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Truss pledges investment in energy supply

Liz Truss: ‘we’ve not done enough’

Liz Truss, the favourite to win the Tory leadership race, last night pledged more investment in energy supply, including nuclear, aided by tax cuts.

Ms Truss told a hustings event in Perth that tackling supply was key to bringing down prices and easing the burden on households and businesses.

“Energy bills are a problem for consumers, but also for businesses,” she said. “What we need to do is deal with the supply issue. The fact is we didn’t invest in nuclear earlier enough, we haven’t done enough to use the resources in the North Sea and make sure the right incentives are in place, and we need to get on with that now.

“I understand people are struggling and this is why I think it is the wrong time to put up taxes and also the wrong time to put up taxes on business because we need businesses to invest.”

Her rival Rishi Sunak ruled out freezing the energy price cap, as demanded by Labour and a number of energy companies, and said that business rates were a major concern among small firms, which was why he had cut rates by 50% “and given to the Scottish Government to also do the same.”

Neither of the candidates gave much ground to Nicola Sturgeon’s hopes of securing Westminster’s permission for another independence referendum.

Ms Truss told the gathering of party members that she would not split up the union and stated Tory mantra that “at the time of the 2014 referendum, it was agreed by the SNP that it was a once-in-a-generation referendum”.

Her rival, the former chancellor, was asked whether he would block a referendum, but stated only that he “could not imagine the circumstances” that would convince him to grant a second vote.

He said: “We live in a union which is of course there by consent and by democracy and I accept that, but I just don’t think that anybody thinks that now or any time in the near future is remotely the time to focus on this.”

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Mr Sunak said that it was “quite frankly barmy” that any government would focus on an independence referendum during the cost of living crisis and that the public wanted to see the two governments working together.

Having previously said she would “ignore Ms Sturgeon”, Ms Truss said she wanted a “constructive relationship” with the Holyrood administration but would ignore calls for another referendum.

Mr Sunak said: “I don’t just want to ignore Nicola Sturgeon; I want to take her on and beat her.”

Both candidates said they would empower councils, insisting Ms Sturgeon only believed in devolution when it brought powers to the Scottish government.

Ms Truss attempted to tackle concerns over the damaging impact of the candidates squabbling by offering Mr Sunak a position in her cabinet if she won.

She said: “It is important that we unite the Conservative Party. We are all Conservatives, we all want to beat Nicola Sturgeon, we all want to beat Keir Starmer and we all want to make sure Conservatives win here in Scotland as well as right across the United Kingdom.

“I would want to appoint a cabinet of all the best talent from right across the Conservative Party, including Rishi Sunak, if I am successful in this leadership election.”

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP depute leader, described the hustings as “depressing watching for Scots”. She said: “Almost two hours of two out-of-touch Tory ministers trying to out-Thatcher one another, denying Scots their democracy, and trashing the record of the same Tory government they’ve been a key part of.

“It seems both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have very short memories — and it became even clearer that neither has a clue what ordinary folk are facing during this cost-of-living crisis, nor do they have a plan to support them.

“That is because they have spent their time in the Tory government making the rich richer and the poor poorer.”

Truss a ‘shoo-in’ says bookmaker

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is the Prime Minister in waiting according to the latest bookmaker odds which show her a red hot 1/25 to win the Tory leadership race.

Ms Truss and former Chancellor Rishi Sunak will be pitch their bids for the top job until 5 September, but according to BoyleSports the contest is effectively over.

In the latest betting Mr Sunak was eased from 6/1 to 8/1 with Ms Truss holding sway in the opinion polls, bolstered by support from former high-profile candidates Nadhim Zahawi and Tom Tugendhat.

The South West Norfolk MP was chalked up as a 10/1 shot when Boris Johnson announced his resignation, but few are likely to bet on odds that will payout just £1 for every £25 gambled.

Lawrence Lyons, spokesperson for BoyleSports said: “There may be some crucial votes still up for grabs in the Tory leadership race, but Rishi Sunak is going to require a huge upset of the odds to turn it around from here.

“A huge majority of punters remain in the Liz Truss camp and it’s not very often we see 1/25 shots beaten, so at this stage she has one foot in Number 10.” 

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