Tory leadership: How Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak's tax cut plans aim to tackle UK debt and inflation
The race to become the new prime minister and Tory leader is very much a battle of rival tax plans: how fast and how deep. Rishi Sunak today unveiled plans for a 4p cut in income tax that would take the basic rate to 16 per cent, though not until the end of the decade.Though backed by more Tory MPs than Liz Truss, she has taken a lead in polls of party members thanks to her tax plans. And in this election, they are the only people who matter.She has outlined plans to halt a future planned rise in corporation tax due to come in to effect in the spring, taking it from 19 per cent to 25 per cent.
Rishi Sunak has said Nicola Sturgeon needs to be beaten rather than ignored, aiming a dig at Liz Truss who earlier this week called Scotland's first minister an "attention seeker".
Mr Sunak said Ms Sturgeon and her party the SNP "pose an existential threat to our cherished union", adding: "Arguing that we should ignore them is dangerously complacent."
Politics Hub: Updates from the Tory leadership race
"We can't just bury our heads in the sand and pretend they aren't there - we need to stop them in their tracks," the former chancellor said.
"And that's exactly what I would do as prime minister - holding the SNP to account for its failings and personally ensuring that the UK government has a laser focus on delivering for every part of our United Kingdom."
Climate crisis captured in shocking images
In 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its landmark report detailing the catastrophic consequences of global heating, we’ve also seen a plethora of natural disasters. From lakes drying up to glaciers melting, biblical floods and apocalyptic sandstorms, these shocking images show that the impacts of the climate crisis are already being felt all over the world.
It comes a few days after Tory leadership frontrunner Ms Truss suggested she would "ignore" Ms Sturgeon if she were to become the next leader of the Conservative Party.
Speaking at a Tory leadership hustings in Exeter, the foreign secretary called Scotland's first minister an "attention seeker" and responded "no, no, no" when asked about the prospect of another independence referendum if she were to become PM.
"I really believe we are a family, and we're better together," she said.
"I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her. She's an attention seeker, that's what she is."
But the SNP hit back at the "cack-handed" comments, saying they would only boost support for independence.
Rishi Sunak defends himself after boasting about diverting cash AWAY from 'deprived urban areas'
Rishi Sunak has defended his remarks about how he took cash away from 'deprived urban areas' and gave it to more prosperous towns. The former chancellor was filmed bragging that he had started changing public funding formulas when he was chancellor to ensure places like Tunbridge Wells receive 'the funding they deserve'.The New Statesman magazine, which obtained the video, said they were made to grassroots Tories in the Kent town on July 29.
The party's deputy leader in Westminster, Kirsten Oswald, said: "The likely next prime minister has made crystal clear the partnership of equals Scotland was promised in 2014 was a sham.
"Firing cheap shots to grab headlines is straight out of the Trump playbook but reveals as never before the contempt Westminster has for the democratic choices people in Scotland make and the elected Scottish government."
On Friday evening, Ms Sturgeon herself acknowledged the remark, tweeting a picture of a seal captioned: "Spotted this cute seal in beautiful Argyll. I think s/he might be a bit of an attention seeker."
Some Tory MPs also criticised Ms Truss' remarks, with former minister Liam Fox saying Ms Sturgeon had to be "treated with respect".
Mr Fox, who is backing Mr Sunak in the leadership contest, told Sky News: "Whenever I hear politicians accusing other politicians of being attention seeking, I do tend to raise an eyebrow.
Liz Truss's vow to 'ignore' Nicola Sturgeon is the verbal warfare the SNP craves, warns GORDON BROWN
GORDON BROWN: When I was prime minister, I decided one evening to have the leaders of all Scotland's main political parties over for dinner at my house in Fife. The idea was to show – literally – that my door was open to them.It wasn't as ground-breaking an event as Sidney Poitier's Guess Who's Coming To Dinner and it didn't go perfectly. But nor did I expect it to. The then First Minister Alex Salmond used the occasion to launch his usual demand for independence.
"When it comes to the first minister of Scotland, they have a constitutional position, they have to be treated with respect."
Both Mr Sunak and Ms Truss have been clear that they would not grant Ms Sturgeon a second independence referendum in Scotland if elected as PM and would instead seek to strengthen the union.
Meanwhile, Mr Sunak has also accused Ms Truss of "imitation" as the foreign secretary is set to reveal her levelling up plan which has been backed by regional Tory leaders.
The foreign secretary is expected to announce that she will review the levelling up formula to fix underinvestment in regional infrastructure if she becomes prime minister and will ensure transport links are better integrated across buses, road, and rail.
Ms Truss will add that her administration would make the most of the UK's "new Brexit freedoms" - including creating low tax, low regulation "investment zones" on brownfield sites.
Ahead of unveiling her levelling up proposals at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday, Ms Truss said: "My mission as prime minister will be to level up opportunity and realise aspiration no matter who you are or where you live."
But Mr Sunak's team accused Ms Truss of "copy and pasting policies put in place by Rishi" and "re-announcing two-year-old government policies".
"Imitation is the best form of flattery, as the saying goes," they said.
However, regional Tory leaders Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands and Jake Berry, chair of the Northern Research Group described Ms Truss' levelling up initiatives as a "bold vision".
Mr Street said: "She has a bold vision for our regional economies, with the policies we need to make levelling up a reality. Her plan for investment zones, for instance, will give us a powerful tool for unlocking new investment, jobs, and growth."
Truss and Sunak in bitter clash over cost of living crisis as Tory leadership contest comes to North East .
The two contenders to replace Boris Johnson in Downing Street faced off at a hustings in DarlingtonThe two contenders to become the next Prime Minister were pitted against each other in front of a crowd of Conservative voters in Darlington on Tuesday night, in the fifth of 12 leadership hustings around the country and the only one being held in our region. In one of the traditional Labour heartland constituencies that turned blue in 2019, the candidates pledged to deliver on levelling up promises made to the North East and once again were bitterly divided over how to help families cope with escalating bills.