Boris says next PM must ‘finish work on Brexit’ and ‘protect his legacy’ on Ukraine | Politics | New
The five candidates faced off in the first of three live televised debates
Mr Johnson has told his closest allies that he ‘does not specifically support any’ of the five remaining contestants in the competition. ‘Whoever it is must finish the job on Brexit – let the lion roar for Britain,’ said a source close to Mr Johnson.
“Brexit must be properly organised. This is unfinished business and the full benefits of Brexit have yet to be realized. »
According to a source, he will ensure that his three big files remain a priority for his successor.
The source said: “He was disappointed with what happened with Rishi Sunak [his resignation as Chancellor] but he doesn’t hate it.
“He’s intrigued by Penny Mordaunt and thinks Liz Truss will solve the key issues.”
Mr Johnson also hopes to visit Ukraine before the end of his term as Prime Minister on September 5.
The source added, “He really wants to see President Zelensky again. It is important that Britain continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine.
The Tory leadership race intensified yesterday as the five candidates faced off in the first of three live televised debates.
It came as momentum appeared to be building behind Ms Truss in the race to replace Mr Johnson, with a number of high profile backers backing her.
Mr Johnson is intrigued by Penny Mordaunt and believes Liz Truss will answer key questions
The Foreign Secretary – who is said to have hosted potential backers for ‘fizz with Liz’ in her Commons office – is currently third in bets, behind Ms Mourdant and Mr Sunak, after winning backing from 64 MPs in Thursday’s second round of voting.
But her numbers have since been bolstered by Suella Braverman, who was knocked out of the contest after coming in last in Thursday’s vote, and influential backbench MP Steve Baker.
European Research Group chairman Mark Francois also signaled his support with many of the group’s 60 MPs expected to follow suit. Yesterday, in a direct appeal to her supporters, Ms Braverman urged them to back the Foreign Secretary.
She said: “Liz is ready now to be a PM. She won’t need to learn on the job.
In what appeared to be another swipe at Ms Mordaunt, whom she criticized for her views on transgender rights, Ms Braverman praised Ms Truss for her stance on identity politics.
She added, “In her personal experience, Liz has always and sincerely been on the right side of the identity politics argument.” Ms Braverman, the attorney general, also praised candidate Kemi Badenoch, the former equality minister, describing her as a ‘great woman’ who could do a fantastic job as prime minister ‘one day “.
But she insisted it is Ms Truss, who has been in the Cabinet for eight years, who should take the reins of power this time around.
In her message to supporters, Ms Braverman added: “Kemi is a wonderful woman and a friend. She could do a fantastic job as a PM one day, but we have to look at the numbers realistically.
“Liz and Kemi are not both going to be in the final two. So we have to decide whether to support one of them. I would say the one we should support is the one who can get to the final round. Liz can, Kemi can not.
Earlier yesterday Ms Truss pledged to cut a planned rise in corporation tax from 19 to 25 per cent next year as she made her plea for the Tory leadership during an online election campaign .
She also used the debate to commit to a temporary moratorium on the green energy tax, which costs around £5billion a year.
The pledges made in the Zoom roundups were the latest in a fierce campaign for No 10 that has seen some candidates slammed for lavish, uncosted tax pledges.
The online debate was hosted by the conservative website Home, with editor Paul Goodman acting as presenter.
Ms Mourdant, Ms Truss and Mr Sunak were joined by fellow suitors Ms Badenoch and Tom Tugendhat for the showdown.
The five candidates were seen on individual screens to make their case.
The five candidates for the post of Prime Minister clashed live on television
Ms Truss said she would take immediate action to start ‘putting money back into people’s pockets’ during the cost of living crisis. Backed by Mr Johnson’s staunchest allies, she said she would reverse the National Insurance hike, which she opposed in Cabinet.
Ms Truss added: ‘I think it’s even more of a mistake now that we’re facing such strong economic headwinds.
“I would also have a temporary green energy tax moratorium to cut people’s energy bills by £153.
“And I wouldn’t do the corporate tax hikes either because I think it’s vitally important that we attract investment to our country.”
The corporation tax hike from April next year is set to bring in more than £16billion a year from 2024/25.
Mr Sunak, whom the party right is rounding up due to his approach to high spending and high taxation throughout the pandemic, has argued that he will only pass tax cuts when inflation is under control.
He said: “The most pressing economic challenge we face is inflation. Inflation is the enemy that impoverishes everyone and the government’s priority must be to control it.
“I won’t do anything that puts that at risk, so I will offer tax cuts, but I will do it responsibly once we get inflation under control.”
Ms Mordaunt said she made few commitments on taxation because “this competition is not the right place to do it”.
She added: “I’m not going to make any plans for corporate tax or any other of those taxes until we have a proper tax event.”
Ms Mordaunt also pleaded for “positive competition”. She said, “I don’t want slander.”
The contestants were also all asked about their “greatest weakness”. Ms Badenoch said hers ‘let my sense of humor make it look like I’m flippant about issues’. Mr. Sunak basically said he was trying too hard to achieve perfection.
Ms Truss said she had in the past been ‘overly overenthusiastic, and sometimes I have to hold myself back’.
Tom Tugendhat, who has made his military background a central pillar of his campaign, said: “I know this will surprise you, but I may be talking a bit too much about the military, which is perhaps a weakness.”
Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I was tempted to say Burmese cats as I have four and bringing them into No 10 might present some challenges with Larry.’
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson was spotted leaving No 10 through the rear exit yesterday. Also seen at the back of Downing Street was what appeared to be a removal van from Restore Harrow Green commercial movers.