Tory leadership race: Liz Truss says ‘business-as-usual economic management’ has failed to deliver growth – live

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The Guardian

Good morning. Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, is officially launching her campaign for the Conservative party leadership this morning but within the last 24 hours she has probably been revising her script quite considerably. When she started planning her campaign, Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor, was seen as her main rival. But now the main threat is coming from Penny Mordaunt, and Truss will take a swipe at her by implying she does not have the experience to be PM from day one. (Mordaunt has served in cabinet, but as international development secretary, one of the most junior jobs, for about a year and a half, and as defence secretary for less than three months.)

In her speech at the launch, according to extracts released overnight, Truss will say:

I am ready to be prime minister on day one. I can lead, make tough decisions and rise to the moment.

In her speech she will also talk about wanting to make Britain an “aspiration nation” – while also implying that she was educated at a grim comprehensive school in Leeds, which has led to complaints that she is smearing an establishment with a good reputation.

There are two other important developments this morning in the leadership contest, which will see another round of voting start after lunch.

  • Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, has said attacked Mordaunt, saying that she was in practice his deputy in the trade negotiations with the EU last year and that she was not up to the job. He told Talk TV:

I felt she did not master the detail that was necessary in the negotiations last year. She wouldn’t always deliver tough messages to the European Union when that was necessary. And I’m afraid she wasn’t sort of fully accountable, she wasn’t always visible, sometimes I didn’t even know where she was. And I’m afraid this became such a problem that after six months I had to ask the prime minister to move her on and find somebody else to support me.

  • Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor and leadership candidate who came top in the first round of voting yesterday, has given an interview to the Today programme in which he repeatedly sounded evasive. He refused to accept that the government performed a U-turn over free school meals when he was chancellor (even though it did), he refused to say when he realised Boris Johnson was not a good prime minister, and he ducked a question about why he was preparing a campaign website last year. He was also reluctant to discuss what role Gavin Williamson was playing on his campaign, and, when asked if Williamson was a good education secretary, he sidestepped the question.

Here is the agenda for the day.

10am: Liz Truss launches her campaign for the Tory leadership.

10.40am: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, holds a press conference where she will publish a new paper on Scottish independence.

11.30am: Conservative MPs start voting in the second ballot for the leadership. Voting closes at 1.30pm.

3pm: Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, announces the result of the second round leadership ballot.

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July 14, 2022 at 02:09PM Andrew Sparrow

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