Second head-to-head debate has been suspended
The polling that will worry Sunak (see 5.30pm)
How Ben Wallace will make up his mind (see 4.41pm)
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak's second head-to-head leadership debate was cancelled on Tuesday night after presenter Kate McCann fainted during the broadcast.
Ms McCann, the political editor of TalkTV, fainted around halfway through the hour-long programme and the Telegraph understands a shocked Liz Truss dashed over to help her.
At around 6.32pm a loud crash was heard, followed by subsequent confirmation Ms McCann was okay but the debate would not resume.
Instead, Mr Sunak and Ms Truss chatted to the studio audience of Sun newspaper readers.
They had answered questions about the state of the NHS, the cost-of-living crisis, food prices and what they would do to stand up to Vladimir Putin if he turned the taps off to Europe this winter.
A spokesman for Talk TV said: "Kate McCann fainted on air tonight and although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn't continue with the debate.
"We apologise to our viewers and listeners."
Follow the latest below
Rishi Sunak: 'Good news' Kate McCann already recovered
"Good news that you're already recovering, Kate McCann," Mr Sunak tweeted.
"It was a great debate and I look forward to getting grilled by you again shortly!"
Breaking: Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have left
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss's conversation with the audience is over, and both candidates have now left.
'We shouldn't continue with the debate'
Talk TV tweets:
"Kate McCann fainted on air tonight and although she is fine, the medical advice was that we shouldn't continue with the debate.
"We apologise to our viewers and listeners."
TalkTV debate 'won't restart tonight'
The TalkTV debate will not restart tonight, GB News has reported.
It is understood Mr Sunak and Ms Truss are still chatting directly to the audience members.
BBC reporting Kate McCann is okay
Thoughts are with Kate this evening after a very strong start to tonight's debate.
TalkTV debate suspended after host fainted
The host of TalkTV leadership debate Kate McCann fainted and Liz Truss dashed over to help her, The Telegraph understands.
Candidates now chatting with the audience
From Katy Balls of the Spectator:
Sunak and Truss now chatting with the audience at the Talk TV debate pic.twitter.com/NBct9h8K6a
— Katy Balls (@katyballs) July 26, 2022
Thankfully, both candidates are okay
Hoping everyone at the debate is okay after that unexpected stoppage.
News UK has confirmed that, thankfully, both Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are okay.
We will bring you all of the latest as we have it.
'If we can get back on air we will'
A spokesman for News UK has said: "There's been a medical issue, it's not a security issue and the candidates are okay. If we can get back on air we will"
Tory leadership debate halted 'after an incident in the studio'
Times Radio - which has the same owners as the Sun and TalkTV - tweets out: "The Tory leadership debate on TalkTV has been halted after an incident in the studio."
Breaking: Second leadership debate cut off
The second head-to-head leadership debate has been cut off after a loud crash.
"We're sorry for the disruption to this programme," reads a notice on screen. "We're working hard to fix this issue and will return to normal programming soon."
'What do you plan to do about winter fuel bills? And will you stand up to Putin when he turns off the taps?'
Rishi Sunak says a year and a half ago he oversaw the biggest Armed Forces uplift since the end of the Cold War. "I also worked with all my finance ministers to put in place a sanctions package the likes of which we've never seen. It does require toughness to stand up to him and it does require all of us to go through difficult times.
"Part of us standing up to Putin is realising as a country what's that going to do to our energy bills and having the resolve to get through that. There's lots of different ways we can stand up to him... we certainly will under my leadership."
Both candidates unclear on fracking
What Mr Sunak proposes is "to cut taxes for businesses that do the right thing and that's businesses that are investing in our economy, because that's how we'll grow it".
Fracking - yes or no?
Both candidates say "Yes if local communities support it."
Will the fuel duty cut be reversed?
Sunak: I put in place the largest fuel duty cut in history. So I don't think it needs to be reversed. It is in place.
Truss: I will keep any cuts we've already made.
'Rishi's policies are making us less competitive'
On corporation tax, Ms Truss says: "I am not talking about cutting corporation tax, I am talking about not raising corporation tax. Under Rishi's plan we will end up raising tax to the same level it is in France, more than 10 percentage points that in it is Ireland.
"Rishi's policies are making us less competitive. The fact is that if you put up corporation tax too high, you get less money into the Exchequer. So all this talk about we're going to be paying these debts off, we're not going to be paying those debts off if we go into recession and the tax take goes down from companies and the tax take goes down from people because they're out of work. That is the reality.
"The biggest problem we face is a lack of economic growth. And economic growth is not just a number on a spreadsheet. Economic growth is about jobs and opportunities."
Mr Sunak says: "I take all these points. But I think Sun readers have enough common sense to know you don't get something for nothing and everyone accepts that. I think it's fair to ask the largest companies because my plans only apply to the largest companies. For smaller companies, nothing's going to change. They're getting help to employ staff, they're getting tax cuts on that."
'I don't think that's fair'
Liz Truss cites the Bank of England's suggestion inflation will fall next year.
"It's primarily their role to target and reduce inflation, I think that's very important. What we need to make sure is people are keeping more of hteir own money. What has happened is the tax has been raised through National Insurance so they're having to pay more tax to the Treausry.
"I do think it's morally wrong at a time when families are struggling to pay for their food when we didn't need to do so." Mr Sunak retorts: "I think it's morally wrong to let our children and grandchildren pick up the tab. The question is who's going to pay that [Covid] bill? I think it's entirely reasonable to ask the largest companies in this country - just the top 10 per cent of companies - to pay a bit more because they received a lot of help during the pandemic. They still will pay a very generous rate of tax compared to most other countries. Liz wants to cut the taxes for big business and I don't think that's fair."
"I don't think that's fair," says Ms Truss.
"It's important what we leave our kids and our grandkids and I think that's important to think about that inheritance. I don't want to pass them a bill we can't be bothered to pick up ourselves," Mr Sunak continues.
Rishi Sunak: I will hold supermarkets to account over prices
Rishi Sunak says Gemma, who asked the last question (see 6.23pm), sums up the "great challenge that we face at the moment. There's support in place that I've announced that is already hopefully finding its way to you.
"What I want to do is get inflation out of the system as quickly as possible because I don't want this to last any longer than it has to. The one specific thing I think we can do is make sure we hold supermarkets to account because our farmers, we want to make sure that the supermarkets and all the other people in the supply chain are being fair in how they price these things. That's what I will do as prime minister, hold people to account to make sure you get the best possible prices."
How quickly can he make that happen? "That's something we can do very quickly and it's an ongoing thing, it's something you constantly need to do in Government."
'I'm not able to afford as much as I used to'
The candidates are asked about the rising price of meat by a Sun reader: "We all love meat but I'm not able to afford it as much as I used to."
Liz Truss says the price of food "is a huge issue and this is a global crisis. We know it's being exacerbated by the crisis in Ukraine, fertiliser is more expensive, grain is more expensive, that is feeding through to the costs farmers are having to pay. And one thing I would do is reduce the red tape... but it's also important we are resilient and we have a good food supply in the face of these global shocks and we're not solely dependent, particularly on countries we can't trust."
She describes herself as a "proud representative" of a rural constituency, adding: "We need to help our farmers produce more food and be able to produce food in an affordable way and a lot of that is about the cost of things going into farming. One thing that is really important is we help our rural communities across the United Kingdom. They are struggling as well in this cost-of-living crisis."
Liz Truss: We must support professionals
Rishi Sunak says he does rely on the NHS "as do all of us and I know it's people's priority".
"I think Liz says she supports the extra funding that I've put in but doesn't support the means for paying for that."
Ms Truss says she "called 111 fairly recently, it was just before Covid, and I did actually get a good service on 111. Likewise my daughter's had to go to Accident and Emergency for some specific issues with her hand and we got a good service at the time. I recognise I've had friends of time who've had to wait longer than that very recently.
"Things have got more difficult after Covid and what we need to do is support those professionals."
'I would reverse that rise'
Liz Truss insists she is "committed to the extra money that was announced for the NHS. It is needed to deal with the backlog and I would fund that money out of general taxation.
"It is affordable and the fact is whatever Rishi says now we did not need to raise National Insurance in order to pay. We did have that money available in the Budget, it was a choice to break our manifesto commitment and raise National Insurance. I still remain oppose to it and I would reverse that rise.
"On the subject of the National Health Service I'm committed to the 40 new hospitals we have agreed to build, I'm afraid some of our hospitals are falling apart. That is not good enough for patients across the NHS. But as well as more money and we do need to put more money into the physical fabric of the NHS we also need to trust the people.
"What it comes down to is allowing doctors and nurses who know what they're doing the freedom to deliver on the frontline."
'Conservatives have had their chance already'
John says: "The Conservatives have had their chance already and it's still not enough for the NHS".
Mr Sunak says the answer is: "We've got to do things differently and we've got to do things differently so people get better treatment quicker." He points to new blood cancer screening techniques, "but also using new forms of surgical hubs to get through this backlog of elective surgery, we can create specialised hubs where surgeons can work really productively... Community diagnostic centres are another innovation we need to do more of.
"This is what this NHS social care levy which I've put in place, that's what it's funding. It's funding the new technology that helps physicians focus on what they need to do which is treating us rather than bureaucracy. From day one tackling this backlog will be my number one public service priority. I'm confident we can get the wait list down quicker but we're not going to be able to do any of that if the NHS doesn't have the security."
Liz Truss: 'I want to see fewer layers of NHS management'
Liz Truss responds: "First of all can I just say to John I'm incredibly sorry to hear about his experience in the NHS." She says her mum was a cancer research specialist "but we need to do more and there has been issues during Covid about people being able to get the support that they need.
"I think too often we are directing and micromanaging people on the front line, the doctors and nurses who do the work. And what I want to see is fewer layers of management in the NHS."
"I simply don't think people can sit there in Whitehall and direct everything that happens in local communities around the country. I would like to see more support based in GP surgeries, so fewer people have to go to hospital. And this is all about making sure we give people more help locally."
Rishi Sunak: NHS is safe in my hands
John Hughes asks the candidates: Since I was diagnosed with cancer I've had the operation - I was promised loads and loads of care and whatever else. I've had to rely on a... cancer based charity. I've had no help at all from Macmillan or my cancer nurses. Why is the NHS broken?
Rishi Sunak: John I'm really sorry to hear about that and I'm glad that you're at least now getting the support that you need.
John: I'm not, Mr Sunak. It's a cancer-based charity. I don't know what I would have done.
Sunak: I grew up in an NHS family... so I know firsthand what an enormous difference healthcare makes. And the reason NHS is under strain at the moment is it's recovering from Covid and we all know that. And there are many people like you who are waiting to get the treatment they need and deserve.
That's why I did something really difficult which I'm actually getting a lot of flak for at the moment and I made sure the NHS got the funding it needed to work through the backlogs, get everyone the care needed and work through that as quickly as possible. I don't think we can have an NHS which is underfunded and not able to deliver the care that it needs. I think you can be reassured the NHS is safe in my hands.
Liz Truss says she may have ran out of questions for Rishi Sunak
She adds: "Look, I want to have a fair campaign. And the major debate between Rishi and I is about the economy. What I am promising is to deliver tax cuts straight away and relieve the burden on Sun readers' pockets and bills."
Ms Truss says of the green levy: "I don't think people can afford that in the current circumstances. And what I would ask Rishi is what he would do on day one of becoming Prime Minister to relieve the money people are struggling to pay out of their household budgets."
Ms Truss says "we have anaemic growth in this country and we need to fix that. We've got the lowest growth projected in the G7. If we put up taxes which is what Rishi is proposing - corporation tax - that means countries are less likely to invest in the United Kingdom and we will be heading for a recession. I know what it looks like when economic times are hard. It looks like people losing their jobs, not having enough money to look after their families.
"It is a false economy to say that somehow by raising taxes we're going to bring more money in."
Liz Truss's opening statement
"The next election is going to be about the cost of living. We have only two years to show the British people that we can deliver and make their lives better. As prime minister I would put money back in people's pockets from day one, driving growth and delivering opportunities from day one. It's wrong that we currently have the highest tax burden in this country that we've had for 70 years. And I believe that Sun readers want us to keep to our manifesto commitment of not raising taxes.
"I'm somebody who does what I say I will do. I've delivered on trade deals, I've delivered on Brexit opportunities and I've delivered on standing up to Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. Britain's best days lie ahead of us. We need to reject the voices of decline. We need to stop apologising for being Conservative and start working to build our country. I will run a government of all the talents that unleashes the potential right across the fantastic country."
Rishi Sunak's opening statement
"The challenges we face today are immense. Energy bills doubling, inflation at a 40-year high. Yet amidst those challenges we shouldn't lose heart because there are incredible opportunities, not least because of Brexit. Like many of you I was proud to vote for that. Now I've got a plan to overcome these challenges and seize those opportunities.
"I'll grip inflation and get you the help you need with your bills. I'll get our economy growing cutting EU red tape and getting our taxes down. And I will do whatever it takes to tackle illegal migration. Now I'm not going to pretend this is going to be easy, but as Chancellor you saw that I helped 10million people protect their jobs and the economy through Covid. So I've got a record you can believe in. And as your prime minister I know that we can face down those challenges and seize those opportunities because Britain's potential is limitless."
Candidates will give short answers to the initial questions, then debate will progress.
"Let's make this a clean fair fight, if everybody talks at once then nobody gets heard," Kate McCann warns the candidates.
Here we go
Kate McCann, the TalkTV presenter, is hosting tonight's debate. She notes the winner of the leadership election will enter Downing Street in under six weeks' time.
Tonight's audience are evenly split in their support for Ms Truss and Mr Sunak, with some Tory Party members and others floating voters.
One caller tells TalkTV:
"I don't like politicians, they're all self-centred, they're all liars."
Mr Sunak and Ms Truss will be hoping tonight's studio audience is on slightly more peaceable form...
Sunak vs Truss round two: 10 minutes to go
I will be bringing you live updates throughout this evening's joint TalkTV/The Sun debate.
Our own Nick Gutteridge will have all the latest snap reaction after the event.
What's at stake tonight?
We can expect another combative exchange between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss when their next leadership debate begins in earnest in around 20 minutes.
Mr Sunak and Ms Truss can once expect to face questions about their vastly differing approaches towards the economy. Last night's jibes included Mr Sunak accusing Ms Truss of "tipping millions into misery" if she pursued her £38billion tax cut agenda, while the Foreign Secretary compared her rival to Gordon Brown and accused him of "Project Fear".
The nature of the contest is already proving a gift to opposition parties (see 4.12pm). Will things be any calmer tonight? Can Ms Truss retain the momentum?
And how does Mr Sunak come back from a performance which saw him accused of "mansplaining" - while also seeing him prove less popular or trusted in polling of the Tory grassroots?
The last memorable Tory moment on Talk TV...
... was Bim Afolami's memorable resignation as vice-chairman of the Conservative Party.
It came on the night Sajid Javid and Mr Sunak also quit their respective roles as the Chris Pincher affair proved the final nail in the coffin of Boris Johnson's premiership:
Red Wall prefers Starmer to Truss - but picks Truss over Sunak
More polling this evening which will make difficult reading for Rishi Sunak, who has positioned himself as the "only candidate" who could beat Labour at an election.
Voters in Red Wall constituencies that went Tory in 2019 prefer Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, to Mr Sunak by 44 per cent to 29 per cent, according to a survey of 1,500 people by Redfield and Wilton Strategies.
They also prefer Sir Keir to Liz Truss by 40 per cent to 35 per cent. But Ms Truss leads her former Cabinet colleague by five percentage points - 38 per cent to 33 per cent - which will add to her confidence as she remains the favourite to enter No 10 at the start of September.
Boris Johnson: ‘As far as I’m aware’ ex-KGB agent and I did not discuss government business
Boris Johnson has said that "as far as I am aware" no government business was discussed at a meeting he held with a former-KGB agent in Italy, Nick Gutteridge reports.
The Prime Minister confirmed that he met Alexander Lebedev, the father of media proprietor Lord Lebedev, during a trip to the latter’s Umbrian villa in April 2018.
In a letter to the Commons liaison committee he insisted that the pair encountered each other at a "social event" which he was attending without officials.
Mr Johnson, who was the then foreign secretary, insisted he "did not take ministerial papers with me" and had followed "established security protocols".
'Thank you, Volodymyr, for everything you have done'
Boris Johnson has presented President Zelensky with the Churchill Leadership Award in recognition of his leadership following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, writes Daniel Martin, our Deputy Political Editor.
Speaking at the ceremony earlier today, Mr Johnson - who presented it remotely - said:
Like Churchill, you’ve understood that you are not yourself the lion, the Ukrainian people are the lion, but you have been called upon to give the roar, the roar of freedom against tyranny, good against evil, of light against darkness.
And you have delivered that roar magnificently and that’s why it was such a huge stroke of good fortune that you should have been in office at this time of crisis for Ukraine and the world.
And inspired by your leadership, I know not just that Ukraine can win but Ukraine will win, and when that day comes, as it will, Ukraine will rise and take its place,as a free sovereign and independent nation.
Thank you, Volodymyr, for everything you have done and slava Ukraini.
Breaking: Tube strikes on August 19
London Underground workers are to strike on August 19, it has been confirmed.
More to follow
Sunak praises 'great turnout' at north London event
Rishi Sunak praised a "great turnout" at his event in Harrow today as he braces for a second consecutive debate with Liz Truss.
"Thank you to everyone who came along to discuss my plans to tackle the cost of living and defeat Labour," Mr Sunak said after the #Ready4Rishi rally in Stanmore.
What a great turnout today at the #Ready4Rishi event in Stanmore.
Thank you to everyone who came along to discuss my plans to tackle the cost of living and defeat Labour.
You can sign up at https://t.co/3cXn1rFhca pic.twitter.com/wjaQ3Cn4IT
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) July 26, 2022
Harrow was the only council gained by the Conservatives at the local elections in May amid a row over the low-traffic neighbourhoods rolled out by the previous Labour administration.
Ben Wallace: I'll back whoever invests in defence
Ben Wallace promised he would be back the Conservative candidate who will "invest in defence" as he warned it "needs more money because the threat has gone up".
The Defence Secretary was widely considered the favourite to become the next prime minister among the Tory grassroots until he decided not to run earlier this month.
"Ukraine has shown that Britain needs to update its deep fires with long range artillery capabilities," Mr Wallace told the Sun.
"I will be supporting the person who I believe can be trusted to invest in defence and make us safer from the threats that I think have grown in the last 12 months."
Steven Edginton: Next PM must cut back the woke Blob
In 2019 the Conservatives won a historic mandate for change on a campaign to "Get Brexit Done", a slogan that meant far more than simply withdrawing from the European Union, writes Steven Edginton.
Following on from the 2016 referendum, it was the second time in three years that the British public had decisively rejected the country's elite.
The Tories were handed an 80-seat majority to end the chaos created by an out-of-touch political class, take on the unruly civil service, and rewire the British state.
Boris Johnson may have delivered Brexit, but he has utterly failed to break up the machine that was so effective in its attempts to prevent it.
Tory race giving us 'wealth of material', says Labour
The Conservative leadership contest is providing Labour with a "wealth of material", its national campaign coordinator has said this afternoon.
Shabana Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood, was speaking as her party released a video - soundtracked by comedic fairground-style music - which clips up the most cutting jibes of last night's debate, with the tagline: "The Tory leadership candidates in their own words."
"They are giving us a wealth of material, we are obviously using some now and we’ll have plans for more later as the contest progresses and as we gear up for the next general election - whenever that might be," Ms Mahmood the Huffington Post.
Labour has repeatedly called for an early election, arguing prime minister Truss or Sunak should "seek a fresh mandate" on entering No 10.
Dominic Penna here, the Telegraph's Political Reporter taking over for the rest of today to guide you through the key developments.
The centrepiece of today is the second head-to-head debate in as many days between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss as the battle for Downing Street continues to step up.
Following a highly charged debate last night, coverage of which has been dominated by personal attacks and accusations of 'mansplaining', this evening it falls to Talk TV and the Sun newspaper to anchor proceedings.
Liz Truss attacks Rishi Sunak's economic plans
Liz Truss has attacked Rishi Sunak's plan to press ahead with a planned hike to corporation tax.
The levy is due to rise from 19 per cent to 25 per cent next year. Ms Truss has said she would halt the rise while Mr Sunak has committed to implementing it as planned.
Speaking to Sky News, the Foreign Secretary was asked about the IMF world economic update (see the post below at 15.22), which implied that not cutting taxes and keeping spending down is the way forward.
She said: “Let’s be clear, his (Rishi Sunak’s) plan is to raise taxes. He is planning to raise taxes on corporations, putting our taxes up to the same level as France. That is going to put off people who want to invest in Britain. And I know there are masses of opportunities right across the country.
“Less investment will mean fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, lower wages and lower productivity in the future. So it’s cutting off our nose to spite our face. The fact is that we promised in our manifesto not to raise National Insurance. I thought it was wrong at the time to do so, and that is why I would reverse that.
“I also want to put money into people’s pockets. I could quote the OECD who said that our current policy is contractionary. And what that means is it will lead to a recession. A recession would be a disaster, it would be a disaster for people who are homeowners. It would be a disaster for people who go out to work. It would be a disaster for people who run businesses.
“That is why I want to keep taxes low, attract the investment, get the growth. That’s the best way to pay down our debt.”
Liz Truss is 'not going to criticise the other candidate in this race'
Allies of Liz Truss last night accused Rishi Sunak of “aggressive mansplaining” and “shouty behaviour" during the BBC debate.
Ms Truss was asked this afternoon if she believed that Mr Sunak was guilty of "mansplaining".
She replied: "I am not going to criticise the other candidate in this race. I am putting forward a positive case about what we need to change in Britain to unleash the potential of people across this country.
“I want to support those who go out to work, the self-employed, those who run small businesses, those who get things done, to drive our country forward. Those are the people I back.”
'I don’t break my promises and I get things done'
Liz Truss was told this afternoon that some of her allies have criticised Rishi Sunak during the Tory leadership contest.
The Foreign Secretary did not rebuke her supporters as she said: “I have a fantastic range of supporters from all parts of the Conservative Party and what is true about all of them is that they have worked with me in government, they know I am somebody who does what I say I do, I don’t break my promises and I get things done.
“And that is what Britain needs.”
'I want us to be better and I can lead that change'
Liz Truss has been meeting Tory members in Fontwell, West Sussex, this afternoon and she has just spoken to broadcasters.
Ms Truss said that she believes she can "lead that change" that the UK needs if she becomes the next prime minister. She said: “They want to see bold action. I am the prime minister that can deliver that.”
Asked if she was annoyed by Rishi Sunak interrupting her during last night's debate, the Foreign Secretary refused to be drawn.
She said: “I put my case across, I think the audience understood what I was saying and I am on the side of people who work hard, who do the right thing and that is the kind of government I would run.
“The fact is that the current business as usual policy isn’t working, it is not delivering for people across Britain. I am an optimist about the future, I think we are a country with great potential and I want us to do more, I want us to be better and I can lead that change.”
IMF downgrades UK growth forecast
The UK’s economic growth is slowing further due to rampant inflation and it is set to be the weakest economy among the G7 nations next year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned.
It came as the IMF warned that stalling growth across the world means we could be “teetering on the edge of a global recession”.
In its latest World Economic Outlook update, the body downgraded its UK growth forecast for 2022 to 3.2 per cent, from 3.7 per cent in April. This had already been a downgrade from 4.7 per cent at the start of the year.
Policy watch: Where Truss and Sunak stand on key issues
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are going head-to-head in the race to replace Boris Johnson in No 10.
The former chancellor is pitching himself to Tory 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.
Lord Hague: Next Cabinet must be appointed on talent
Lord Hague has said whoever wins the Tory leadership contest should prioritise talent when it comes to filling their Cabinet.
The former Tory leader told Times Radio: “Whichever it is, I think it is very important first of all to have a Cabinet on talent. Boris Johnson did get rid of people like Jeremy Hunt or Penny Mordaunt who are talented people in the Cabinet and had people loyal to him.
“It is really important that they bring on the most talented.”
Rishi Sunak's role in ousting PM 'could hurt Tory leadership bid'
Rishi Sunak's role in bringing down Boris Johnson's premiership could hurt his chances in the Tory leadership contest, Lord Hague has suggested.
The former Tory leader said he believes a lot of Conservative Party members are "still making up their minds” who to vote for.
He told Times Radio: “A lot of Conservative members honestly don’t know how to vote yet. There will be a part of the Conservative membership who yes, don’t like the idea of someone who brought down the Prime Minister.
“But the same sort of surveys from the same sort of pollsters said most Conservative supporters wanted to bring down Boris Johnson and I always make the point only Boris Johnson brought down Boris Johnson. It was his own failings, it wasn’t what anybody else did to him. The others just had to recognise reality that it wasn’t a viable premiership any more.
“So it does make it more difficult but he did the right thing when he resigned and I hope he will get the credit for that.”
Lord Hague: Rishi Sunak facing 'uphill struggle'
Lord Hague, the former Tory leader, has said Rishi Sunak is facing an "uphill struggle" in the Tory leadership contest.
The former Cabinet minister, who is backing Mr Sunak's bid for the top job, was asked during an interview with Times Radio how optimistic he is about the ex-chancellor's chances of winning the race against Liz Truss.
He said: “Well, I think he and his campaign acknowledge that it is an uphill struggle here. But you can see he is a candidate with great energy, he acquits himself very well.”
Sir Keir Starmer scraps ten 'socialist' manifesto pledges
Sir Keir Starmer has ditched the promises he made when standing for Labour leader two years ago, vowing to enter the next election on a “clean slate” of new policies.
In another move which risks angering left-wing MPs he said the economic impact of Covid meant commitments entered into before the pandemic might not be honoured.
He won the contest to replace Jeremy Corbyn, which took place in early 2020, by espousing a Socialist platform and setting out a series of 10 pledges he would pursue.
You can read the full story here.
Watch: ‘Mansplaining’ Rishi Sunak interrupts Liz Truss 20 times in 12 minutes
Truss urged Cummings to scrap hundreds of ‘woke’ civil service posts
Liz Truss urged Dominic Cummings to scrap hundreds of "woke" civil service posts, it has emerged, as she vowed to stand up to Whitehall "groupthink".
A leaked document shows that when she was international trade secretary in 2020, her office called for the abolition of diversity and inclusion roles in the civil service, alongside strategic communications teams.
You can read the full story here.
What does the YouGov poll mean for Rishi Sunak?
Team Rishi will likely publicly dismiss or seek to downplay the significance of today's YouGov snap survey of Tory members following last night's TV debate.
Allies of the former chancellor may well claim it is just another poll and that there is a long way to go in the race for No 10.
But privately the alarm bells will be ringing.
This poll does not represent a mixed bag of findings, in fact it could not be much clearer: Liz Truss was ahead of Mr Sunak among Tory members on pretty much every question asked.
The fact that Ms Truss was viewed as the better performer in every single issue covered during the debate will be particularly disheartening for Mr Sunak.
The numbers suggest that Mr Sunak has a mountain to climb if he is to beat Ms Truss.
Poll: Truss 'better than Sunak in every debate area'
Tory members polled by YouGov said Liz Truss had performed better than Rishi Sunak on all of the issues covered in last night's debate.
Asked who had performed best in the section on the war in Ukraine, some 62 per cent said Ms Truss while 18 per cent said Mr Sunak.
On the cost of living it was 55 per cent for Ms Truss and 34 per cent for Mr Sunak. On taxation it was 51 per cent for Ms Truss and 42 per cent for Mr Sunak.
Poll: Truss beats Sunak on likeability
YouGov asked 507 Tory members who watched last night's leadership debate if they believed each candidate came across as being in touch with ordinary people.
Some 63 per cent said that was the case with Liz Truss compared to just 19 per cent for Rishi Sunak.
Asked if the candidates came across as likeable, some 54 per cent said that was the case with Ms Truss and 35 per cent said it for Mr Sunak.
The numbers were closer on the question of whether the candidates seemed prime ministerial, with 42 per cent for Ms Truss and 43 per cent for Mr Sunak.
Almost eight in 10 Tory members say Truss performed well at debate
Almost two thirds of Tory members - 65 per cent - believe Rishi Sunak performed well in last night's leadership debate, according to a new snap poll of the Conservative grassroots conducted by YouGov.
But the former chancellor was still behind Liz Truss, with 78 per cent of members polled saying the Foreign Secretary had performed well.
Poll boost for Liz Truss
A snap YouGov poll of 507 Tory members who watched last night's BBC leadership debate found 50 per cent believe Liz Truss performed better than Rishi Sunak.
Some 39 per cent viewed Mr Sunak as the better performer.
Tory MP insists Conservative divisions will heal after contest
A Tory MP supporter of Rishi Sunak has insisted the Conservative Party will be able to heal its divisions once the bruising leadership contest between the former chancellor and Liz Truss has concluded.
Claire Coutinho was told during an interview with the BBC that voters are less likely to back a divided party amid concerns the contest could cause lasting damage to the Tories' electoral hopes.
She said: “I think at the moment we are talking about the future of the country and I think it is important those debates are had and they are had robustly.
“But actually what we saw at the end of the debate I thought were quite nice moments as well as they were both talking about having each other in their different cabinets and they were talking about working together and praising each other for different things that they had seen.
“Frankly I think the country can distinguish between politicians who are talking about policies and arguing about ideas and politicians who sit in the same family and ultimately will come together afterwards and I know that is what we will do as a Conservative Party.”
Sunak supporter criticises Team Truss over 'very personal attacks'
Claire Coutinho, a Tory MP and a supporter of Rishi Sunak, has accused allies of Liz Truss of launching "very personal attacks" on the former chancellor.
Asked about Mr Sunak interrupting Ms Truss during last night's debate, Ms Coutinho told the BBC: “It’s a debate, a debate on an issue which is really, really important for the country and the thing that I will say is we have seen some very personal attacks from the other side and what I am quite comfortable and I think what people are comfortable with is us having different views on issues which are really important, the policies of the day and not so much of the personal stuff that we are seeing from the other side.”
Rishi Sunak: Indyref2 'wrong priority at the worst possible moment'
Rishi Sunak has set out his opposition to holding a second referendum on Scottish independence.
The Tory leadership contender wrote in the Scottish Daily Mail that he believes "another referendum is the wrong priority at the worst possible moment".
"The SNP are wrong to try and tear the country apart when we should be pulling together," he said.
Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has said she wants to hold a re-run of the 2014 vote in October next year.
'We have got to get back to the principles which drove the Thatcher government'
Simon Clarke, a supporter of Liz Truss and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the next government must "get back to the principles which drove the Thatcher government" and cut taxes to boost economic growth.
He told Times Radio: "Crucially we have to go to the heart of this question: Do you believe that tax cuts grow the size of the economy? Do you believe that they are in themselves something which can create more fiscal space by growing the underlying economy?
"The answer to that, as a Conservative, must be yes and that is the point that Liz is making. We have got to break with the orthodoxies which have frankly held back growth for too long and we have got to get back to the principles which drove the Thatcher government which is that a lower tax economy is good in its own right and that is what Liz is pressing for."
Host pulls out of tonight's Tory leadership debate
The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole has been forced to pull out of hosting duties for this evening’s Tory leadership debate after testing positive for Covid-19.
Mr Cole said on Twitter: “Covid finally got me for the first time with spectacularly bad timing.”
He had been due to share hosting duties with TalkTV’s political editor Kate McCann.
She said she was “gutted not to be hosting with my partner in crime this evening” but “we’ve got a great debate in store”.
Reader survey: Who do you think won last night's debate?
Sir Tony Blair pays tribute to Lord Trimble
Sir Tony Blair has paid tribute to Lord Trimble following his death yesterday at the age of 77.
The former prime minister said the Good Friday Agreement would not have happened without the efforts of Lord Trimble.
Asked what Lord Trimble's place in history will be, Sir Tony said: “Immense. It wouldn’t have happened without him. It’s as simple as that really. Not just what he gave during the period of negotiations which was intense over several days, but also in the years afterwards it was a masterclass in leadership.”
What time is the debate today?
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will clash for the second time in less than 24 hours later today as they take part in a debate hosted by The Sun and TalkTV.
The live head-to-head debate in front of a studio audience will kick off at 6pm.
Both sides will be hoping to have learned lessons from last night's event hosted by the BBC which saw Mr Sunak and Ms Truss, who is today celebrating her 47th birthday, repeatedly clash and criticise each other.
Sir Keir Starmer: 2019 Labour manifesto 'is gone'
Labour's 2019 general election manifesto "is gone" and the party will enter the next national contest with a "clean slate", Sir Keir Starmer said this morning.
He told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: “Saying no is the hardest thing but we have got to say no to some things, we have got to have priorities that we carry into the election.
“That’s why I have already said no to the 2019 manifesto. That is gone and we start from a clean slate going forward.”
Labour will no longer 'vacate the pitch on the economy'
Sir Keir Starmer said that Labour will no longer "vacate the pitch on the economy" as he said he intends to fight the next general election on the issue.
The Labour leader said he is "deeply conscious that for a Labour Party to win an election we have to show economic credibility".
He told the BBC: "That is why I want to fight on the economy. Too often the Labour Party goes into its comfort zone when it comes to elections, vacates the pitch on the economy.
“I am determined we are going to go and fight on the economy because I don’t think the last 12 years allows the Conservatives governments to say that they are the party that is strong on the economy.”
Minister accuses Rishi Sunak of taking 'extremely aggressive' approach during TV debate
Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a supporter of Liz Truss, has accused Rishi Sunak of being "extremely aggressive" in the early stages of last night's TV debate.
Asked if he believed the former chancellor was guilty of "mansplaining" as some allies of Ms Truss have claimed, Mr Clarke told LBC Radio: "Well, he was certainly extremely aggressive in the early moments of the debate.
"I am not going to attach labels to the approach that Rishi took. Ultimately everyone has to account for their own performance in these debates and make their points passionately. There are important issues at stake here.
"But I can see why it got some people's backs up."
Mr Clarke was asked if Mr Sunak had been "that strident" in Treasury meetings and he said: "No, no, he wasn't and it is important to emphasise that I have always found Rishi very reasonable to work with but it was a pretty intense approach to the early moments of the debate last night and I am not really sure that it worked."
‘I watched as much as I could bear ‘
Sir Keir Starmer said last night’s Tory leadership debate demonstrated the Conservative Party has “absolutely lost the plot”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “I watched as much as I could bear of it, because it showed just the two contenders taking lumps out of each other, talking over each other, talking about clothing and earrings instead of the health service.
“So if ever there was an example of a party that has absolutely lost the plot, lost any sense of purpose then it was that debate last night.”
Labour frontbenchers warned not to join rail picket lines
Sir Keir Starmer told Labour frontbenchers not to join union picket lines at last month’s rail strikes but his orders were ignored by some of his MPs.
The Labour leader today repeated the order to his frontbench as the nation braces for yet more industrial action on the railways in the coming days and weeks.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It’s quite open to people to express their support for working people who are struggling to pay their bills, but I’m very clear that the Labour Party in opposition needs to be the Labour Party in power.
“And a government doesn’t go on picket lines, a government tries to resolve disputes…”
Truss ally accuses Sunak of 'aggressive moments' during debate
Simon Clarke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and an ally of Liz Truss, said last night's debate was largely respectful, but accused Rishi Sunak of “aggressive moments”.
He told Sky News: “There are important issues at stake and there’s no getting away from the fact that that will lead to robust debate.
“But I also think it needs to be respectful debate, and in large part we had that last night.”
He added: “I think there were some pretty aggressive moments at the outset from Rishi towards Liz in terms of interrupting her as she tried to set out her case, but by and large I think the debate was held in a reasonable spirit reflecting, obviously, the importance of the issues.”
'We’re in a different situation financially' because of Covid
When Sir Keir Starmer was running for the Labour leadership in 2019 he promised to support “common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water”.
Asked why he had now ditched that pledge, he told BBC Breakfast that the coronavirus crisis had changed the picture.
“We’ve got to recognise that after the pandemic we’re in a different situation financially to the situation that we were in before, and we want a responsible government that says if we’re going to do something we will tell you how we’re going to pay it,” he said.
Specifically on nationalisation, he said: “Apart from rail, the answer is going to lie in regulating the market, changing the market, rather than simply taking things into public ownership.”
Sir Keir Starmer distances himself from 2019 Labour manifesto
Sir Keir Starmer’s decision yesterday to ditch Labour’s old blanket nationalisation pledge represented a significant step away from the Jeremy Corbyn era.
The Labour leader today attempted to distance himself still further from his predecessor as he criticised Mr Corbyn’s 2019 general election manifesto.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: “I don’t want a Labour Party that, as it was in 2019, was basically saying we can spend on anything.
“We’ve reversed those 2019 manifesto positions because we needed to show the country that we’re credible, we’re responsible on the economy”.
Labour would still plan to nationalise railways
A Labour row erupted yesterday after Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves said the party is dropping its past pledge to nationalise key sectors of the UK economy.
There was some confusion over whether the policy shift included shelving plans for the public ownership of the railways.
Sir Keir said this morning that the railways could still be nationalised under a Labour government, describing them as an “outlier” when compared to other sectors like energy.
He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme that he would take a “pragmatic approach” on water, energy and mail and “if it can be mended with regulation, that that is a route that we could go down”.
On rail, he said: “Whilst pragmatic approaches is really driving me on this, rail is a bit of an outlier because obviously large parts of rail are already in public ownership, and we would continue that, so the rail situation is different because of the way their contracts are run.
“But for me, I’m not ideological where I say public is good, private is bad or private is good, public is bad.”
‘I think viewers will make up their own minds’
Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a supporter of Liz Truss, would not be drawn on whether he believed Rishi Sunak was guilty of “mansplaining” at last night’s TV debate as he said viewers will “make up their own minds”.
He told BBC Breakfast: "Everyone has to choose their own debating style and be held to account for it. I personally feel that Liz was putting across some very strong arguments as to why lowering the burden of tax is the right thing to do at this point and indeed why Rishi’s arguments about inflation simply are not the right ones at this point.
“But look, it is not for me to critique Rishi. I think the viewers will have made up their minds as to what they saw.”
Pushed on whether Mr Sunak was “mansplaining”, Mr Clarke said: “He was certainly interrupting Liz a lot but as I say, I think it is important to recognise this is a debate, an important policy debate, and there is obviously a profound difference between Liz and Rishi on this topic.
“I am not going to attach labels to how Rishi handled the debate, as I say, I think viewers will make up their own minds.”
'There was that mutual respect between the two of them'
Sir Robert Buckland, the Welsh Secretary and a supporter of Rishi Sunak, would not be drawn on the claims of "mansplaining" made against the former chancellor by allies of Liz Truss.
Sir Robert said last night's debate was "lively" and "a bit feisty" but he believed the two candidates showed "mutual respect" for each other.
He told Sky News: “I think it got lively. What I am looking for in both leadership candidates is that sense of energy and urgency and purpose and I think it is good to see that energy from Rishi Sunak.
“He clearly wants to hit the ground running from day one and get on with a number of priorities.
“I think in a debate like that where you have got differences about how to manage the immediate economy I want to hear actually that lively exchange and at times, yes, it can be a bit feisty.”
He added: “I think that at the end of it all there was that mutual respect between the two of them that shone through in the last 10 minutes or so.
“These people have known each other well, they have sat around the Cabinet table, they are capable of having a mature debate and in fact the content of the debate was pretty good.”
David Davis claims Liz Truss's policies could cause mortgage rate spike
David Davis has claimed that Liz Truss's plans for the economy could result in a huge spike in mortgage interest rates.
Asked why he believed Rishi Sunak had won last night's BBC debate, the former Cabinet minister said: "Why do I think he won last night, because I think he had the best arguments frankly. He won on pointing out that you don’t want seven, eight, nine per cent mortgages, you don’t want to take risks with the economy.
“We have got to pay for the very things that Liz Truss voted for, namely increasing expenditure on the health service. He knows how to do it, she doesn’t.”
Next Tory leader must have 'strength of character'
The next leader of the Conservative Party must have "strength of character" and be able to make "tough decisions" which could prove to be unpopular, David Davis has said.
The former Brexit secretary and supporter of Rishi Sunak told Times Radio: “A future leader of this country is going to have already economic issues to deal with, the Ukraine crisis to deal with and oil supply, an energy supply crisis and others coming down the road, Taiwan, you name it, and you are going to have to be able to make tough decisions.
“You will remember, again, going back to the Thatcher example if you like, tough decisions, often unpopular for years on end but delivered the outcome and that is what we need.
“We need somebody who has got the strength of character, that is as I say, consistency of principle, courage, intellect, to do it and I think that person is Rishi Sunak.”
'I think it has been fiercer than previous debates'
A number of Tory MPs have bemoaned the tone of the Tory leadership contest, fearful that "blue on blue" attacks will damage the Conservative Party's future electoral hopes.
David Davis, a supporter of Rishi Sunak, said he believed the current contest is "fiercer" than past editions because the race to replace Boris Johnson is so "close".
Asked if he agreed that the contest has been "embarrassing" and "puerile", Mr Davis told Times Radio: “I think it has been fiercer than previous debates. I mean I was initially supporting Penny Mordaunt and she came under the most ferocious attack, actually mostly from Liz Truss’s camp.
“So it is fiercer than it has been in the past, partly I think because it is close.”
Rishi Sunak ally dismisses 'mansplaining' claims
Allies of Liz Truss last night accused Rishi Sunak of “aggressive mansplaining” and “shouty behaviour" during the debate (you can read the full story here).
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary and a supporter of Mr Sunak's bid for No 10, dismissed the claims this morning.
He told Sky News: “We differ on that. Look, as I said, when I had exchanges with Cameron, I was just as forensic and difficult with him as Rishi was last night.
“Nobody accused - I don’t know what you would accuse me of, picking apart Cameron’s arguments - nobody accused me of anything untoward.
“I don’t think the rules should be that different if it is a man and a woman or if it is a man and a man or a woman and a woman.”
Good morning and welcome to today's politics live blog.
The Tory leadership contest kicked up a gear last night as Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss engaged in ferocious clashes during their first head-to-head televised debate.
Their allies have been busy arguing that their respective candidate won the showdown and the two No 10-hopefuls will do it all again this evening as they take part in a debate hosted by The Sun and Talk TV.
I will be on hand to guide you through the key developments.