Tory leadership race: Patel ally admits sharing 'dirty dossier' on Sunak — follow live - The Times

  1. Tory leadership race: Patel ally admits sharing 'dirty dossier' on Sunak — follow live  The Times
  2. Who are the contenders to be the next prime minister after Boris Johnson's resignation?  Sky News
  3. Exclusive: The anti-Rishi 'mucky memo' setting alight Tory WhatsApp groups  The Telegraph
  4. Editorial: Rishi Sunak has defined his party's choice: fairy tales or honesty?  The Independent
  5. Will a new prime minister change the government’s policies? (Spoiler: probably not)  The Independent

Tory leadership race: Sunak vows to cut tax as support for Truss grows

Johnson allies back foreign secretary’s campaign

Rishi Sunak will formally launch his campaign for the Tory leadership with a pledge to cut taxes once inflation has fallen

Rishi Sunak will guarantee today to cut taxes once inflation has fallen as senior cabinet allies of Boris Johnson prepare to announce their support for Liz Truss.

The former chancellor will formally launch his campaign insisting it is a case of “when, not if” he reduces the tax burden if he becomes prime minister. He will say, however, that he needs to “steer this country through these economic headwinds” first and defend the tax rises he introduced as chancellor, arguing he had to make “difficult” decisions.

The launch comes as two of Johnson’s closest supporters, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister, and Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, are expected to back Truss, increasing the likelihood that the foreign secretary will be the candidate of the Tory right. Both have been heavily critical of Sunak.

It follows a day of infighting on the right as three contenders — Truss, Suella Braverman, the attorney-general and Priti Patel, the home secretary — competed for support. There were warnings that unless the right united behind one candidate they could end up handing the leadership to Sunak.

James Cleverly, the education secretary, also backed Truss and accused Sunak of behaving like a Labour chancellor when he was in office. He told The Times that Sunak had been “plotting” against Johnson while in government.

In other developments:

It was announced that a new prime minister will be announced on Monday, September 5, with candidates needing 20 MP backers to get on the ballot.

Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, laid out his defence priorities in The Times, calling Russia “a major threat to the international rules-based order” and proposing an increase in the military budget to 3 per cent of GDP.

A Patel ally has admitted sharing a “dirty dossier” branding Sunak a liar who cannot be trusted on tax that lit up WhatsApp groups at the weekend.

A poll found that Penny Mordaunt and Kemi Badenoch were the favourite candidates of Conservative members, with Sunak third.

Sajid Javid said the leadership contest had “not been our best start,” with “poisonous gossip, attack memos, allegations thrown around”.

Sunak will launch his leadership challenge with a defence of his record, including increases in national insurance, corporation tax and income tax. He is expected to warn that unfunded tax cuts will increase inflation and borrowing and worsen cost of living pressures. He is expected to say: “My message is simple: I have a plan to steer our country through these headwinds. Once we have gripped inflation, I will get the tax burden down. It is a question of ‘when’, not ‘if’.” Sunak’s pledge comes after a day in which his rivals competed to outdo each other in reversing recent Treasury tax rises — with pledges worth as much as £40 billion on the present government plans.

The leadership contest formally begins today with the candidates to confirm that they are standing and have the support of at least 20 MPs.

Priti Patel is expected to launch her leadership bid imminently

The first vote will be tomorrow and there will be successive rounds with candidates whittled down to two before the summer recess on July 21. Party members will then pick the winner. .

Rees-Mogg had considering running but said last night that he would not. By throwing their support behind Truss, he and Dorries raise her chances of making it to the final two. There had been fears that a failure to unite behind a single candidate could put someone such as Mordaunt, a former defence secretary, in a run-off with Sunak.

Today Sunak will defend the tax rises he imposed, saying: “I have had to make some of the most difficult choices in my life when I was chancellor, in particular how to deal with our debt and borrowing after Covid. I have never hidden from those, and I certainly won’t pretend now that the choices I made and the things I voted for were somehow not necessary. Whilst this may be politically inconvenient, it is the truth. ”

Cleverly, however, said Sunak was a “spokesperson for Treasury officials” by increasing taxes. “We have pursued an economic policy which a lot of people would find harder to differentiate from what a Labour government would do. We need to make it clear that you can’t keep putting up taxes to solve every challenge, you need to unlock economic growth.”

He accused Sunak of “plotting” to oust Johnson. “I think what some people were doing was about trying to create the preconditions of a leadership contest. There are people like Liz who have been defending the government’s decisions, working hard every day making sure the government does what it needs to do. People will draw their own conclusions about who has been fully committed.”

He said that Truss had demonstrated the leadership and skills needed to win the contest, highlighting her role as foreign secretary. “She personifies levelling up, she has a very clear idea of what she wants to achieve, she’s decisive and passionate,” he said.

Braverman said that Sunak needed to “cheer up” and be more optimistic about Britain’s economic prospects. Asked why she was endorsing immediate tax cuts while Sunak and others were saying they were not possible, she said: “They are taking a declinist, small view of what our economy can do. Time and time again Conservative leaders have shown that we can grow our way out of these challenges.”

Javid, the former health secretary, said he would scrap Sunak’s national insurance rise for the NHS and social care and reverse corporation tax rises.
Tory leadership battle - the day as it happened

An ally of Priti Patel has admitted sharing a “dirty dossier” sent around Tory WhatsApp groups branding Rishi Sunak a liar who cannot be trusted on tax.

Patrick Robertson, a lobbyist who has worked in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, is thought to be helping to run Patel’s campaign to become Tory leader.

His previous work includes lobbying to prevent the extradition of Augusto Pinochet to Spain to face trial for human rights abuses, and acting as an adviser to Imran Khan, the recently ousted prime minister of Pakistan.

The MPs who have announced their candidacy

The memo, which set Tory WhatsApp groups abuzz over the weekend, accuses Sunak of wasting money during the pandemic, breaking Conservative manifesto commitments not to raise taxes and “publicly lying” about his wife’s non-dom tax status.

It raises questions about his loyalty to Boris Johnson by saying that the former chancellor’s resignation came “within minutes” of Savid Javid stepping down, and asks if this should be seen as “an unplanned coincidence”. The memo notes that Sunak registered the domain of his campaign website in December.

“Getting ‘Ready for Rishi’ means supporting a candidate who, like Boris, landed a Partygate fine from the police for breaking lockdown rules,” the memo says.

The memo’s author is listed as Robertson and it was created on Saturday night, according to the document properties. However, he denied writing the text. “You won’t find my properties on it or my name on it because it wasn’t from me,” he told The Times. “I received it myself and sent it to other people. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

Patel is expected to launch her leadership bid imminently after sounding out the support of the European Research Group, the Brexiteer caucus of backbench Tory MPs. The home secretary already has the backing of 12 Tory MPs even though she has not officially declared her intention to run.

A source close to Patel said: “We hope that all candidates will run a clean campaign to be party leader, and avoid this election providing the Labour Party with leaflet fodder. We have no knowledge of or involvement in producing this document.”

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