Politics Hub brings you the latest political news, insight and analysis from the Sky News team in Westminster. Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss will be the next prime minister after Penny Mordaunt was eliminated in the final ballot of Tory MPs – Conservative members now decide.
Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss will become the next prime minister after Penny Mordaunt was knocked out of the contest. The remaining two candidates will now face a summer of campaigning before Conservative members vote for who they want to be their next leader. What do they both stand for?
On the Sky News Daily, Niall Paterson talks to Conservative MPs Liam Fox, David Davis and Chloe Smith, and to Sky’s deputy political editor Sam Coates.
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Tory leadership contender Liz Truss has insisted her plan for an emergency budget to reverse the national insurance rise, scrap the planned corporation tax increase and suspend the green levies on energy bills is “not a gamble”.
The foreign secretary said she would take on the economic “consensus” of the past two decades and allow government borrowing to increase to fund her tax-cutting plan.
On her tax plan, she said: “It’s not a gamble, it’s an economic reality that the higher taxes you have the more growth is choked off.”
She also insisted increasing borrowing and cutting taxes would not increase inflation, insisting the “orthodoxy” of the Treasury and the opinions of many leading economists had failed to deliver growth.
“What is the gamble is what we’re doing at the moment because, currently, the United Kingdom is projected to head for a recession,” she said.
“So we need to do something different in order to get growth going, in order to put money in people’s pockets.”
With the rate of inflation hitting a fresh 40-year high, households across the UK are set to see further strain on their budgets.
Here, Sky’s Paul Kelso takes a look at the scale of the economic challenges facing the new leader of the Conservative Party.
Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney has said the EU is hopeful a change in UK prime minister will herald a “new start” in relations between Brussels and London.
Mr Coveney said that although he did not have a preference for Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak he hoped that whoever succeeded Boris Johnson would step away from the contentious move to override the Northern Ireland Protocol by way of domestic legislation at Westminster.
“The leadership contest within the Conservative Party is a matter for the Conservative Party,” he said.
“We’ll work with whoever the new leader is, whoever the new prime minister is.
“Of course, we hope that the new prime minister won’t pursue a strategy of breaking international law and breaking their word to Ireland and the EU.”
Mr Coveney said the EU was waiting to see what the approach of the next prime minister would be before deciding its next move in response to the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill.
“I think there is a sense in Brussels now that they want to wait for a new prime minister to be in office in number 10 Downing Street,” he said.
“And I think there is a certainly a willingness to try to work towards a new start, if you like, in relations between the British government and the EU.
“And certainly that’s the case from Dublin.
“I mean, we would like to see the change in Conservative Party leadership and the change in the prime minister’s office as an opportunity to try and resolve some of these outstanding issues in a different way.”
Choosing the next prime minister now lies with the Conservative Party membership.
Research from 2020 shows that 39% of Tory members are over the age of 65 and 56% live in the south of England.
Here, Sky News takes a look at who will be making the final decision.
It’s a phrase that dates from an episode of The West Wing, the cult TV drama about White House staff, back in 2000: “Take Out the Trash Day”.
It means a perfect opportunity for politicians to bury bad news, releasing embarrassing stories and escaping scrutiny by political opponents and the media.
And critics claim it’s an age-old government tactic in Whitehall too, as governments unleash a last-minute rush of activity on the day or days before Parliament rises.
This time, as MPs left Westminster for a six-week summer break, there were damning reports on migrant Channel crossings and a bungled bribery probe by the Serious Fraud Office and crime figures hitting their highest level for 20 years.
At Westminster, on the final day before the recess, ministers published 15 written statements, including the Treasury, revealing the divorce bill for leaving the EU is up by £5bn to £42.5bn, more anti-tank weapons for Ukraine and a self-congratulating four pages on “government delivery” by Boris Johnson.
Disclosures in the latest “Take Out the Trash” included:
“Where is the Home Secretary?” fumed Labour’s Yvette Cooper in response. “It’s a total disgrace that she has refused to meet the inspector, tried to bury his report, and is now in hiding.”
“This report lays bare a catalogue of woeful mismanagement and inexplicable misjudgements at the top of the SFO that allowed the architects of the Unaoil fraud to escape justice, and stitched up one of their junior staff to take the fall,” Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry responded.
A total of 6.3 million crimes were recorded in the year leading up to March 2022, 4% higher than the previous all-time high of 6.1 million in 2019/2020.
On Ukraine, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced in a written statement to MPs that Britain will send scores of artillery guns and more than 1,600 anti-tank weapons in the latest supply of arms.
And following his “Hasta la vista, baby” farewell to MPs in the Commons, Mr Johnson said in a valedictory written statement: “I am proud of our record in office since 2019. I remain determined that we continue to deliver in our final weeks.”
Mr Johnson’s latest “Take Out the Trash” tally is modest compared to some in recent years, however.
The governments of David Cameron and Theresa May announced bad news on controversial issues such as the “bedroom tax”, food banks, benefit cuts and climate deals sabotaged.
It’s thought the record was 424 documents, including 36 ministerial statements, at Christmas 2015, including £16bn lost to tax fraud, £2m on ministerial cars, curbing the power of the House of Lords, a police funding cut and rejecting proposals to cut deaths in prisons.
Among those announcements was also the bill for Whitehall special advisers rising from £8.4m to £9.2m, including a 42% pay rise for then chancellor George Osborne’s chief of staff, Thea Rogers. She is now his fiancée and they have a baby son.
A key court case that could allow the Scottish Parliament to legislate for another independence referendum will hear arguments in October, the Supreme Court has announced.
The Supreme Court confirmed that arguments will be heard on the 11 and 12 October- almost exactly a year ahead of the date of a proposed referendum.
However, dates are subject to change depending on court business.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last month she hoped to hold another vote on Scottish independence on 19 October 2023.
But if the court rules Holyrood does not have the required powers for a referendum, she said the next general election will be treated as a “de facto” poll.
Rishi Sunak has claimed the current evidence suggests the Tories would suffer a defeat at the next general election under Liz Truss.
The former chancellor told Tonight With Andrew Marr on LBC: “If you look at all the polling evidence that we have, and you see what that says, it’s pretty clear that I am the person that is best placed to defeat Keir Starmer in the next election.”
Speaking on his rival’s economic plans, he said if the government went on a “huge spending spree” it would “only make the situation worse” with inflation, adding that the country did not need “that kind of short-term growth”.
He also said “promising things that can’t be delivered” would damage trust with the public.
Explaining his aim for long-term growth, Mr Sunak described his economic plan as “common sense Thatcherism”.
And asked if further help for bills would come in the winter if bills continued to surge, he said he had proved in the past that “as and when the situation demands it I will act to help get people through it”.
During the interview, Mr Sunak also said it was important to “make our Rwanda policy work”.
“We do need to have control of our borders. When my grandparents came over, it was because the government decided they should come here,” he said.
“At the same time we welcome the best and the brightest, we need to get a control of our borders. The Rwanda policy gives us the opportunity to solve that.”
Addressing accusations of him being a “backstabber”, Mr Sunak said he was proud of many of the things he had achieved with Boris Johnson and was “sorry” he had to resign.
He added: “It got to a point when enough is enough. Everyone saw with the Chris Pincher situation and the economy.”
Mr Sunak also 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 Geidt resigned in June, accusing Mr Johnson of proposing a “deliberate” breach of the ministerial code.
Asked if he would bring back Lord Geidt, Mr Sunak 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.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan accused Boris Johnson of being in charge of the “most anti-London government in the history of governments” as he bid farewell to the outgoing prime minister.
While visiting Plaistow fire station in east London to pay tribute to the work of the London Fire Brigade, Mr Khan accused the prime minister of having “a middle-age crisis” and “trying to be like Tom Cruise flying a plane” while fires raged across the country.
His comments came after a video emerged of Mr Johnson flying in a Typhoon fighter jet last week.
Asked if he had any parting words for the Conservative leader, Mr Khan said: “I wish Boris Johnson all the best in his retirement. I wish him and his family all the best going forward.
“He would say he’s had a good innings, I think London is currently facing the consequences both of his mayoralty and of his premiership in relation to a cost of living crisis, in relation to inflation being at record levels, in relation to austerity affecting all our public services, in relation to this being the most anti-London government in the history of governments.
“And so his legacy will be there for Londoners to see now and I suspect for future generations.
“I do find it astonishing that when I held a London Cobra (meeting) on Friday which I chaired, I was in regular contact with various people across the weekend, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – the prime minister was holding a lavish party at Chequers and impersonating a middle-age crisis trying to be like Tom Cruise flying a plane.
“I think if he wants to stay as prime minister for the next six weeks, he needs to take charge of some of these issues to make sure that for six weeks we don’t have a prime minister who has checked out, we need a full-time prime minister.”
Downing Street has previously said Mr Johnson’s Typhoon flight was “important” to understand the RAF’s capabilities, and insisted no taxpayers’ money was used for the Chequers party.
Labour MP Stella Creasy has accused Liz Truss of plotting to take the UK “back to the 1950s” by considering using taxes to “make women stay home”.
Earlier today, the Tory leadership hopeful pledged tax reforms to prevent people being penalised for taking time off work to care for family members or children.
She also said she would launch a review to allow households to be treated as single tax entities if she were made prime minister.
Addressing the move, Ms Creasy said: “Families across this country are crying out for affordable childcare so that they don’t have to choose between their career and their kids – instead of helping them and investing in provision, Liz Truss seems to think taxes should be used to make women stay home instead.
“It shows you this Tory party wants to take Britain back to the 1950s, not help everyone thrive in the 2020s.”
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