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Liz Truss vs Rishi Sunak– latest: New PM to be announced as Tories warned ‘divided parties lose elections’ & More News Headlines

 

Truss promises energy bill action ‘within one week’ if made prime minister

Liz Truss is expected to be announced as the new prime minister today after a gruelling six-week Tory leadership campaign.

Voting among the estimated 200,000 Tory members charged with choosing Boris Johnson’s successor closed on Friday, and either the foreign secretary or Rishi Sunak will be declared the victor at 12:30pm by 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady.

Whoever is then handed the keys to No 10 at Balmoral on Tuesday “will face one of the most difficult inheritances of any prime minister” in the past 50 years, warned former No 10 chief of staff Gavin Barwell.

Several reports have suggested Ms Truss is strongly considering freezing energy bills to help households through the cost-of-living crisis if she wins the keys to No 10, with The Times suggesting the package could be on the scale of the Covid furlough scheme introduced by Mr Sunak while chancellor.

Senior Tory MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown urged his party to support whatever energy plan the next prime minister announces, warning that “divided parties do not win elections”.

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Analysis | Brexit aside, Johnson has ticked off little substantial from history’s to-do list

In this “living obituary” of Boris Johnson, our chief political commentator John Rentoul argues that, Brexit aside, the outgoing prime minister “has ticked off little substantial from history’s to-do list”. He writes:

“By the end, his lifetime’s assumption that the normal rules didn’t apply to him, which had served him so well, served him badly.

“He welcomed chaos because he thought it created opportunities. It was, after all, how he got Brexit done. As Tom Peck, my colleague, said at the time: ‘There was no darkest hour waiting for him, so he switched off the lights himself.’

“That should be his epitaph, because despite his belief that he had been betrayed, he was the author of his own downfall.”

You can read his evaluation of the Johnson premiership in full with Independent Premium:

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Truss to pay less than £2,000 for Downing Street energy bills this winter, Labour says

Liz Truss will pay less than £2,000 for her energy bills at Downing Street this winter if she wins the Tory leadership contest, according to analysis by Labour.

Electricity, gas and water at the No 10 and No 11 flats are covered by the state as a “benefit in kind” – with Ms Truss only set to pay tax on the perk of around £1,980 this winter – meaning she “won’t face the same concerns” as ordinary Britons, Labour said.

Regardless of how high the energy price cap soars, the maximum amount of tax the next PM would have to pay in tax for receiving free energy is around £3,400 each year.

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Benny Hill theme played outside parliament ahead of announcement of new PM

Some hours ahead of the announcement of Boris Johnson’s successor, activist Steve Bray can already be heard blaring the Benny Hill Show theme song outside parliament.

The music was also used by the so-called “Stop Brexit Man” as members of the media awaited Mr Johnson’s resignation in July.

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Boris Johnson comeback a ‘fantasy’, says former comms chief

Former Boris Johnson communications chief Will Walden has said he “doesn’t think there’s any coming back for Boris – he’ll disappear off to earn a lot of money”.

He said Johnson had given “tacit support” to the idea of another push for the leadership at some stage in a bid to “re-write the historical narrative” that he was hard done by.

“I think it is a fantasy, and I think Boris will know that,” he told LBC. “I think the Tory party will have to be in a pretty strange state of affairs to go back in time to Boris.”

Lord Marland, a former trade envoy, told the BBC last week that Mr Johnson wants to “go and put hay in the loft” after he leaves office.

“As he said to me the other day, he wants to go and put hay in the loft, in other words to build up his bank balance so that he can afford to pay for the lifestyle that he has created,” he said.

His immediate future as an MP is also uncertain. If Mr Johnson is found by the privileges committee to have lied to parliament, he could face a suspension from the Commons for 10 or more sitting days and a recall petition, which, if signed by 10 per cent of his constituents, would trigger a by-election.

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Truss ‘created tension and undermined trust’ as foreign secretary, Irish counterpart suggests

Ireland’s foreign affairs minister has said he hopes “the direction of travel” of British-Irish relations can be changed if Liz Truss enters No 10 – effectively accusing her of having “created a lot of tension and undermined trust” as foreign secretary.

Speaking on RTE Morning Ireland, Simon Coveney said he and Irish premier Micheal Martin were in Oxford at the weekend to meet British ministers, and that “everyone was talking about what a Liz Truss premiership would look like”.

“Whether the strident way in which she has brought forward the Northern Ireland Protocol legislation in the UK, which, of course, has created a lot of tension and undermined trust, whether that will continue to be her strategy as prime minister or not.”

Mr Coveney described Ms Truss as a “talented, very energetic politician”, adding: “She is going to be the next prime minister, and we will work with her and her team, but I hope we can change the direction of travel for British-Irish relations that we’ve seen over the last couple of years, which really has been one of tension and standoff on very important issues – predominantly related to Northern Ireland.”

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New PM’s first day ‘scary’ and chaotic’

Our political correspondent Adam Forrest reports:

Lord O’Donnell, who was cabinet secretary when David Cameron took over from Gordon Brown, said the new PM’s first hours in office will be “scary” and “a bit of a chaotic day”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is an incredibly exciting day for that person coming through the door at No 10, it’s the highlight of their career and that may be the biggest moment in their lives”.

The new prime minister gets clapped in by staff before going into the Cabinet Room, he said, adding: “It’s that moment that I remember – David Cameron putting his head in his hands and thinking, ‘Oh my god, what have I let myself in for?’.”

He said the new premier receives the nuclear codes, “quite scary” security and intelligence briefings, and phone calls from world leaders and people “claiming to be your mum or your dad”.

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Next PM faces ‘one of most difficult inheritances’ in past 50 years, says ex-No 10 chief of staff

The next prime minister “will face one of the most difficult inheritances of any prime minister in my lifetime”, a former No 10 chief of staff under Theresa May has warned.

Boris Johnson’s predecessor “inherited the huge Gordian knot of Brexit, but the rest of the policy environment was (relatively) benign”, while – in contrast – his successor “faces challenges on virtually every front”, according to Gavin Barwell.

In a lengthy Twitter thread detailing the myriad problems facing the next prime minister, Mr Barwell warned that targeted energy bills support for those on the lowest incomes “won’t be enough”, with businesses and people on average incomes also requiring help in a package he estimated could cost north of £100bn.

Referring to “widespread strikes over pay”, he added: “Ministers may think it is good politics to take the unions on, but they need to be careful – there is strong public support for some professions.”

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Truss plans to cut taxes will fuel inflation, IFS chief warns

Liz Truss’s plans to cut taxes to boost growth will further fuel inflation, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned.

“She’s clearly absolutely right that we’ve had dreadful growth over the last 15 years,” Paul Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “The ‘but’ is that simply cutting taxes, cutting National Insurance contributions, for example, is not a strategy for growth.

“And it is clearly pumping a large amount of money into the economy on top of the £30bn we’ve already had to support energy bills, on top of the presumably many, many tens of billions additional that are going to come from that, and on top of what’s going to have to be more money for public services.

“Now put all of that together and that will lead to not just extremely high borrowing in the short run, but also additional inflationary pressure”.

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Truss ‘considering price cap freeze’ in package ‘on scale of Covid furlough scheme’

Liz Truss is reported to be strongly considering freezing energy bills in a bid to ease the burden on households this winter if she wins the keys to No 10 today, in plans claimed to have been discussed with civil servants and potential Cabinet ministers.

“The plan is to introduce some kind of artificial price cap for consumers combined with a mechanism for reimbursing suppliers,” one source told The Times.

“Plans are reasonably well advanced and involve not just civil servants but also ministers lined up for jobs by Truss.”

Businesses struggling with soaring energy bills are also said to be in line for additional help, with the scale of the support package being drawn up reportedly “at least” around the £69bn cost of the Covid furlough scheme.

Dominic McGrath and Adam Forrest have more details here:

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Senior Tory MP urges colleagues to back new PM’s cost of living measures

Conservative MPs should support whatever plan the next prime minister announces to ease the cost of living crisis, a senior Tory has said, warning that “divided parties do not win elections”.

“I would hope that my colleagues will recognise the very serious situation we’re in and divided parties do not win elections,” Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“We are going to have a general election within two years and I think what the public want to see is a government delivering on their behalf in every respect, and above all, having a plan to deal with this very serious situation.

“And I would hope that all my colleagues when Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, whichever of the two of them it is, announces a plan, that they will get behind it and support it.”

The treasurer of the 1922 Committee denied knowing which candidate would be announced as winner, adding that he suspects the committee’s chair Sir Graham Brady knows the result, “but as always he is completely inscrutable on these matters”.

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