Campaign Update: Liz Versus the Media, Rishi on Home Turf

Good Wednesday morning. There are 24 days left of the Tory leadership campaign.

Today’s new policy:

  • Liz Truss has vowed to press ahead with a law allowing ministers to “call in” regulatory decisions in the public interest if the government feels City regulators are holding back post-Brexit reforms, a plan originally proposed by Rishi Sunak.

As expected:

  • Yesterday morning, Guido revealed we would very soon be getting Rishi-to-Liz defections by previously-declared MPs. Last night it happened: Chris Skidmore has said he’s changing allegiances due to being “increasingly concerned” by the Sunak campaign’s “consistently changing position” on policy.
  • Nine other MPs have also declared for Liz en masse: Damian Collins, James Davis, Mark Fletcher, Gordon Henderson, Andrew Lewer, Stephen McPartland, Nigel Mills, Mary Robinson and Henry Smith
  • The Express has come out to back Liz Truss, writing “A woman of substance has emerged from the intensity of the fight, which is why we endorse her today.”

In other news:

  • Last night’s husting saw a rather feisty Liz Truss, not least with quite a few barbs at the media
  • There were at least three digs towards the fourth estate, including over their continued use of the phrase “handouts” in regards to her proposed tax reductions
  • She also had a minor bust-up with Tom Newton Dunn when he asked her who was responsible for Boris’s downfall. Multiple members of the audience shouted out “the media”, with Liz laughing along and asking “who am I to disagree with this wonderful audience?”
  • At the end of the session, as she hugged TND, she jokingly apologised for her barbs. TND was caught on mic bitterly saying “it’s cheap and you know it”
  • The press isn’t happy, even calling her jibes “Trumpian”, though every one of Liz’s comments were made in a lighthearted way.
  • Aside from her press scrap she also said she’d vote against continuing the Privilege’s Committee investigation into Boris given the hypothetical that MPs were allowed a say

Debate round-up:

  • Rishi was on home turf this evening in his newly-adopted home of Teesside – “It is so great to be home!”. Within his opening speech we got everything from the Darlington Treasury Campus to parmos, and – to be fair – he got a very warm reception.
  • He even cracked a decent gag: “My parents are staying with us at the moment, and I realised I’d been campaigning a lot when last night I was talking to them – and I started telling them that my dad was a GP and my mum ran the local chemist when I grew up”
  • The highlight that sticks in Guido’s mind was this confrontation with a hostile audience member, who accused him of wielding the knife against Boris. After the local member was booed by the audience Rishi launched a passionate defence of his actions and still maintains he’s best placed to beat Keir Starmer. Watch the showdown here.
  • You’d have thought the North East media would have focused on the debate happening in their region. Chronicle Live chose a different angle, revealing that Rishi now has a hole in his shoe…

Spotted: 

  • Among Rishi’s backers in the audience was none other than co-conspirator favourite Tom Harding – Anna Soubry’s former chief of staff who slipped through Sky News‘ debate vetting and laid into LizHe came armed with a massive “Ready for Rishi” poster…

In other news:

  • A row has broken out over a proposed migrant camp in Rishi’s neighbouring constituency. Rishi had vowed to oppose the MoD proposals, however yesterday Ben Wallace jumped in and said he would do so immediately. Team Rishi are crying foul over the decision, accusing Liz’s star backer of trying to undermine his latest pledge.

Bookies Odds (Previous in Brackets):

  • Liz Truss 1/16 (nc)
  • Rishi Sunak 13/2 (nc)

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