Rishi Sunak 'only has a matter of days' to beat Liz says Harwood
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Rishi Sunak’s hope of overcoming Liz Truss’s commanding lead amongst conservative party members rests on a “matter of days” as the leadership race enters its final stages. GB News’s political correspondent Tom Harwood believes the former Chancellor needs “something big” soon if he is going to upset the odds and beat Ms Truss to Number 10.
Mr Harwood told GB News: “If you look at betting markets it is extraordinary over 80 percent probability for Liz Truss under 20 percent probability for Rishi Sunak, that is where people are putting their money physically.
“Now people have bet wrong in the past but it does give a sense of inevitability here around this campaign.
“Of course, Liz Truss sustaining at the last poll a 24-point lead ahead of Rishi Sunak and that was before some of his less received debate performances and of course before his U-turn on the issue of tax, on that one specific issue of tax on VAT.
“So it does look like Rishi Sunak does need something big.”
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He added: “If he is going to turn this around, and ballots land on the door mats of conservative party members from the start of next week, and we know that conservative party members are likely to vote pretty much as soon as they get their ballots.
“People are not going to be sitting on these for weeks, and weeks, and weeks before they finally send them off.
“Rishi Sunak has really a matter of days to make a big splash to turn things around.
“And it is looking like he is getting fewer and fewer opportunities to do just that.”
Rishi Sunak's VAT plans discussed by Tom Harwood
Mr Sunak and Ms Truss are poised to go head to head in the first official hustings with Tory members in Leeds, as the candidates seek to woo northern voters and blue-on-blue attacks intensify in the race for the top job.
It is the first of 12 sessions for party faithful to quiz the final two candidates before voting for the next party leader and prime minister closes on September 2.
The two-hour hustings will be broadcast on LBC radio from 7pm and hosted by presenter Nick Ferrari.
The event takes place in Leeds, where Ms Truss was hoping to shore up voters’ support by fully backing Northern Powerhouse Rail and pledging to “turbocharge investment” into the north of England.
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During a visit to the Yorkshire city, Ms Truss insisted she is “completely committed” to her plan for the new high-speed rail connections, which were originally announced by Boris Johnson but subsequently scaled back.
She told reporters: “I grew up in Leeds, I know how poor the transport is and frankly, it’s not got much better since I was a teenager getting the bus into Leeds city centre.
“What I want to see is really fantastic rail services, better roads so people are able to get into work. I’m clear it is absolutely crucial for the future of the north of England.”
Asked how she would afford the scheme, given the vast tax cuts she has pledged, Ms Truss said: “The taxes that I am cutting are affordable within our budget.
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