April 23, 2024


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Tory leadership latest: Penny Mordaunt criticised for supporting homeopathy on NHS

‘Borrowing your way out of inflation is a fairytale’: Sunak and Truss clash over economy plan

Tory leadership hopeful Penny Mordaunt has been criticised for her support of homeopathy on the NHS.

Homeopathy is a treatment based on using diluted amounts of natural substances, but is not currently funded by the NHS due to its “lack of effectiveness”.

Ms Mordaunt has advocated the practice according to an analysis of her parliamentary record and past comments, and was one of 16 supporters of a motion in the House of Commons criticising the British Medical Association for withdrawing NHS support for homeopathy, in June 2010.

Meanwhile, Liz Truss has pledged that families could receive tax breaks of up to £2,500 to help them take time out of work to look after children or other family members.

Ms Truss has promised a radical overhaul of the taxation system if she gets into Downing Street that would also include ditching green levies on energy bills and reversing an increase to national insurance.

It comes after the five contenders to become the UK’s next prime minister clashed over tax cuts and Boris Johnson’s honesty in a debate on Friday night.

A snap Opinium poll found 36 per cent of viewers believed Tom Tugendhat performed best – while just 10 per cent of Tory voters said the same of Ms Truss.


Liz Truss debate outfit matches one worn by Margaret Thatcher

Twitter users have been quick to spot Liz Truss seemingly recreating an outfit of Margaret Thatcher’s for her appearance at the debate.

The foreign secretary wore a black blazer and white shirt with a large bow for the event on Friday, matching exactly what the former Conservative prime minister wore in a 1979 election broadcast.

Here’s the verdict from The Independent’s associate editor, Sean O’Grady:

“As part of her perpetual makeover strategy, Truss has been photographed in some remarkable outfits in recent years: like a David Bowie tribute act from his Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) era; a peasant farmer in her orchard; and posing vice-regally in the splendour of the Foreign Office, antique globe placed as if in a portrait by Holbein.

“Now, though, with her target audience of Tory boomers, Liz had herself made up so that she resembled an animatronic waxwork Margaret Thatcher.

“There was the same blonde bouffant, the same blouse with giant pussy cat bow, the same Tory blue outfit, the same icy stare, the same humourless, deliberate delivery – all she needed was the handbag and some pits to close down.”


Tory grandee praises Tugendhat, Mordaunt and Badenoch

Sir Roger Gale, who is yet to publicly back any candidate, has given his verdict on tonight’s debate, claiming Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss “simply do not satisfy the ‘fresh start’ and integrity test”.


Watch: Sunak only hiked National Insurance ‘because the boss wanted it’, Tugendhat claims

You can watch here as Tom Tugendhat accused Rishi Sunak of having privately told him that he only agreed to hike National Insurance – a measure intended to fund the NHS and social care – because Boris Johnson had told him to.

Tugendhat says Sunak agreed to National Insurance rise because ‘the boss wanted it’

The debate saw various candidates clash over taxes, with ex-chancellor Mr Sunak accusing Ms Truss of touting economic “fairytales”, and striving to paint himself as a sole realist among the contenders, willing to take tough decisions such as hiking National Insurance to better fund the NHS and social care.

But this central pillar of Mr Sunak’s campaign risked being somewhat undermined after Mr Tugendhat’s claims, which appeared to leave Mr Sunak visibly shocked.

Mr Tugendhat appeared to be savvy to the advice of Albus Dumbledore, appearing to paraphrase the Harry Potter character as he said: “It’s easy to stand up to your enemies – it’s sometimes harder to stand up to your friends.”


Liz Truss loses first TV debate in eyes of general public and Tory voters, polling finds

Liz Truss will be hopeful that Tory MPs do not agree with the assessment of those polled by Opinium tonight – just 6 per cent of whom believed she performed best in this evening’s debate.

But a breakdown of the polling by Opinium by voter-intention suggests otherwise, showing the foreign secretary as effectively coming last in the eyes of Conservative voters, Labour voters and swing voters.

The race was tighter at the top among Conservative voters than the general population, however, with 29 per cent believing Tom Tugendhat had performed best – placing him just one point ahead of Rishi Sunak.

Ms Mordaunt and Ms Truss also enjoyed a slightly higher percentage of backing for their performance on Friday among Tory voters, winning 18 and 10 per cent of the vote respectively, the pollster found.


Snap poll: Tugendhat winner of debate

Tom Tugendhat has emerged as the clear winner of the first live televised debate in the Tory leadership race, according to a snap poll.

The results placed him significantly ahead of frontrunner Rishi Sunak, with 36 per cent believing Mr Tugendhat won compared to 25 per cent thinking the ex-chancellor.


Mordaunt forced to defend her trans issues views

Liz Truss and Kemi Badenoch challenged Penny Mordaunt’s record on trans issues.

They accused her of having backed self-identification when she had responsibility for equalities issues, something she strongly denied.

The international trade minister said that while she had carried out a consultation of the Gender Recognition Act, she had never been in favour of self-ID.

“I can’t imagine why people are not comprehending what I say and have been regurgitating this issue for weeks and weeks,” she said.

“I’m a woman, I’m a biological woman in every cell in my body,” she said, adding that a man who had transitioned was “not the same as me”.


Candidates’ closing addresses

“Our country can be so much better,” said Ms Badenoch, through better government.

In closing addresses, she stressed the need to be honest – not for the first time.

Mr Tugendhat called for a “clean start”, saying he had led operations and would like to lead the UK.

Ms Mordaunt addressed viewers, saying not all politicians are the same: she was not the legacy candidate.

“We’re going to build a btter future for our children and grandchildren,” said Mr Sunak.

Ms Truss talked of the grave challenges the UK faces, adding: “We need to be bold, do things differently, unleash growth… I can go into Downing Street on day one. I have a record of delivery.”


Raft of green pledges

On making the economy green, all the candidates said they supported environmental measures.

Ms Truss pledged to carry out a survey of nature and committed to net zero but delivering it in a better way, using nuclear power.

Kemi Badenoch and Liz Truss have both said that as prime minister they would scrap some green levies to help tackle rising energy bills.

Ms Badenoch told the Channel 4 debate: “Energy is a subject that worries me a lot, I grew up in Nigeria where there were blackouts every single day, there still are.

“I know what it’s like not to be able to turn on the light, so it terrifies me seeing how high bills are going. I think one of the things we can easily do is remove some of the green levies.

“We do need to tackle climate change, but I think the crisis that we’re dealing with now comes first and we need to make life easier for people.”

Ms Truss agreed, saying: “Our number one priority should be getting more economic growth.”

Ms Mordaunt said green measures could create thousands of jobs and had to be compatible with energy security.

Mr Sunak warned against going too hard too fast as he would need to carry people with him.

UK jobs and industries should not be sacrificed for those abroad, warned Mr Tugendhat.

“We need that carbon capture and storage, we need nuclear,” he said.


Candidates support NHS

Tackled on NHS backlogs, Mr Sunak praised health workers as heroes, to applause.

He defended his decision as chancellor to increase national insurance to help pay for measures to reduce the NHS backlog and fund social care, telling the debate: “I took what was a difficult decision. It was not a politically convenient decision, as you are seeing tonight, for me to create a new way for us to fund the NHS and social care.”

He added: “So, if you want to ask ‘am I going to care for the NHS, am I going to back it?’; You know I will, because I have done it, at enormous cost to me politically.”

Ms Badenoch highlighted the difficulty of getting dental and GP appointments. An ageing population needed to be considered to tackle waiting times, she said.

Ms Mordaunt criticised caveats on how professionals could use extra funding, and urged more innovation.

According to Ms Truss, patients in rural areas need more help and GP surgeries need more support.

Mr Tugendhat spoke of his gratitude that the NHS helped care for many of his colleagues injured in war.


Sunak slates borrowing ‘fairy tale’

As the candidates set out what they think should be done to help people cope with inflation, Penny Mordaunt talks about passing on energy savings to people’s bills.

Former chancellor Rishi Sunak defended his record in No 11 as he attacked Ms Truss and Ms Mordaunt over their plans for tax cuts.

Stressing the need to grip inflation, he told the Channel 4 debate: “We cannot make it worse, inflation is the enemy that makes everyone poorer. It erodes your savings, it erodes your living standards, it means that those of you who have mortgages will see your interest rates go up higher and higher.”

He told Ms Truss that borrowing your way out of inflation was a fairy tale.

‘Borrowing your way out of inflation is a fairytale’: Sunak and Truss clash over economy plan