By Ebi Kesiena
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clashed over their diverging tax policies in their first head-to-head debate of the final round of the Tory leadership contest.
The TV debate took place at Victoria Hall in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire in front of an audience of MPs, ministers and Tory party voters.
While Ms Truss has set out an estimated £38billion of tax cuts, Mr Sunak insisted that he would only cut taxes once inflation was under control and suggested his rival was promising “fairy tales”.
The former Chancellor cited sky-high American mortgage rates in response to Ms Truss’s mention of their tax policy, only for the Foreign Secretary to tell him that “this is scaremongering, this is Project Fear.”
She then compared him to former Labour PM Gordon Brown and said it was his policies which meant Britain was heading for recession.
On Ms Truss’s plans to borrow to fund tax cuts, Mr Sunak hit back: “It’s going to tip millions of people into misery and it means we’re going to have absolutely no chance of winning the next election either.”
Both, vying to be Boris Johnson’s successor, will take part in Sky News TV debate on August 4 before touring the country in a bid to win over party members.
The new Tory leader and prime minister will be announced on September 5.