British Conservative frontrunner Liz Truss won another heavyweight endorsement on Monday as Tory members began a month-long vote to decide the next occupant of 10 Downing Street.
Truss’s backward rival Rishi Sunak set out to make up lost ground with plans for future tax cuts – and potentially funding a future Women’s Football World Cup in Britain after England’s “lioness” won the European Championship.
The truce featured in Sunday’s final against Germany, and the first England football team’s victory in a major tournament since 1966 wiped Mr Sunak’s long-term tax cut plan from all front pages except The Daily Telegraph.
Conservative Party contenders went head-to-head in a host of members in the southwestern city of Exeter on Monday – the second of 12 such events before the winner was announced on 5 September.
Mr Sunak, a Polish debater, needs to regain momentum after a truce blasted into a strong voting lead on a platform of immediate tax cuts to address Britain’s worst life crisis in generations.
Nadim Zhawi, Chancellor of the Exchequer, joined other veterans in Boris Johnson’s cabinet to back the foreign secretary against his predecessor’s craze at the Treasury.
“Liz understands that the status quo is not an option in times of crisis,” Zahvi wrote in the Telegraph, attacking Mr Sunak’s plan to prioritize fighting inflation, before later cutting taxes.
“We need a ‘booster’ approach to the economy, not a ‘doomster’, to address the cost of living and challenges globally,” the new chancellor said.
Mr Sunak’s resignation from scandal-tainted Johnson’s cabinet helped spark a ministerial exodus that forced the prime minister to oust him last month.
As he began receiving postal and online ballots, a sizable chunk of the nearly 200,000 Tory members called to complain against Mr Sunak – one shared by Johnson.
As the Sunday Times reports, the prime minister is not formally taking sides, but has told aides that he would like to offer his successor a few words of advice, “whoever he is”.
‘Distasteful, even dangerous’
Despite the support of the likes of Zahavi, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, former Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis and Tory centrist Tom Tugendhat, the truce has warned against complacency.
Leading up to the election to Exeter, the foreign secretary has noticeably improved her ever-robotic public delivery – most notably seen in a 2014 speech when she was environment secretary.
Returning to his former territory, Remener-Brexit enthusiasts pledged over the weekend to “liberate” farmers from EU rules to improve the UK’s food security.
The truss also promised to tackle labor shortages in agriculture, partly due to post-Brexit restrictions on immigration, which have forced UK farmers to rot fruit in fields and kill healthy pigs.
And the truss unveiled a plan on education that said all school students with top grades would automatically receive invitations to apply to Oxford, Cambridge or other prestigious universities.
Truss and Mr Sunak both went to Oxford – in his case after attending a state school in the northern city of Leeds that he said let him down for failing to push too many students to excel.
Both claimants have stressed the need for unity after the election went out of the way, knowing the opposition Labor Party is riding high in the polls amid economic woes and Johnson’s political turmoil.
But his supporters are not holding back, especially Truss’s belligerent ally Nadine Dorries.
The Culture Secretary retweeted an image depicting Johnson as Julius Caesar, being stabbed in the back by Mr Sunak.
Last year, Conservative MP David Ames was stabbed to death by a follower of the ISIS group.
Given this, Doris’ retweet was “distasteful and even dangerous at work,” craze supporter Greg Hands told Sky News.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)