Former Army chief tells Rishi Sunak to QUIT Tory leadership race

Former Army chief tells Rishi Sunak to QUIT Tory leadership race to avoid a ‘trouncing’ and allow Liz Truss to tackle cost-of-living crisis – but ex-chancellor ‘WON’T sit down with rival and Boris Johnson before campaign ends in September’

  • Dominic Raab dramatically escalated the war of words between the two camps
  • Deputy prime minister blasted Miss Truss’s September emergency tax cuts plans
  • Row came as Mr Sunak pledged billions to help households with energy bills
  • Last night a poll suggested only Miss Truss can beat Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer

Rishi Sunak has been urged by a former head of the British Army to quit the Tory leadership race to allow the Government to intervene in the cost-of-living crisis.

Crossbench peer Lord Dannatt today suggested the former chancellor should give up now to avoid a ‘trouncing’ with Liz Truss miles ahead in most polls. 

The former general said it was vital the leadership context, which has four weeks left to run, ends as soon as possible to restore ‘focused governance’.

It comes amid fresh warnings that energy bills are set to hit £4,200 in January with the price cap more than doubling before costs for the average household by April.

The dire warning came after the Bank of England last week warned of as five-quarter recession and interest rates of 13 per cent by the end of the year. 

Boris Johnson has refused to intervene and plans to leave it to his successor to take action in September, just weeks before bills rise in October. 

And an ally of Mr Sunak today warned that it was unlikely the two rivals would sit down with the lame duck PM before next month. 

Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper told Sky News ‘I don’t think that’s going to happen’ today. 

In a latter to the Times Lord Dannatt said: ‘In the face of the cost of living and energy crisis confronting most households there is a strong case for Rishi Sunak to stand down now in favour of Liz Truss to get a new prime minister in place and focused governance restored.

‘If Liz Truss were endorsed as prime minister in the next 10 days it would enable a cabinet to be appointed, parliament recalled and assault made on the nation’s financial challenges. 

‘If this election drags on, no meaningful governance will start until mid-September. Rishi Sunak’s chance may come again in a few years. Better for him to avoid a trouncing this time.’

The Tory leadership row over the cost-of-living crisis deepened today as Ms Truss was accused of writing an ‘electoral suicide note’ with her plans for economic reform.

She dismissed the claim by Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, telling reporters in Huddersfield: ‘What I care about is Britain being successful. I don’t agree with these portents of doom. I don’t agree with this declinist talk.

‘I believe our country’s best days are ahead of us. What I’m going to do, if selected as prime minister, is keep taxes low, get the economy growing, unleash the potential right across Britain. That’s what I’m about.’

The former general said it was vital the leadership context, which has four weeks left to run, ends as soon as possible to restore ‘focused governance’.

Liz Truss’s leadership campaign reacted with fury last night after a high-profile Rishi Sunak supporter said her economic plans amounted to an ‘electoral suicide note’

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said her strategy for dealing with inflation and the cost of living crunch – through tax cuts as soon as she takes power – risked casting the Tories into the ‘impotent oblivion of opposition’

 The row came as Mr Sunak pledged billions more to help households with energy bills

Sunak supporter Mark Harper today suggested no help for hard-pressed families would be considered – if at all – before the new Tory leader takes office next month and backed Mr Raab’s ‘suicide note’ jibe.

MP Dominic Raab looks at Conservative leadership candidate Rishi Sunak during an event, part of the Conservative party leadership campaign, in Eastbourne on August 5. The deputy prime minister has dramatically escalated the war of words between the two Conservative leadership contenders’ camps with a blast at Miss Truss’s plans for emergency tax cuts in September

Truss supporter Javid warns her ‘more needs to be done’ amid ‘handouts’ row 

Liz Truss has been warned that the country’s poorest need more help to deal with the cost-of-living crisis by one of her most high-profile supporters.

Ex-chancellor Sajid Javid went public with a sift rebuke to the Foreign Secretary over comments she made to the Financial Times last week.

She suggested there would be no ‘handouts’ for families amid spiralling bills and prices on the high street, but she would go ahead with tax cuts.

Mr Javid told the i that she had the best economic plan for long-term improvements to livign standards,

But he added: ‘All serious politicians recognise that although lots has been done already, more needs to be done. There is just no way to mitigate the impact on everyone in every single way.’

Mr Raab, who is supporting Rishi Sunak, sparked fury in the opposition camp as he levelled the claim at his opponent, the current favorite to enter No10.  

He said her strategy for dealing with inflation and the cost of living crunch – through tax cuts as soon as she takes power – risked casting the Tories into the ‘impotent oblivion of opposition’.

It came after a poll yesterday suggested the public were more interested in action to control rampant inflation, with fewer than 20 per cent wanting tax cuts.

But Ms Truss’s campaign hit back, saying Mr Sunak appeared to be running on a ‘Labour economic ticket’ that would lead Britain into a recession.

A campaign source said: ‘The suicide note here is Rishi’s high taxes and his failed economic policy that he’s peddled for the past two-and-a-half years when he was chancellor.

A new poll today suggested Ms Truss remains the candidate best place to beat Labour, with voters saying he remains a better choice of PM than Keir Starmer.

She was also boosted today by the backing of Aaron Bell, a backbench Tory who was one of the loudest critics of Boris Johnson.

The two leadership candidates face their first leadership hustings in the Red Wall of ex-Labour seats in the North and Midlands tonight, in Darlington. 

Last week the Bank of England warned of a five-quarter recession starting later this year, with inflation potentially hitting 13 per cent. At the same time energy bills are expected to spike in october when a new higher price cap comes into effect.

But Sunak supporter Mark Harper today suggested no help for hard-pressed families would be considered – if at all – before the new Tory leader takes office next month.

Boris Johnson has already refused to intervene before he leaves No10 despite pleas from figures including Gordon Brown to hold emergency talks with both candidates.

He told Times Radio: ‘First of all, he’s made it clear that if he’s elected as leader of the party and prime minister there will be more help and I think that will give a lot of people, particularly those who are the most vulnerable, a lot of peace of mind, which compared to his opponent (Liz Truss) in this contest, who’s ruled out more handouts and only going to be delivering help through tax cuts that isn’t going to help pensioners or the most vulnerable … I think people can have a lot of confidence if they look at his (Mr Sunak’s) track record.’

He added: ‘He’s been clear all the way through that he would look at the situation to see what was required to help people … Targeted, limited support for a period has much less of an impact than permanent, large, unfunded tax cuts that are funded by borrowing.

‘Rishi’s also made it clear that, if we need to, we’ll look at delivering some savings from the existing enormous Government budgets to look at funding some of this.

‘I think there’s a very big difference between large, permanent unfunded tax cuts that go to the wealthiest in society, rather than targeted help, targeted at those that are struggling to pay their energy bills, and that’s what Rishi is setting out.’

But Communities Minister Paul Scully, who is supporting Liz Truss, said people must be ‘tearing their hair out’ at Tory in-fighting.

He told Times Radio: ‘It’s a shame that we’re hearing that sort of language. That sort of blue-on-blue, as it’s always known, kind of language is not really helpful, doesn’t really help. 

‘People looking from the outside must be tearing their hair out because all we want to do is do the best for the country, for people.

Senior No10 officials are willing to turn on Boris Johnson and admit he did mislead Parliament over what he new about Partygate lawbreaking.

Three members of staff who worked with the PM have indicated they could give evidence to a Parliamentary probe that his supporters claim is a ‘witch hunt’ against him.

A seven-strong group of MPs is investigating whether Mr Johnson deliberated or unintentionally misled the Commons over Covid lawbreaking rife in No10.

It is examining the background to how he came to tell MPs ‘no Covid rules were broken’ and ‘all guidance was followed in No 10’, when he himself was later among those fined by police.

Mr Johnson argues that he made the statements at the despatch box in good faith based on his belief at the time.

The Telegraph today reports that one staff member is willing to give evidence tot eh inquiry led by Labour grandee Harriet Harman, with two others considering it.

Allies of the Prime Minister have previously attacked the ‘kangaroo court’ probe by the Commons privileges committee.

‘But in terms of tax cuts, what Liz has said is the right thing to do – the first Conservative thing to do is don’t take the money from people in the first place, rather than just take money to give it back to them.’

The row came as Mr Sunak pledged billions more to help households with energy bills.

He said that if he became prime minister, he would extend the package of support he announced earlier this year, which gave every household £400 off their energy bills, while those on means-tested benefits received a further £650.

‘People need proven methods that will deliver for them quickly. So I will use the framework I created to provide further support and give millions of people the peace of mind they desperately need ahead of the winter,’ the former chancellor said.

Mr Sunak said: ‘In order to keep any one-off borrowing to an absolute minimum I will first seek efficiency savings across Whitehall to provide direct support for families to help with the unprecedented situation we face.’ But a Truss campaign source said Mr Sunak had ‘changed his position on cost of living two or three times in the space of a few weeks’.

‘Three weeks ago he was saying more borrowing was irresponsible and inflationary.

‘Has he changed his mind? It’s a mammoth strategic U-turn.’

Miss Truss last night received a fresh boost as a poll suggested only she can beat Sir Keir Starmer. When asked who would be better as PM, the survey conducted by Redfield and Wilton found 38 per cent said Miss Truss, against 35 per cent for Sir Keir. Mr Sunak scored 34 per cent, compared to 40 per cent for the Labour leader.

It came as Downing Street rejected a call by former prime minister Gordon Brown for Boris Johnson to summon a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to address the cost of living crunch.

The PM’s spokesman said Mr Johnson would speak to Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi to ensure that support measures due to come into effect later in the year were on track. But the spokesman said further measures would be a matter for the next prime minister.

How YOU can quiz leadership favourite 

Daily Mail readers will get the chance to have their own questions put to Liz Truss in a television interview tomorrow.

The Tory leadership favourite will set out her vision for Britain in The People’s Forum on the TV channel GB News.

In the one-hour programme, hosted by Alastair Stewart and screened at 5pm, Miss Truss will take questions from a live audience in Leigh, Greater Manchester, as well as viewers at home.

Rishi Sunak is expected to be interviewed at a later date. Miss Truss said: ‘I am looking forward to talking to GB News viewers and our members in the heart of our Red Wall and taking their questions.’

GB News editorial director Mick Booker said: ‘The idea is to draw out the thinking of each candidate on the issues closest to our viewers’ and listeners’ hearts.’

You can watch GB News on Freeview channel 236, Sky channel 515, Virgin Media channel 626 and Freesat channel 216, or listen to it on DAB+ Radio.

Please state that you are a Daily Mail reader if you do submit a question.


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