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