‘He’ll conspire to reverse Brexit!’ Sunak vows to see off Starmer in plea to Tory members

The Conservative leadership contest has entered a crunch stage as the party’s 160,000 members start to receive their ballots as they are asked to choose between ex-Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. In a leaflet seen by Express.co.uk, Mr Sunak promised to “keep Brexit safe” and “win the next general election campaign by defeating Starmer’s Labour”. The Richmond MP, who was first elected to the House of Commons in 2015, currently trails Ms Truss in the opinion polls among Conservative Party members.

However, a recent survey conducted by IPSOS found Sunak is more likely to be seen as having what it takes to be a good Prime Minister compared to Truss and is level-pegging with Starmer.

The Brexit-backing former Chancellor also focused his leaflet on gripping inflation just days after the Bank of England warned the Consumer Price Index could hit 13 percent by the end of 2022.

He said: “This is a critical moment for our country, a critical moment for our Party. A moment that requires serious leadership.

“Because let’s just think about the alternative. An economy with inflation spiralling out of control.

“And a General Election result that sees a Labour-led coalition propped up by the Liberal Democrats and SNP.

“A coalition that would conspire to reverse the result of the EU referendum.

“A coalition that would wreck the economy, abandon our values, erase our history and destroy the Union.”

Sir Keir had vowed to keep the UK outside of Brussels’ single market and customs union during a speech delivered at the Centre of Economic Reform last month.

However, a Eurosceptic campaigner warned the Leader of the Opposition, who was a leading supporter of holding a second referendum while serving as Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, could backtrack on his promise in return for the backing of either the Liberal Democrats or SNP.

They told Express.co.uk: “If he needed to go into coalition with the Liberal Democrats or even worse the SNP they may extract that [concessions on Brexit] as the price he is willing to pay.”

Mr Sunak went on to claim he is the only candidate capable of defeating Labour.

However, an opinion poll by Techne gave Ms Truss an 11-point lead over the former Chancellor among general voters.

The survey also indicated the Foreign Secretary has opened up a 20 percent gap over Mr Sunak.

Ms Truss, who locked horns with Mr Sunak at the latest leadership hustings event in Eastbourne earlier tonight, used her leaflet to extol her low-tax credentials.

She wrote: “I am the candidate with a clear vision based on our shared Conservative principles of low tax, personal freedom and sound economic management.”

Ms Truss added: “I will lead a Government that delivers the change we need on the economy, I will cut taxes from day one, unlock the huge opportunities of Brexit, and undertake the bold economic reforms needed to grow the economy.”

The Foreign Secretary also reiterated she would scrap Mr Sunak’s National Insurance increase and cut corporation tax.

Despite leading among Tory Party members, a Labour Party insider suggested Mr Sunak could pose a far more significant issue for Starmer.

The Southside source told Express.co.uk: “In terms of the Conservatives, we are definitely more worried about a Sunak-led party, with Truss not being a massive concern at this stage in the polls.

“He’s seen as the more classic Tory that will get the economy under control, although should he win we do have plans to go on the attack following the recess to actually make people realise he was the man who was looking after the economy as it all went wrong.”

In a slight boost to Ms Truss, the source added: “We are always conscious of the Brexit effect and the big populist names she has behind her; but also her endorsements from Tom Tugendhat and Ben Wallace are concerning as she is being rationalised by these kind of names.”

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  • 42 минуты назад 18.08.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    Democrats passed their landmark legislation in time for the midterms. Now they need to sell it to voters — and the first phase of that effort is taking shape.

    In plans shared first with POLITICO, a trio of Democratic groups — Climate Power, the League of Conservation Voters and Future Forward USA Action, a nonprofit backed by several major Democratic donors — is dropping $10 million on a national TV ad campaign to define the legislation in the minds of voters. It’s the largest paid ad effort to bolster the legislation so far, as an array of Democratic groups and candidates kick off a 90-day sprint to promote the package and defy a brutal electoral environment for the party.

    “The magnitude, the scope and the importance of what Congress and Biden just did for climate change is transformational … and it is essential that people understand the magnitude of what just happened,” said Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of campaigns at the League of Conservation Voters. He predicted that Republicans would try to mislead voters about the bill, and “we can’t sit around and wait for that to happen. We need to aggressively tell this story.”

    It’s a task the party has been particularly bad at in the past — most notably in 2010 after the passage of Obamacare — and there’s no guarantee this time will be different.

    “There was no campaign to win the win” after passage of the Affordable Care Act, said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power, “whereas the other side spent $450 million to define it as a socialist takeover.” That cycle, Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats.

    After President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday, White House cabinet officials fanned out across the country to stump for it, hosting events in California, Iowa, New Jersey, Arizona, Mississippi and Nevada on Thursday and Friday. Vulnerable senators are talking it up on the campaign trail, while Democratic TV admakers are rushing to cut ads.

    “I know frontline members have already shot spots explaining their vote, touting what’s in the bill and basically saying — promises made, promises kept on lowering prescription drug costs and health care costs,” said Ian Russell, a Democratic admaker and former political director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “You’ll see those ads proliferate for frontline Democrats.”

    For it to stick in voters’ minds, Russell said, “you have to put money behind it,” he continued. “You have to sell it through ads.”

    There’s more ad spending on the horizon, both from candidates and outside groups, a half-dozen Democratic strategists said. Building Back Together, a group led by former Biden campaign officials to support the president’s policies, will be rolling out a more than $1 million ad buy, particularly targeting voters of color, according to a spokesperson for the group.

    The Democratic National Committee is also planning to launch its own TV and digital ad campaign boosting the new law, according to a committee official.

    “This [spending] reinforces what Democrats in the House and the Senate are already talking about,” said JB Poersch, president of Senate Majority PAC, the flagship Senate Democratic super PAC. Among the provisions he said would resonate with voters: lowering drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices, instituting an insulin spending cap for Medicare recipients and shoring up the Affordable Care Act. “It helps to echo that relief is on the way.”

    Senate Majority PAC cut its own ad this week in Nevada that boosted Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) for efforts to “cap insulin costs at $35,” while her Republican opponent, Adam Laxalt, “called a plan to cut insulin costs ‘reckless.’” The law does cap insulin prices for Medicare recipients, but that provision does not extend to those with private insurance, a piece of the bill that was knocked out by Republican opposition.

    The sales pitch is also coming from the candidates themselves, who can “in debates, on the stump, through TV ads, point to concrete things they’ve done,” said Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. The legislation is “the proof point that speaks to the overall case that we’re making to voters right now,” he said.

    Even as Democrats lean into their legislative accomplishments, the fundamentals of the election are bleak. Biden’s approval ratings are stuck in the low-40s and inflation, though ticking down slightly, remains high. And breaking through to voters is a tough task, evidenced by recent polling that found only a quarter of voters were aware that Democrats passed a $550 billion infrastructure package last year.

    “For independent voters, until they see changes in how much money is leaving their pocket every month, this is going to fall largely on deaf ears,” said Robert Blizzard, a Republican pollster who works on a range of congressional races across the country. “This is merely a play to gin up support among their base.”

    But the legislation has given the party a concrete legislative achievement to tout. One veteran of the Obamacare sales job debacle 12 years ago said that Democrats’ challenge is clear this time around.

    “The key lesson here is the journey to fight for the success of a law doesn’t end with bill passage, but that kicks off a whole new phase where communications are equally as important,” said Ben LaBolt, a Democratic strategist. “It’s important to not only do that in electoral advertising, which happens in a specific period of weeks every two years, but you have to show up in voters’ feeds, on their connected streaming TVs, on cable TV, all on a repeated basis explaining what the law does.”

    The ads airing as a part of the $10 million buy will appear on cable stations and streaming platforms. They’ll also run on two messaging tracks, leaning on the issues that are polling particularly well among voters, according to public polling. The first batch focus on how “Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress just passed a law that lowers costs for health care, medicine and energy bills by making corporations pay the taxes they owe, without raising taxes on any of us making under $400,000 a year,” the ad’s narrator says.

    The second set of climate-focused ads are targeted to younger voters. They will air on cable channels like Comedy Central, MTV and AdultSwim, all with an eye toward drawing back in under 30 voters who have soured on the Biden administration, after turning out at historic levels for Democrats in 2018 and 2020.

    “Storms are stronger, the fires are bigger,” the ad’s narrator says. “We are facing a climate emergency, and after decades of inaction, a president is finally doing something to fight it.“

  • 1 час, 30 минут назад 18.08.2022Politics
    Serbia threatens to send more troops to Kosovo as war of words escalates in Balkans

    Anger flared when Kosovo said it would oblige Serbs living in the north, who are backed by Belgrade which does not recognise the country, to start using car licence plates issued in its capital, Pristina.

    The situation calmed after Kosovan Prime Minister Albin Kurti, under US and European Union pressure, agreed to postpone the number plates rule until September 1 and NATO peacekeepers oversaw the removal of roadblocks set up by Serbs.

    However, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told a NATO news conference that EU-facilitated talks with Mr Kurti today will be difficult because the two sides disagree on almost everything.

    NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that the alliance will increase its peacekeeping force in Kosovo if there is an escalation of tensions.

    He said: “We have now a significant mission, a military presence in Kosovo close to 4,000 troops.

    “If needed, we will move forces, deploy them where needed and increase our presence. We have already increased the presence in the north. We are ready to do more.”

    Mr Kurti, who met Mr Stoltenberg later, underlined Kosovo’s resolve to become a NATO member.

    “The threats, risks and challenges that NATO faces in the current security environment are felt by our country as well,” he told reporters, linking the problems to Russia’s influence.

    “Kosovo’s institutions and citizens in the current situation have reason to be vigilant about (the) destructive approach of our northern neighbour towards Kosovo and the region in general under Russia’s detrimental agenda for Europe and the Balkans.”

    Kosovo won independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a guerrilla uprising against repressive Belgrade rule.

    Serbia legally still considers Kosovo an integral part of its territory.

    It denies whipping up tensions and conflict there, and accuses Pristina of trampling on the rights of minority Serbs. Ethnic Serbs account for 5 percent of Kosovo’s 1.8 million population, which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian.

    Mr Vucic said Serbia wanted to avoid any escalation of the situation, but it was important to understand that there is “a new generation of young men” who see Kosovo as Serbian territory and will no longer “put up with the terror”.

    The Kosovo leader branded Mr Vucic “little Putin” in a public speech last week as Serbia remains very close to Kremlin.

    He said: “At a time when the whole democratic world has distanced itself from Putin, our northern neighbour organises rallies in support of Putin by praising him and justifying his crimes in Ukraine. His friends in Serbia and Republika Srpska want to lure Russia into the Balkans.

    “Peace and security in the Western Balkans has never been more threatened by Putin’s friend in the Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina and little Putin of Serbia.”

    Serbia rejected the accusation, with the Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petkovic saying Mr Kurti is “little Hitler from the Balkans”.

    He said: “In Hitler’s dreams and plans, he is disturbed by President Aleksandar Vucic, who is fighting like a lion for the interests of the Serb people in Kosovo and Metohija, who will not allow anyone to ethnically cleanse our people from the southern province and carry out new clean-ups and storms.

    “While Belgrade helped Serbs and Albanians, Pristina is renovating the memorial house of Nazi collaborator Xhafer Deva, while little Hitler wants to create a greater Albania, Belgrade is defending the Open Balkans initiative and while refusing to form the Association as a guarantor of peace and Kurti is sending ROSU to the areas where Serbs live.”

  • 1 час, 30 минут назад 18.08.2022Politics
    ‘Talking a good game but you’ve lost 100,000 members!’ Labour MP slammed over RMT support

    Sky News host Niall Paterson undermined shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson’s claims that the Labour Party was thriving in the current political climate as he spoke of the evident “problems within the party” regarding whether or not to partake of strikes alongside the trade unions. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has openly discouraged his MPs from joining the strike action alongside the rail unions, even sacking former shadow transport minister Sam Tarry for doing a broadcast interview from the picket line, but critics within the party have asked why the unions cannot be endorsed. Ms Phillipson sidestepped the question of whether she would stand with National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers chief Mick Lynch in today’s strikes, before blaming the Conservative Government for being “completely unwilling” to listen to the unions.

    Mr Paterson said: “You’re talking a good game there but losing 100,000 members during a time of almost unprecedented industrial unrest does speak to problems within the party.

    “Some might suggest that the somewhat confusing lines being taken by the Labour Party as regards the strike, and as regards being on the picket line, I mean would you consider standing next to Mick Lynch on an RMT picket?”

    Ms Phillipson said: “Well I will not be on the picket line today because I will be visiting a school up in the northeast to meet with young people getting their results.

    “But I want to be a part of that next Labour government and if we are to be a part of that next government, then we will be sitting around the table seeking to find a solution to all of this.

    “So, we would be involved in getting people around the table and getting an agreement. You look at the current government, they are not interested in that.

    “They just want to stoke that division, cause problems, and actually see how long the strikes will continue. It feels to me they desperately want those strikes to go ahead.

    “I don’t want strikes to happen. I mean, they represent a failure when you get to that point. Workers know that, trade unions know that, they would always want to get a compromise.

    “But you have a government that is completely unwilling to listen and is not able to take decisions at the moment, so it is little wonder that workers are really fed up.”

    In the latest feud between Sir Keir and the left of his party, tensions have arisen over the possibility of MPs joining in with the RMT over strikes concerning pay disputes.

    Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who attended strikes a few weeks ago alongside Mick Lynch, openly discussed the importance of Labour politicians standing for the strikers.

    As the RMT begins another day of striking today, Labour politicians have continued to sidestep the confusing position of whether they are or are not allowed to join in with the strikes, instead peddling the line that transport secretary Grant Shapps is failing to negotiate with the RMT for political gain.

    Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, wrote on Twitter today: “Grant Shapps could resolve this strike with a one-point plan: getting round the table and doing his job.

    “Instead, desperate and destructive plans from a failed Transport Secretary due to be put out of service. Nothing to offer working people facing the cost-of-living emergency.”

    The in-house and cross-party fighting comes as it was revealed that the Labour Party lost nearly 100,000 members and more than £3 million in fees.

    The Electoral Commission showed that membership of the party under Sir Keir Starmer dropped from 523,332 in 2020 to just over 432,000 the following year.

    The party also ended the year with 93 fewer staff, while its biggest donor, Unite, has threatened to withdraw its funding.

    The reasons for the mass exodus are unclear, though Mr Paterson suggested the “confusing” lines over whether or not to join the picket line indicated an absence of clear policy, something which may put off members.

  • 1 час, 30 минут назад 18.08.2022Politics
    Brexit LIVE: PM hopeful Truss handed ‘trump card’ as ‘tit-for-tat’ EU battle escalates

    The EU has moved to use its flagship Horizon research programme, which has been historically profitable for UK scientists, as leverage in the boiling row over the Northern Ireland Protocol. The European Commission has claimed it does not “trust” Britain enough to let it join the likes of non-EU Georgia, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia as associate members of Horizon. The move comes after Tory threats to unilaterally tear up the Protocol, and after Ms Truss published legislation to turn those threats into reality. Writing in the Telegraph, Joe Barnes said the dispute could be used by Ms Truss as a “trump card to help burnish her Brexiteer credentials” ahead of the big vote. “Tit-for-tat rows are going to be a permanent feature of UK-EU business until relations can be reset,” he adds. By taking a hard-line against the EU’s bitter campaign, Ms Truss can cement herself as the right candidate for Prime Minister. She has confirmed she is taking legal action to put an end to the bloc’s behaviour.

  • 5 часов, 31 минута назад 18.08.2022Politics
    ‘Hard to square!’ Truss and Sunak suffer blow as expert slams Tory tax cutting agenda

    The Foreign Secretary and former Chancellor are currently competing to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader. The pair faced off in Belfast yesterday for the eight Tory Party hustings event of the campaign.

    However, shortly after the Ulster event, Mr Truss and Mr Sunak faced criticism over their tax plans.

    Ms Truss has pledged to start cutting taxes from “day one”.

    She has even vowed to reverse April’s National Insurance increase and a planned rise in corporation tax.

    Mr Sunak, who has claimed he wants to control inflation before pursuing a tax-cutting agenda, unveiled plans to temporarily axe VAT on energy bills.

    The Richmond MP also pledged to eventually cut income tax from 20p to 16p.

    However, an expert at the Institute for Government suggested both plans are looking more implausible by the day.

    Carl Emmerson, IFS deputy director, said: “The reality is that the UK has got poorer over the last year.

    “That makes tax and spending decisions all the more difficult.

    “It is hard to square the promises that both Ms Truss and Mr Sunak are making to cut taxes over the medium term with the absence of any specific measures to cut public spending and a presumed desire to manage the nation’s finances responsibly.”

    The IFS added: “Only last month the OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) warned that the public finances are already on an unsustainable long-term path.

    “Large, unfunded, permanent tax cuts would only act to make this problem worse.”

    The report was published while inflation hit a whopping 10.1 percent in July.

    Despite the criticism, a spokeswoman for the Sunak campaign said of the IFS report: “This drives a coach and horses through Liz’s economic plan.

    “Rishi has consistently made the case that permanent, unfunded tax cuts would cause significant damage to the public finances and push inflation up higher.

    “It is not credible or Conservative to spend £50bn on tax cuts and pay for them through higher borrowing at a time of high inflation.

    “Rishi’s plan is the right plan to prioritise temporary, targeted support for those who need it through the winter, grip inflation and cut taxes sustainably and for good.”

  • 9 часов, 31 минута назад 18.08.2022Politics
    GB News: BBC’s cost of living coverage slammed for ‘prophesying doom and gloom’

    Recent reports of the energy crisis have warned that household energy bills will continue to rise and will stay high into 2024 while pubs and restaurants have warned they may have to close. According to the Daily Mail columnist, “most of us are going to have to help ourselves” after the BBC and Martin Lewis, the money expert, are putting too much emphasis on Government bailouts.

    According to Mr Glover’s recent column, Martin Lewis “has been freely prophesying Armageddon” about the financial struggles households are and will continue to face.

    He added: “The government has already done quite a bit, having shelled out £37 billion of support so far this year.

    “Under existing plans, the most vulnerable households will receive at least £1,200.”

    Mr Glover noted that the coverage from the media is driven by fear and panic which is a far cry from the resilience shown by Brits 50 years ago.

    He wrote: “The phlegmatic British coped all right 50 years ago with three-day weeks, frequent blackouts and reading by candlelight.

    “Not ideal, I grant, but endurable. Have we become so infantilised by the State, and so dependent on it, that we can’t improvise?”

    Speaking to GB News host Dan Wootton, Mr Glover said that Martin Lewis is a tool brought out by media outlets, notably the BBC, “when they want to make our flesh creep”.

    Mr Wootton agreed with the comments and both men mentioned that they have admiration for the role that Mr Lewis has played advising the public.

    However, Mr Glover added: “But it’s not clear to me how that qualifies him to be the leading pundit now on the BBC and other channels as well on prophesying doom and gloom and also, worryingly, civil unrest.

    “He’s been going on for months now about how unless the Government takes dramatic action, there’s going to be civil unrest.

    “How does he know? It seems to me to be a dangerous prophecy to make. It doesn’t help anybody.”

    The BBC’s coverage only comes at the energy crisis from one perspective according to Mr Wootton, who likened it to their coverage of lockdown and the Coronavirus pandemic.

    The Kiwi born host added: “In this case, it’s why aren’t you spending more money, it is a very socialist approach that they’re taking to this problem when they quiz ministers.”

    Mr Glover replied: “The BBC’s approach is that the Government must spend much more money and it never seems to occur to them that people to some degree have the independence to deal with these problems ourselves.

    “We use electricity less, turn the lights off, turn the heating off at night, we can use our appliances less.”

    He continued: “All of these things, they may be marginal but if you add them together, they will have some effect and the assumption that it is entirely down to the Government to bail us out is wrong and dangerous.

    “Obviously people in need are going to require help and they’ve already got some help and there will be more help from the Government, but most of us are going to have to help ourselves as well and that is something which is often ignored, not just by the BBC but by Martin Lewis.”

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Politics 'He'll conspire to reverse Brexit!' Sunak vows to see off Starmer in plea to Tory members