Truss and Sunak take to stage in first official hustings with Tory members

Candidates were quizzed on a vast array of policy areas – as well as their predictions for the Women’s Euro 2022 final.

28 July 2022

Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have faced a grilling from voters in the first official hustings with Tory members in Leeds.

The candidates were quizzed separately on a vast array of policy areas – as well as their predictions for the Women’s Euro 2022 final – as they sought to woo northern voters in the race for No 10.

It was the first of 12 sessions for the party faithful across the country to question the final two contenders before voting for the next Tory leader and Prime Minister closes on September 2.

The event, hosted by LBC’s Nick Ferrari, took place in Leeds, where Ms Truss started by capitalising on her Yorkshire roots.

Referencing her upbringing in the city, she said it was “fantastic” to be in her “old stomping ground”, adding that she hoped none of her former teachers were in the audience.

Ms Truss said she got “grit, determination and straight-talking” from Yorkshire, and that is what is needed in Downing Street as “we face a huge global economic crisis”.

The Foreign Secretary also made reference to her relocation to Norfolk, the site of her constituency, and the fact she has become a supporter of Norwich City FC.

She said “I do want us to channel the spirit of Don Revie” – a former Leeds United and England manager – because “we need to win”.

“And, my friends, we can win against Keir Starmer, who is a patronising plastic patriot,” she added.

Former chancellor Mr Sunak said he was “having the time of my life” campaigning for the top job.

He suggested a “buyers’ cartel” where “everyone would agree to pay a fixed amount for Russian energy”, to deprive Moscow of “revenue that is funding its war effort”.

“If we can have a buyers’ cartel in the world where everyone would agree to pay a fixed amount for Russian energy, and enforce that through secondary sanctions, which we were working on how to do, that would be a way to make sure we get the energy we need at prices that are far better for us and deprive Russia of revenue that is funding its war effort,” he said.

Ms Truss told the hustings she would return the whips’ office to 12 Downing Street.

She also insisted “single sex spaces should be protected”, particularly for young people.

Addressing Ms Truss, an audience member called for a policy that guarantees girls can go to a toilet in a safe environment in any school in the country.

The Foreign Secretary responded: “I completely agree with you. I have sought to clarify that as women’s minister I’ve been very clear that single sex spaces should be protected, particularly for young people, as well as … vulnerable women in domestic violence shelters, for example.

“And I can assure you as Prime Minister I would direct that to happen, because our girls need… it’s a difficult time being a teenager, being a young girl, and you should be able to have the privacy you need in your own loo. So I 100% agree with you and I would make that happen.”

Conservative leadership bid
Host Nick Ferrari (left) quizzes Conservative leadership candidate Rishi Sunak at the hustings event at Elland Road in Leeds (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Meanwhile, parts of the audience at the Tory hustings clapped when the host mentioned support for Boris Johnson to be included on the ballot.

A spokesperson for Ms Truss’ campaign said: “Tonight’s hustings showed why Liz is the right person to lead our party and country.

“She has a bold and ambitious plan for Britain. She will unleash the full potential of our great country, and stand up for people who work hard and do the right thing.

“Liz can be trusted to deliver on Brexit, on the economy, and defend freedom at home and abroad.”

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