Tory leadership hustings: Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak face grilling in Belfast - watch live




  • In World
  • 2022-08-17 11:59:17Z
  • By The Telegraph
  • Belfast hustings is eighth of 12 formal events

  • Truss said UK workers should show 'more graft'

  • Horizon tit-for-tat shows Truss will not give Brexit ground

  • Truss will act 'very quickly' to combat cost of living crisis

  • The key dates in this Tory leadership race

  • follow the latest odds with our live

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are taking part in their second Tory leadership hustings in less than 24 hours as they face a grilling in Belfast this afternoon.

The two rivals faced Conservative Party members in Perth, Scotland, last night and have now travelled to Northern Ireland as the race for No 10 intensifies.

Follow the latest developments below.

12:50 PM

Rishi Sunak reiterates cost of living pledge

Conservative leadership contender Rishi Sunak has reiterated his pledge to bring forward more direct cost of living support for the most vulnerable in society if he becomes PM.

Mr Sunak said he "would go further as prime minister and ensure that more support was targeted particularly on the most vulnerable".

He told BBC Radio Ulster: "Now as chancellor I put in place support, I would go further as prime minister and ensure that more support was targeted particularly on the most vulnerable, and by that I mean two groups in particular: those families on low incomes and also pensioners.

Rishi Sunak reacts during a visit to the Thales Defence System plant in Belfast - Getty Images Europe
Rishi Sunak reacts during a visit to the Thales Defence System plant in Belfast - Getty Images Europe  

"And under my plan those groups would get extra financial support directly over the autumn and winter.

"I would, as I did as chancellor, ensure that that support was delivered UK-wide to benefit those people in Northern Ireland because I know it's an anxious time and it's right that we support the most vulnerable at a time like that, and that's what I would do as prime minister."

12:46 PM

'My plan is the same as Liz's plan'

Rishi Sunak has said that his plan is "the same as Liz's plan" in relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster ahead of this afternoon's hustings event, Mr Sunak said: "I think actually both Liz and I are supporting the same Bill that is in Parliament, that we both support and so in that sense there isn't a difference between us.

"My plan is the same as Liz's plan, which is to push on and pass the Bill that is in Parliament, and I'm confident that that's the right way to resolve the situation, and people should be in no doubt that under my premiership that Bill would continue to make its way through Parliament and become law."

12:44 PM

Eight down, four to go

Today's hustings in Belfast is the eighth of 12 formal hustings events in this Tory leadership contest.

After today, the remaining hustings are:

  • Manchester, August 19

  • Birmingham, August 23

  • Norwich, August 25

  • London, August 31

The winner of the contest will then be announced on September 5.

12:36 PM

What happened at last night's hustings?

Rishi Sunak last night pledged at a hustings event in Perth, Scotland, not to "ignore" Nicola Sturgeon if he becomes PM but to "take her on" and beat the SNP at the ballot box.

"We have to deliver the economic growth," Mr Sunak told the audience of Tory members.

"We can't trust the SNP to do it, can we? They can't even get the ferries to work. I don't want to ignore Nicola Sturgeon, I want to take her on and beat her."

You can read the full story on last night's hustings here.

12:25 PM

Poll boost for Liz Truss

Almost two thirds of Tory members surveyed by the Conservative Home website have said they intend to vote for Liz Truss in the party's leadership contest.

Some 60 per cent said they were backing Ms Truss compared to 28 per cent for Mr Sunak.

The survey of 961 people, published this morning, found about 12 per cent are still undecided. It also found that 60 per cent of members had already voted while 40 per cent had not.

12:16 PM

The backdrop for today's hustings

Two issues are likely to dominate today's event: The cost-of-living crisis and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The cost of living challenge facing the winner of the leadership contest was illustrated in stark fashion this morning as inflation was shown to have hit double digits in July.

Both candidates will be under pressure to explain in detail how they would help struggling households.

Rishi Sunak looks at an NLAW anti-tank missile launcher, supplied to Ukraine, as he visits the Thales Defence System plant in Belfast - Reuters
Rishi Sunak looks at an NLAW anti-tank missile launcher, supplied to Ukraine, as he visits the Thales Defence System plant in Belfast - Reuters  

On Brexit, today's hustings comes just one day after Liz Truss began formal dispute proceedings against the European Union, accusing Brussels of a "clear breach" of the UK-EU trade deal.

The Government has launched "formal consultations" over the EU's refusal to sign off the UK's membership of its Horizon research programme. The European Commission has refused to finalise a membership agreement because of tensions over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Both candidates are likely to be asked how they would approach the UK's relationship with the bloc.

12:10 PM

Good afternoon

Good afternoon and welcome to a special Tory leadership edition of the politics live blog.

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are set to face Conservative Party members in Belfast from 1pm as they take part in their second Tory leadership hustings in less than 24 hours.

Last night they were in Perth, Scotland, and today's event in Northern Ireland is the eighth of a total of 12 scheduled hustings.

The contest is now entering a crunch phase, with the candidates aware they are running out of time to win over members ahead of the winner being declared on September 5.

It promises to be another important step on the path to selecting Boris Johnson's replacement and I will be on hand to guide you through the key developments.

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