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SNP: Options for next PM ‘grim’ as candidates go head to head in first debate

The SNP has blasted Tory leadership candidates Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss for failing to put forward a credible plan to deal with cost of living.

25 July 2022

The options for the UK’s next prime minister are “grim”, the SNP has said after Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss’ first head-to-head TV showdown.

Kirsten Oswald, the SNP’s deputy Westminster spokesperson said the candidates lacked a credible plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis after Mr Sunak and Ms Truss clashed over the economy in the first televised debate between the pair on BBC One on Monday evening.

She added: “The options for the next UK Prime Minister are grim – on one side a law-breaking former Chancellor who refused time and again to bring in meaningful support to ease the cost of living crisis, and a Foreign Secretary who chose to stand by law-breaking Boris Johnson all the way to the bitter end.

SNP Deputy Wesminster leader Kirsten Oswald during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, London
SNP deputy Westminster leader Kirsten Oswald blasted both Tory hopefuls for failing to put forward a credible plan to deal with the cost-of-living crisis (House of Commons/PA)

“It was made clear tonight that both candidates lack a credible plan to tackle the cost of living crisis and neither show any remorse or recognition over the damage their hard Brexit has inflicted.”

Former chancellor Mr Sunak claimed there is “nothing Conservative” about Ms Truss’s approach and it would give the party “absolutely no chance” of winning the next election.

Foreign Secretary Ms Truss in turn suggested her rival would lead the country into a recession.

Ms Truss said she would put an economic growth plan in place “immediately” if she becomes prime minister, along with imposing a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy.

Conservative leadership bid
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have been accused of making it clear both will ‘continue to ignore Scotland’s voice’ (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

The increase in national insurance would also be reversed, Ms Truss said.

Mr Sunak said he would like to make sure that his government “always” has policies in place to support Britons through the cost-of-living crisis.

Ms Oswald also accused both candidates of making “it clear they will continue to ignore Scotland’s voice and the mandate the Scottish Government holds to have a second independence referendum after we were dragged out of the EU against our will”.

The SNP deputy added: “No matter who wins this ugly contest – Scotland will lose.

Scottish independence supporters march through Glasgow during an All Under One Banner march
SNP is demanding a second independence referendum after Scotland was ‘dragged out of the EU against our will’ (Lesley Martin/PA)

“Scotland hasn’t voted Tory since the 50s and yet we are about to be saddled with yet another Tory Prime Minister we didn’t vote for.

“Whoever wins though may well be Scotland’s last ever Tory Prime Minister, as we gear up for a referendum in 2023 to give Scots the chance to escape the chaos of Westminster and build a fairer society.”

Monday’s BBC studio audience was made up entirely of people who voted Conservative at the last general election.

With postal ballots set to arrive on Tory members’ doorsteps by August 5, Mr Sunak was under pressure to use the BBC debate and another hosted by TalkTV and The Sun on Tuesday to make an early breakthrough.

A new prime minister is expected to be in place by September 5.

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