Liz Truss: I was wrong to back Remain
Truss attacks Sunak over 'business as usual'
Boris Johnson this afternoon insisted millions of people were "right to place their trust in me" in a lengthy defence of his record in office.
Mr Johnson issued a 2,568-word statement outlining his administration's record that takes in getting Brexit after years of a "paralysed government", the success of the vaccination programme and ensuring "our streets are safer" and "our schools are better".
The outgoing Prime Minister, who leaves office on September 6, wrote: "[This] puts on record why the millions of people who voted Conservative in 2019, many for the first time, were right to place their trust in me and in this Conservative Government."
It came as Liz Truss, who is competing against Rishi Sunak to succeed Mr Johnson, said she "won't have time to worry about wallpaper" in Downing Street if she is chosen by Tory members as the next party leader and prime minister.
Towards the start of Mr Johnson's time in office Lulu Lytle, a fashion designer, was reportedly asked to furnish the flat with expensive gold wallpaper.
Follow the latest updates in Friday's live blog.
That's all for today...
Thursday felt very much like the calm between the storms after a manic fortnight, with the House rising for recess and MPs heading back to their constituencies.
Liz Truss, now in the final two of the Tory leadership race and up against Rishi Sunak, set out her stall in her first broadcast interview of the campaign with the Today programme.
Ms Truss insisted her planned tax cuts, estimated at around £38 billion, would be "affordable" within the current financial framework, while taking aim at Mr Sunak's "business-as-usual" approach.
For his part, Mr Sunak's campaign continued to hammer home the message that only he could beat Labour at the next general election, this time via branded sun cream promising to offer "protection from Labour".
While neither candidate engaged in personal attacks today, their supporters were more than happy to slug it out on the airwaves and on social media. And if the campaign becomes increasingly bitter, it will be harder for the eventual prime minister to govern the party when they get the keys to Downing Street on September 6.
The final two candidates battling to replace Boris Johnson
There are now two remaining candidates in the race to replace Boris Johnson as Tory Party leader and prime minister.
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak secured their places in the final two on Wednesday, while Penny Mordaunt, once the bookies’ favourite, was knocked out in the fifth round of voting by Conservative MPs.
Ms Mordaunt picked up 105 backers, which was not enough to defeat Ms Truss on 113 or Mr Sunak on 137.
Dates for your diary this coming week
Via our own Christopher Hope:
Monday, July 25: First head to head leadership debate hosted by the BBC at 9pm
Thursday, July 28: Members' hustings in Leeds
Thursday, July 28 -Three virtual hustings (Conservatives Abroad, Conservative Policy Forum and Conservative Women's Organisation)
Sunday, July 31: Deadline for association chairman to send membership lists to Conservative Central Office
Simon Hart: Liz Truss did not fight hard against Rishi Sunak's tax rises
Liz Truss did not fight hard against Rishi Sunak's tax rises, a former Cabinet minister claimed this afternoon as tensions between the camps continue.
Earlier today, Ms Truss told the Today programme: "When I sat at that table, I opposed the National Insurance rise before it happened because I thought it was a mistake.
"I thought it was a mistake to miss that manifesto commitment, break our manifesto commitment and I thought it was a mistake to raise taxes in these very difficult economic times when we need to drive growth."
But Mr Hart told the Rundown podcast the Cabinet was all "in the same room at the same time having the same discussion, and we all reached the same conclusion without the need for a vote or a show of hands". He added: "And that is just a matter of record, that's not a matter of spin".
A spokesman for the Foreign Secretary told PoliticsHome she "spoke out against it in Cabinet", along with Lord Frost and Jacob Rees-Mogg, when the measure was put to a decision.
The moment Liz Truss was badgered by protesters
Liz Truss found herself ambushed by protesters against the badger cull as she arrived at the Conservative Councillors' Association hustings earlier today.
Ms Truss, who as environment secretary oversaw a badger cull which aimed to stop the spread of TB in cattle, was greeted by activists shouting: "Save our badgers, stop the cull!"
Taxpayers footing £3m a day hotel bill for asylum seekers
The number of asylum seekers being held in hotels has trebled to more than 26,000, costing taxpayers £3 million a day, data obtained by the Refugee Council show.
Figures obtained by the charity under Freedom of Information laws show there were 26,380 asylum seekers in temporary hotel accommodation at the end of 2021, up from 9,400 at the start of the year.
The number of hotels being used doubled to 207 in the same period. More than 10,000 of the asylum seekers, including children, had been in their hotels for more than three months. In total, 2,876 spent between six months and a year in hotel accommodation, with 378 staying over 12 months.
The cost to the taxpayer being footed by the Home Office is £3 million a day, on top of some £1.7 million being spent on hotels for 12,000 Afghan refugees evacuated after the Taliban takeover of the country.
Pictured: Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak before first hustings
The two Tory leadership candidates have faced their first hustings today.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss were grilled by a group of Conservative councillors at an event in Westminster.
Yvette Cooper: The Government has given up
The Government is behaving like it has "given up and gone home", the shadow home secretary claimed as she rejected Boris Johnson's claim he would "continue to deliver" during his last weeks in office.
Yvette Cooper urged No 10 to "get a grip of the basics" and do more on defence, security and the cost-of-living crisis.
When asked "Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss?" by LBC, she said: "Good grief. I mean, seriously, both of them. No, just, honestly, both of them have been involved in what was this 12 years that have been really damaging for this country.
"I think they're both of them implicated. And the stuff they're throwing at each other now, you wouldn't think they've been part of this Government. We just need a fresh start, we need a Labour government."
Julian Smith: 'Rishi has a proper plan'
On the first day of the head-to-head contest, Rishi Sunak supporters - including Julian Smith, the MP for York Outer - are shoring up support.
Mr Smith said the former Chancellor "has a proper plan to get us through the tough times ahead.
"He is committed to rebuilding the economy and delivering for our area. Only Rishi can unite the country and defeat Labour, and he will have my full support in doing so."
I tracked down my Corbynite troll – and now he’s in prison
I’m British. I also happen to be Jewish, writes Lee Kern. Like most of Britain’s Jewish community, I experienced the surge in hard-Left anti-Semitism that accompanied the Labour Party’s selection of Jeremy Corbyn as their leader, and I used social media to speak out.
In November 2018, I received several anonymous and abusive messages via my website’s contact form. This was the beginning of four years of racial harassment from a highly motivated Corbyn fanatic.
The offender is now known to be Nicholas Nelson, an unemployed 34-year-old from Cambridgeshire who, last week, was sent to prison – though only after the Court of Appeal, following pressure from Campaign Against Antisemitism, quashed the suspended sentence he had been given in March.
Boris Johnson: Millions were right to place their trust in me
Boris Johnson published a written statement today reflecting on his record throughout the past two-and-a-half years.
"The Government that I have had the privilege to lead has focused relentlessly on delivery," he wrote.
"This statement updates the House on what we have achieved since I was invited by Her Majesty The Queen to form a government in July 2019, and puts on record why the millions of people who voted Conservative in 2019, many for the first time, were right to place their trust in me and in this Conservative Government."
"After the country had endured three years of indecision and uncertainty with a deadlocked Parliament and a paralysed government, we got Brexit done... thanks to the fortitude and spirit of the British public, we guided the country through its greatest challenge since the Second World War... [and] our broken social care system is finally being fixed.
"I am proud of our record in office since 2019. I remain determined that we continue to deliver in our final weeks. And I know that the Conservative Government that follows after us will do what its predecessors have always done and meet the challenges of the day by serving the British people.
What happens next in the battle to be prime minister
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have made it through to the final round of the Conservative leadership race and will now go head-to-head as the battle for No 10 intensifies.
The contenders will face a series of heated hustings and debates over the coming six weeks as they attempt to set out their stalls to the Conservative Party.
The winner of the leadership contest will now be determined by the party's 200,000 members, after both candidates made it through the five rounds of voting by MPs in Parliament.
Starmer and Labour should have applauded Boris
In October 2012 I read a tweet that had appeared on my timeline, writes Tom Harris. It read: “Happy birthday Baroness Thatcher.” Not seeing anything particularly offensive in the sentiment, I pressed Retweet and thought nothing more of it.
Until the next day, that is, when a particularly excitable member of my local Labour Party decided that in wishing the former prime minister a happy birthday – if only at one remove – I had betrayed the whole of the Labour movement, the working classes, the miners and… Well, you catch my drift.
It had only been a few years since Tony Blair unwittingly inaugurated a new House of Commons tradition when he left the chamber at the end of his final Prime Minister’s Questions to the ringing applause of his parliamentary colleagues. But yesterday Keir Starmer decided to bring that tradition, now 15 years old, to an end.
'My life as a political spouse'
Hamish Badenoch - the husband of Kemi Badenoch, who became a darling of the Tory grassroots with her insurgent leadership campaign - has today written about his life as a political spouse.
Mr Badenoch recalled a meeting of the 'Denis Club' - made up of the husbands of female MPs - after his wife was elected in 2017, at which Philip May told him "being an MP's spouse... was the best of both worlds - 10 per cent of the pressure, 90 per cent of the fun".
"There was no Kemi-for-leader campaign planned months in advance, no website waiting to be activated, no campaign video," he wrote in the Spectator. "The decision to stand was taken last minute, by six people sitting around a kitchen table just over a fortnight ago.
"The final verdict from the men in grey suits of the 1922 Committee was as brutal as it was clinical. Kemi didn’t have enough votes, so that was that. But she was true to herself: brilliant, beautiful and brave. Now she is out of the race, the country will see less of her over the coming months, while I will see a lot more. That’s a trade-off I’ll happily take.
Have your say: Should Tory members get a vote on Boris Johnson's resignation?
Truss's tax plans neither 'economically or morally very acceptable'
Margaret Thatcher was right and tax cuts "must be earned", former Cabinet minister Liam Fox said this lunchtime.
Dr Fox, who is backing Rishi Sunak, told GB News the country would have "far fewer viable business" if it was not for his package of Covid response measures.
He added Liz Truss's proposal to borrow money to fund her tax cuts was "simply deferred taxation onto the next generation, and I don't find that either economically or morally very acceptable".
"Instead of promising things that are too good to be true, [he] has outlined a sound economic plan."
Cost-of-living tsar: Current crisis will last at least a year
The current supply chain and pricing crises will last for at least a year, the Government's cost-of-living tsar has suggested.
David Buttress, the founder and former chief executive of Just Eat, said the current challenges "are going to be with us, you know, certainly for the next 12 months".
Speaking to LBC, Mr Buttress set out his hope either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss would have "the same sort of excitement and passion" for the current project as Boris Johnson had been a "really energetic, passionate leader... [who] cares about the topics that we were talking about".
"[There was a] clear vision he had for actually rising to the challenge and doing something and that really appealed to me because as an entrepreneur and as a business leader," he added. "I'm always happy to take a risk, no matter how challenging this cost-of-living crisis is going to be. At least let's have a go and see what we can do to help."
Is it too late to keep Boris Johnson?
As Christopher Hope reveals in The Telegraph today, more than 2,000 Conservative members have written to the party’s chairman to demand a vote on whether Boris Johnson should carry on as leader.
The party members want Mr Johnson's name to be added to the ballot when 160,000 members vote for a new leader next month.
The petition is the first stage of a campaign by members to reinstate Mr Johnson, with further plans to pressure association chairmen to take action over his removal from the leadership.
Peter Cruddas, a former Treasurer of the Conservative Party, writes: " We must not underestimate the sheer indignation amongst members, who are sending emails in their thousands... It cannot be in the party’s best interests to ignore its members and invalidate their previous votes."
Policy watch: Where Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak stand on the key issues
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are racing to set out their stalls and appeal to Tory members as they prepare to go head-to-head in the final battle to replace Boris Johnson.
The former chancellor is pitching himself to the party and members as the serious candidate on the economy, who can guide the country through a potential recession by resisting calls for tax cuts. Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary is marketing herself as a Thatcherite who promises tax cuts, foreign policy experience, and a track record of delivery.
Sunak and Truss should fight it out over tax policy
The phrase "it’s the economy stupid", was first used by James Colville during Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 election campaign, but it is surely as true now as ever.
We are all entitled to our views on Brexit, global warming and transgender rights but what affects all of us in the short term is how we cope financially. It is about the cost of filling up our car, rising food and gas prices and finding somewhere affordable to live.
No politician has all the answers, even though the two remaining candidates to become our next prime minister do their best to champion their own proposals. So it is no surprise that the cost of living and tax policy have become key features in the leadership debates.
Penny Mordaunt takes sideswipe at Trevelyan
Penny Mordaunt has joked she was "amazed to find myself here this morning, given my reported work ethic" in what appeared to be a dig at Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Ms Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary, last week said her deputy "hasn’t been available" for duties and left colleagues to "pick up the pieces".
"Understandably perhaps, now it's clear Penny has for the last few months spent some of her time focused on preparing her leadership campaign," she told LBC.
Ms Mordaunt, who was speaking in the Commons, was also praised by Andrea Leadsom, who ran her campaign, for what she said was a "clean" leadership effort throughout the past couple of weeks.
Truss won't have time 'to worry about wallpaper'
Liz Truss said she "won't have time to worry about wallpaper" in Downing Street if she is chosen by Tory members as the next party leader and prime minister.
Towards the start of Boris Johnson's time in office Lulu Lytle, a fashion designer, was reportedly asked to furnish the flat with expensive gold wallpaper.
"Believe me, I'm not going to have time to be thinking about the wallpaper in Number 10 because we've only got two years until a general election," Ms Truss told GB News.
Advantage Liz Truss in the race to be prime minister
The race is much closer than when Boris Johnson and Theresa May won their contests, writes Ben Riley-Smith, our Political Editor.
Both got the backing of more than half of Tory MPs to enter the final two. Mr Sunak got just over a third. Within hours of the result, members of Ms Truss and Mr Sunak's camps were picking out the flaws in the other candidate, as battle lines were drawn for the six-week run-off.
Ms Truss was being painted as unelectable and an economic risk by Mr Sunak’s allies, who have argued the former chancellor is the "sensible" choice given the economic uncertainty.
But figures in the Foreign Secretary’s camp have dubbed Mr Sunak the "business as usual" candidate and are sure to note the economy may be heading for recession after his watch.
'We wouldn't want anyone going red'
Rishi Sunak's team is handing out treat boxes to Lobby journalists this morning - including a Twix, a can of Sprite and factor 30 "Ready for Rishi, ready for sunshine" sun cream:
"Looking forward to seeing you out on the road," Mr Sunak wrote in an attached note. "Just a little something to make sure you protect yourself in this hot weather.
"After all, we wouldn't want anyone going red."
Is Liz or Rishi the 'Thatcher candidate'?
Mark Harper, the former Tory Chief Whip who is backing Rishi Sunak, and Liz Truss supporter Sir John Redwood are both invoking Margaret Thatcher this morning.
"Mrs Thatcher levelled with the British people about the challenges we faced in the 1980s. She tackled inflation in order to cut taxes. It’s called sound money," Mr Harper wrote on Twitter.
"That's what Rishi Sunak will do and that's why I'm #Ready4Rishi."
But Sir John said in a post of his own: "Rishi Sunak is no Margaret Thatcher. As her Chief Policy adviser I know the difference. She cut income tax from 33 per cent to 25 per cent and slashed corporation tax and top rate income tax. He puts taxes up."
Why Ruth Davidson is backing Rishi Sunak
Serious times call for serious people, and we are living in serious times.
Inflation is running at a 40-year high of 9.4 per cent. We have a cost of living crisis stoked by higher prices of food, energy and fuel. There is a war in Europe. A post-Covid hangover threatens to topple public services that were already feeling the strain.
It is against that backdrop that the Conservative leadership election – and job interview for Britain’s next prime minister – is taking place.
Rishi Sunak: I will be the heir to Margaret Thatcher
As we did in 1940 and 1979, I believe we are faced with a moment that really matters, Rishi Sunak writes for the Telegraph today.
The challenges facing our country are significant. Inflation and energy bills are the highest they have been for 40 years and there is a war in Europe of a scale and evil not seen since the Second World War.
But beyond these challenges lie incredible opportunities. Grasping the freedoms Brexit has given us to unleash economic growth. Harnessing innovation and technology to transform our public services.
My values are Thatcherite. I believe in hard work, family and integrity. I am a Thatcherite, I am running as a Thatcherite and I will govern as a Thatcherite.
Truss wants to feel the heat
We're only really used to seeing a more serious side to Liz Truss.
So when she appeared on GB News this morning, she took the opportunity to broadcast her love of a Whitney classic to the nation.
"I think maybe the one thing people don't know about me is I do love 1980s music and I do love karaoke," she told the channel. "I like to enjoy music as well. My favourite song is I Wanna Dance (With Somebody) by Whitney Houston."
Hustings are Sunak’s time to shine – but Tory members will already have voted
Rishi Sunak’s campaign to be the new Tory leader has suffered a blow after it emerged that the majority of his head-to-head hustings with Liz Truss will take place after members are likely to have voted, writes Christopher Hope.
The Conservative Party will hold 12 in-person hustings in every part of the UK to allow the Party’s 200,000 members to grill the candidates for themselves.
The Party last night published details of the hustings, which start in Leeds next week and reach as far afield as Exeter in the south, Norwich in the east, Perth in Scotland and an as-yet-undisclosed location in Northern Ireland. But more than three-quarters of the hustings - 10 - will be held after the ballots are sent out on August 1.
Five articles to get you up to speed this morning
Advantage Liz Truss. Ben Riley-Smith, our Political Editor, looks at why this contest is currently the Foreign Secretary's to lose.
But the road to No 10 is still tough. Camilla Tominey unpacks why Ms Truss faces an uphill battle with colleagues.
We look at the most significant figures supporting Mr Sunak and Ms Truss and what their backers on the green benches have to say.
New figures this morning hammer home the scale of the challenge facing both candidates on the economy.
And the recriminations have started in Penny Mordaunt's camp. This is what they blame for the downfall of her campaign.
Watch: Rishi Sunak finds out he made the final ballot
Analysis: A strong start from Truss as she sets out her stall
Until minutes ago, Liz Truss had not subjected herself to a grilling from the broadcast media. But considering many of the worries surrounding her leadership relate to her public performances (see 7.58am), Ms Truss seemed to start strongly.
She gave an impassioned defence of her plan to cut taxes as she sought to turn the tables by suggesting Rishi Sunak's policies represent a real "gamble".
Her line about the "economic orthodoxy" of the last 20 years - in other words, since New Labour - is also likely to cut through with the Tory membership, which is largely on the Right of the party's national voter base.
And while questions still remain about whether Ms Truss is too "over-enthusiastic" and can command the support of the public at large, she has six weeks to answer these.
'I am not the continuity economic policy candidate'
Liz Truss confirmed she would not support the direct involvement of UK troops in Ukraine, and said of the cost-of-living crisis: "While the Government can and should help putting money in people's pockets we cannot solve the whole problem."
Ms Truss said she "wanted Boris Johnson to carry on as Prime Minister... Regrettably, we got to a position where he didn't command the support of our Parliamentary party.
"Boris admitted that he's made mistakes. My judgment was he made a mistake, or several mistakes, over the course of the last year but the positive side of the balance sheet was extremely positive. What I am not is the continuity economic policy candidate, because that is where we didn't get it right and we haven't got it right."
'Wrong to be increasing taxes'
Asked if borrowing over £30billion would increase or decrease inflation, Ms Truss said: "My tax cuts will decrease inflation. We have had a consensus of the Treasury, of economists, of the Financial Times, of other outlets peddling a particular type of economic policy for 20 years. And it hasn't delivered growth.
"[The Treasury] do have an economic orthodoxy and they do resist change. And what people in Britain desperately need now is change. We need to unleash investment in our country, we need to get the EU laws off our statute books and be attracting more funds from pension funds ."
She said her tax cuts would not be inflationary because the supply side of the economy would be increased: "It's not a gamble, it's an economic reality. The more taxes you have, the more growth you choke off."
Ms Truss maintained she was "completely committed" to NHS spending pledges. "What is the gamble is what we are doing at the moment. People are struggling with the cost of living. It is wrong to be increasing their taxes."
I will cut taxes - not 'choke off growth', vows Truss
Liz Truss said her tax cuts - estimated to cost £38billion - would be "affordable" within the current financial framework.
"I know we've got significant debt interest. It's tens of billions of pounds. We've got the highest taxes for 70 years, and we've got lower debt than the United States, than Japan, than Canada. No other countries are raising taxes and the OECD has described our current policy as contractionary. And contractionary essentially means policies that lead to a recession."
Ms Truss called to "keep taxes low, do the supply-side reform, get growth going" and increase tax revenues "by growing the economy - not choke off growth by raising taxes".
'We should not be raising taxes'
Why does Liz Truss now say she wants to rip up the policies of Boris Johnson's Cabinet?
"When I sat at that table I opposed the National Insurance rise before it happened because I thought it was a mistake. I thought it was a mistake to miss that manifesto commitment, break our manifesto commitment and I thought it was a mistake to raise taxes in these very difficult economic times when we need to drive growth."
Ms Truss insisted she was a "loyal person" and "went along with Cabinet collective responsibility - it was wrong at the time and it's even worse now".
"I also think it's very wrong to raise corporation tax. We should not be raising taxes."
Liz Truss: I was wrong on Brexit
Nick Robinson played Liz Truss a clip of her saying in 2016 it was in "all of our interests to communicate the real impact... [Brexit] would have". Why did she get it so wrong, he asks.
"When people voted for Brexit in 2016 I fully embraced the choice that the people of Britain have made," she said. "I was wrong, I was wrong and I'm prepared to admit I was wrong. Some of the portents of doom didn't happen and instead we've actually unleashed new opportunities.
"I've been, Nick, one of the leading figures driving those opportunities whether it's the dozens of trade deals including the deal with Australia that I achieved, whether it's the work I've done at the Foreign Office leading the free world on sanctions. I've embraced it.
"What you will always get from me is someone who's completely honest about what they're thinking. When I make a promise, I deliver it... and when I made a mistake, as I did supporting Remain, in 2016 I admit that."
Liz Truss 'will bulldoze through' challenges
On what makes her anxious, Liz Truss tells Radio 4: "What I worry about is I worry about the future of our country and the future and freedom of democracy. I think we're at a critical stage in world affairs... My biggest fear is that aggressors will have some kind of success and I think that would be a disaster".
Ms Truss recalls growing up in the 1980s when things were "moving in the right direction", adding her biggest fear "is that could be rolled back".
"I'm the kind of person... I think every day when I get up in the morning 'what can I do to change things?' I'm compelled to do that. I am pretty hardworking, pretty direct and I will bulldoze through the things that need to be done."
Liz Truss: I'm prepared to take on the Whitehall machine
Asked if anything "makes her anxious" about the prospect of being PM, Liz Truss said she had spent eight months as Foreign Secretary.
"You're right, we face an incredibly challenging time. In that time as Foreign Secretary I've shown I can be tough, I've shown I can stand up against aggressors and I've shown I can get things done.
"Whether it's the toughest sanctions regime on Russia, whether it's sorting out the issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol to make sure we deliver the full opportunities of Brexit, I can get stuff done and that's why I want to do the job.
"We are in very, very difficult times, we need to be bold, we cannot have business as usual. We need someone with the toughness, the grit who is prepared to take on the Whitehall machine and drive change."
What's in the diary today?
The first hustings with the two candidates, held in private, takes place today in Westminster with an audience of Conservative councillors
The Commons then sits from 9.30am with international trade questions ,followed by questions to Mark Spencer, the Commons leader. The rest of the day is backbench business, including a debate on UK sanctions for human rights abuses and corruption.
The House will then rise for recess, as MPs head back to their constituencies over the summer.
It is also what is known in Westminster as "taking out the trash day" - meaning we can expect plenty of written statements from different departments and ministers.
Why Penny Mordaunt may still be key to leadership race
Penny Mordaunt may still have a "major influence" on the remainder of the Tory leadership campaign, Lord Hayward said.
Ms Mordaunt narrowly failed to make the final two yesterday, which allies suggested was because of a "vicious personal smear campaign".
"She could influence the result, there’s absolutely no question. She could well have a major influence," he said.
"And MPs themselves will influence their constituency associations because members who don’t know Liz Truss or Rishi that well will turn to their MP and say who do you support, why did you support them, will it benefit me at the next council elections?"
Any endorsements from Kemi Badenoch or Michael Gove could also prove significant as the contest progresses, Lord Hayward also noted.
Truss 'easier target' than Sunak, warns peer
Liz Truss is seen as an "easier target" than Rishi Sunak by Labour, a Tory peer renowned for his polling has warned this morning.
Lord Hayward said from "frank conversations" he had had with opposition figures, Mr Sunak's weaknesses are seen as his tax policy and family wealth "but he is a success story" and is more likely to impress in the Midlands and the north.
"Liz Truss has not subjected herself to a major cross-examination by any of the programmes and did not perform well in the debate," Lord Hayward told Sky.
"And therefore they feel that at the Despatch Box she will be easier as a target and easier to take down."
Dominic Penna, the Telegraph's political reporter, taking you through the first day of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss's head-to-head leadership battle.
Ms Truss, who appears on the Today programme at 8.10am in her first broadcast interview of the campaign, attacked Mr Sunak overnight and said he had gone in the "wrong direction" on the economy.
For his part, the former Chancellor said he was the "only candidate" who could beat Labour and Sir Keir Starmer at the next general election.
I will guide you through all of today's developments.