that he would reappoint an independent ethics adviser as “one of the first things” after winning the race to succeed Boris Johnson in No 10.

The former chancellor, who is competing against the foreign secretary Liz Truss in the Tory leadership contest, added that he would “probably” bring back Lord Christopher Geidt if he is prepared to return.

It comes after the outgoing prime minister ignited outrage last month with plans to scrap the post of independent ethics adviser after suffering the humiliating resignations of two holders of the role.

“I thought he did a good job in the first place. I haven’t spoken with him about it, so I don’t want to put him in an awkward position,” Mr Sunak said.

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Brexit divorce bill jumps by £10bn, government admits

The Brexit divorce bill negotiated by Boris Johnson has increased by nearly £10bn compared to the official estimate when the UK left the EU, ministers have admitted.

The Treasury slipped out an “updated government estimated of the financial settlement” in a written ministerial statement on Thursday as MPs headed back to their constituencies for summer recess.

The statement, from chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke, says the bill is now £42.5bn, which “shows an increase against the original range”.

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Boris Johnson could face bypoll if suspended

Boris Johnson could face a by-election if he is found to have misled the parliament in the Partygate investigation, according to a report from the privileges committee.

The outgoing prime minister is facing a parliamentary inquiry over what he told in the House of Commons regarding the parties in Downing Street during the lockdown.

If found that he misled the MPs about the events, he is likely to be suspended from the Commons for 10 days and face a recall petition.

This means voters in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency could force a by-election for the seat.

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ICYMI: Rishi Sunak rejects bringing forward income tax cut

Rishi Sunak has abandoned his promises to accelerate a cut to income tax in order to present himself as the more sensible candidate compared to his leadership rival Liz Truss.

The former chancellor has put down foreign secretary Ms Truss’s fiscal plans as “fairytale” economics.

Now, to fashion himself as the candidate that would be most trustworthy with the nation’s money, he is pressing the breaks on his plans for a 1p reduction to the basic 20p tax rate to be brought forward from spring 2024 to autumn 2023.

Read the full story here by deputy political editor Rob Merrick

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Truss ‘to spend on social care and reverse tax rise’ she voted for

Liz Truss said that – if she became prime minister – she would press on with plans to spend on social care despite also planning to reverse the current hike to national insurance.

The Tory leadership candidate was asked during her visit to Peterborough where the money would come from to tackle the NHS backlog.

Last year, foreign secretary Ms Truss voted in favour of the increase in national insurance rates.

Now she said: “I am going to proceed with that spending on social care. We can afford it within our budgets. We didn’t have to do the national insurance rise.

“It’s still the case that under my plans we can start paying back the debt within three years.”

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Sunak says: ‘I stopped UK sleepwalking into another lockdown’

Tory leadership hopeful Rishi Sunak has said the country was “hours away” from another national coronavirus lockdown in December but he stepped in and stopped it.

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 was spreading fast in December 2021, and prime minister Boris Johnson called on the nation to get their booster jabs.

Speaking on Tonight With Andrew Marr on LBC, former chancellor Mr Sunak said: “What I did in December was fly back from a Government trip I was on overseas and I flew back to this country to stop us sleepwalking into a national lockdown, because we were hours away from a press conference that was going to lock this country down again because of Omicron.

“And I came back and fought very hard against the system because I believed that would be the wrong thing for this country, with all the damage it would have done to businesses, to children’s education, to people’s lives.”

Mr Sunak made the comments during the Tory leadership race, in which he is going head-to-head with foreign secretary Liz Truss in a bid to succeed Mr Johnson.

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Rishi Sunak says as PM he would quickly appoint ethics adviser

Rishi Sunak has said “one of the first” things he would do as prime minister would be to appoint an independent ethics adviser.

The post is vacant after Lord Christopher Geidt dramatically resigned in June, accusing PM Boris Johnson of proposing a “deliberate” breach of the ministerial code.

Lord Geidt said he had been narrowly clinging on to his role over partygate but chose to eventually quit after being forced into an “impossible and odious” position by Mr Johnson over steel tariffs.

Lord Christopher Geidt in 2015

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He was the second ethics adviser to resign during Mr Johnson’s tenure as prime minister that is expected to end in September.

Speaking on Tonight With Andrew Marr on LBC, former chancellor Mr Sunak said: “I definitely will reappoint an independent ethics adviser and it will be one of the first things I do.”

Asked if he would bring back Lord Geidt, he said he “probably” would because he thought he did a good job.

“I haven’t spoken to him about it so I don’t want to put him in an awkward position,” he said.

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Watchdog’s report ‘damning indictment’ of immigration policy

A watchdog’s report is a “damning indictment” of government policy as it exposes failures in the response to migrant crossings, the Labour Party said.

Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration David Neal found the Home Office’s performance was “poor” and said the system was “overwhelmed”.

Labour said the findings demonstrated the scale of incompetency in government while charities claimed there were failings in the duty of care of public bodies towards migrants.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “This report is a truly damning indictment of a Conservative Government which has badly lost control of border security.”

She branded findings which revealed fingerprints and photographs were not taken from every migrant that arrives in the UK as “flabbergasting”, saying that if people can disappear without any biometrics checks this puts “national security at risk and encourages criminal trafficking gangs”.

“This is the third highly critical report on the chaos in the government’s border operations in a week following yesterday’s independent review and the cross-party committee report on Monday. Where is the Home Secretary?

“It’s a total disgrace that she has refused to meet the inspector, tried to bury his report, and is now in hiding. The Conservatives are clearly completely unable to govern and failing to function.”

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Truss says as PM she would seek private funds for royal yacht

Liz Truss suggested she could seek “private sector funding” to buy a royal yacht if she becomes prime minister.

In 1997, the Conservatives promised to replace the decommissioned yacht Britannia if re-elected but Labour’s victory under Tory Blair put a stop to those plans.

Mr Blair then said that the Queen had “made clear” that she did not need a yacht for travel.

The royal yacht Britannia sailing in Hong Kong before it was decommissioned

(AFP/Getty)

But now, Ms Truss, one of two Tory leadership candidates other than Rishi Sunak, told reporters in Peterborough: “I do support the idea of promoting our trade around the world.

“What I would be seeking is to get investment into a yacht, looking to the private sector to assist with that to make it financially viable.”

It comes as she also said this evening that her anti-monarchy speech as a teenager – at the 1994 Liberal Democrat conference – was a “mistake” that she had regretted instantly.

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Starmer: ‘I hated being subject to a criminal investigation’

Sir Keir Starmer has opened up about how much he “hated” being subject to a criminal investigation during the “beergate” saga.

The Labour leader said the police probe into claims he breached Covid rules weighed on him like a “burden”, and he was “massively pleased” when he was cleared.

Sir Keir and his deputy Angela Rayner had pledged to resign if they received fines in relation to a gathering in the offices of a local Labour MP in England’s northeast in April 2021. Durham Constabulary found there was no case to answer.

Sir Keir Starmer drinking a beer in April 2021

(Provided)

Speaking to Beth Rigby Interviews on Sky News, Sir Keir said: “I really hated it, if I’m honest, being subject to a criminal investigation, when you’ve been the director of public prosecutions, I hated it.

“And I’m not like other people in many respects, who may say, well, it doesn’t really matter… it really meant a lot to me.

“It was a burden that I was carrying. I’m trying not to show it of course. But it was, you know, it was there every day.

“And of course, I was massively pleased when the decision came through, completely exonerated me.”

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