Boris Johnson’s succession: Rishi Sunak emerged victorious from a debate but Liz Truss remains the favorite to retain the position

Rishi Sunak smiles during the televised debate. Liz Truss, in the background (Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS) (BBC/)

Former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak received this Thursday the greatest support among the Conservative Party affiliates who attended a televised debate with Liz Truss as an audience, the other candidate to succeed Boris Johnson as head of the UK Government.

Despite Truss is the clear favorite in the polls to win the primaries of the formation and inherit the position of prime minister, it was Sunak who convinced more members of the public todayselected by chain SkyNews among the undecided with the right to participate in the process, which in a show of hands at the end of the program they showed a large majority for the former minister.

The fiscal model that the next Executive will apply to deal with the cost of living crisis was the central axis of the arguments of both candidates, who responded separately to questions from the attendees and from a journalist.

The candidate for leader of the Conservative Party, Liz Truss (REUTERS / Peter Nicholls)
The candidate for leader of the Conservative Party, Liz Truss (REUTERS / Peter Nicholls) (PETER NICHOLLS /)

The Foreign Minister outlined her plan to keeping taxes “as low as possible” and postponing public debt reduction accumulated during the pandemic, while the former Minister of Economy defended his program to increase corporate tax and give priority to income in public coffers.

“It is important keep taxation low, do all we can to grow the economy and take advantage of our freedoms after BrexitTruss said.

The head of the Foreign Office assured that a recession “is not inevitable”, despite the fact that the Bank of England today predicted that the United Kingdom will enter that field from the fourth quarter. Truss also argued that “trying to balance the accounts too prematurely” after the pandemic would be “counterproductive”.

Sunak, whose resignation as minister in July was key to Johnson leaving Downing Streetwarned for his part that the “economy lights are blinking red” and assured that Truss’s recipe “will make the situation worse.”

A person in the public of the debate raises a poster in favor of Rishi Sunak, candidate to succeed Boris Johnson (REUTERS / Peter Nicholls)
A person in the public of the debate raises a poster in favor of Rishi Sunak, candidate to succeed Boris Johnson (REUTERS / Peter Nicholls) (PETER NICHOLLS /)

”It is not the tax burden that is causing the recession, that is simply wrong, it is inflation, that is the root of the problem”, he added.

Truss remains the favorite

Despite Sunak’s success on Thursday’s show, Truss’s lead in the polls is overwhelming. According to the polls published this week, even if all the undecided were to opt for her rival, she would continue to win these primaries by a wide margin.

The latest of those polls, released today by the influential website ConservativeHomethe minister has 32 percentage points advantage (58% of the votes against 26% Sunak)a result consistent with another study published on Wednesday by YouGov, which gave him a 34-point advantage.

This is a difference similar to the one that Boris Johnson obtained when he won the 2019 primaries against Jeremy Hunt.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss campaigning (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool)
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss campaigning (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Pool) (HENRY NICHOLLS/)

Hard hand with Russia

In the realm of UK international politics, both applicants highlighted their intention to show a strong hand with Russia for his invasion of Ukraine and bet on increase punishments against the Kremlin.

“Need toughen sanctions to Russia because right now (its president, Vladimir) Putin can finance his crushing war machine thanks to the oil and gas revenues he is receiving,” said Truss, who has promised increase the defense budget to 3% of GDP between now and 2030.

Sunak, for his part, also assured that as prime minister he would “go further” in measures to isolate Russia, although he emphasized that he contributed from Economy to design the current sanctions. “I myself have already put in place the measures that are creating the biggest problems for (Putin),” he said.

(With information from EFE)

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