Campaign Update: Liz Versus Macron

Good Friday morning. There are 8 days left of this leadership race left to go – including a bank holiday weekend. Almost there…

Husting news:

  • Guido tuned into the husting not expecting much from either candidate, though Liz – reminder, the current Foreign Secretary – provided an attention-grabbing response when asked by Julia Hartley-Brewer whether Macron is a friend or foe: “The jury’s out! If I become PM I will judge him on deeds not words”. Guido can only imagine the reaction among British diplomats… 
  • When asked whether Rishi or Boris would be a better PM, Liz emphatically shot back “Boris”. Not unsurprising, though rather awkward given Rishi was asked the same question of Liz and graciously chose his opponent…
  • Liz said energy bills are a “massive issue”, though argued “bunging money” at the system is not the answer.
  • On the topic of gender-neutral toilets, Liz confessed she had personally used the M&S bra fitting service, though shied away from saying she’d stop going there in light of the company’s gender-neutral changing room policy.

In other news:

  • As Ofgem is set to announce a huge rise in the energy price cap, The Times reports Liz recently met with Kwasi and other allies at Chevening to work on a plan to provide billions in targeted support to pensioners and the poorest households. They report she is considering nicking Rishi’s plan to scrap VAT on energy bills.
  • Another option on the table includes using Universal Credit to target households which need the most support.
  • The FT reports Liz is considering triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol “within days” of taking power.

Husting News:

  • Guido rather hoped that given yesterday’s big Rishi news concerning lockdown Julia would focus a bit more on his Speccie interview at last night’s husting. Instead it was rather skirted over.
  • He did, however, defend not resigning over his opposition to certain Covid policies pursued by the government as it wouldn’t have been right during a national crisis.
  • Rishi finally promised to get behind a Liz Truss government if she won, after days of refusing to say whether he’d vote for her emergency budget. He said he will “always support a Conservative government”.
  • Rishi accused the BBC of having a “woke bias”.
  • Asked whether he’d rather be stuck in a lift with Keir Starmer or Nicola Sturgeon, Rishi joked he’d take the stairs.
  • Rishi said the housing crisis could be solved by building on brownfield land, building much more “flat-pack” housing, and creating denser cities as seen on the continent.

Bookies Odds (Previous in Brackets):

  • Liz Truss 1/25 (nc)
  • Rishi Sunak 17/2 (nc)

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