Truss wrongly says Cheltenham hustings are in Derbyshire instead of Gloucestershire
The Telegraph

Last night saw the third Tory hustings between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in the race to become the leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister.

The two went head to head again at The Telegraph’s leadership hustings in Cheltenham in the sixth of 12 hustings events for party members taking place across the country.

Ahead of the announcement on 5 September, in which Tory party members voted for our next PM, the two remaining candidates in the debate faced off to win votes.

But who won the latest husting?

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Liz Truss

After introducing herself to the audience, Truss announced she had a “dark secret” she wanted to share.

“I have a dark secret… before [joining the Conservative], I was a member of the Liberal Democrats. Look, I know I have sinned, but it was a teenage mistake.” - 3/10

Truss also went on to claim she learned their “dark secrets and dirty tricks”, suggesting they use bar charts with fake numbers and tell one thing to one person and another thing to someone else…because the Conservatives are such a pillar of integrity and honesty.

It’s all well and good trying to use humour to break the ice, but it was an honestly embarrassing attempt from Truss considering her party’s recent and consecutive scandals.

“I’d unleash the full potential of Brexit.” - 2/10

Given the state of the country after our departure from the European Union, Truss’s remark sounded more like a threat than anything else. She has previously, and extremely dubiously, claimed that Brexit has caused no disruption to explain her reason for switching from a Remainer to a Brexiteer after the vote.

She must have forgotten about the massive gridlocked queues at the border of Dover just last month.

“I think one of the most depressing sights, when you’re driving through England, is seeing fields that should be full of crops or livestock full of solar panels.” - 4/10

If this is one of the most depressing things you’ve seen then you’ve probably lived a very sheltered life. We don’t know about you, but seeing people’s homes flooded due to more extreme weather caused by climate change is much more saddening than some solar panels that are actually contributing to the solution.

“We need to get on with delivering the small modular nuclear reactors which we produce here in Derbyshire.” - 0/10

Given the hustings where she made this comment were held in Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, this was quite an awkward gaffe.

“One thing I absolutely don’t support is a windfall tax. I think it’s a Labour idea, it’s all about bashing business and it sends the wrong message to international investors and to the public.” - 3/10

At a time when energy bills are sky-rocketing while energy giants are making $3 billion in profit, Truss has dismissed the idea of a windfall tax on energy companies that could raise £4 billion to help struggling families.

Instead, Truss said she wants to be on the side of those who “work hard” and are “enterprising”. Enterprising like the private companies who got handed billions of pounds worth of Covid contracts allegedly for being mates with a Conservative?

Rishi Sunak

“Just the other day, this lady came to me and she said, ‘You and Boris are very different aren’t you?’... She said, “He looks like he’s lost his hairbrush but you look like your mum’s brushed your hair.’” - 2/10

Like Truss, Sunak made a similarly awkward entrance onto the stage with this bizarre anecdote. We presume it was meant to be funny but judging by the muted crowd reaction, some of whom are still ardent Johnson fans, it didn’t hit as he expected.

“That’s not right. It’s not responsible, and it is certainly not Conservative.” - 3/10

Sunak made the comments in a dig at Truss’s tax cuts promise, saying policies that worsen inflation, make it last longer and then ask “our kids and grandkids” to pay for it is improper. But given the party’s conduct recently, the words “right” and “responsible” don’t deserve to be in the same sentence as “Conservative”.

“Sadly, you’re not going to get rid of me that easily” - 5/10

The issue of Sunak’s American green card reared its head again as he was asked by host Camilla Tominey if he had “aspirations” in the States were he to lose the leadership race.

To be fair to Sunak, it’s about the only joke of his that landed with any sort of success the whole night.

“I’m not going to apologise about what my parents did for me. You must be joking.” - 2/10

The fact that Sunak is a private school boy being brought up in a discussion about education and opportunities seemed to bring defensiveness out of him prompting possibly his most disgusted response of the night. Unsupringly, it gained rapturous applause from the Tory audience.

“I personally believe very strongly in high standards…Trust, integrity and decency belong at the heart of politics and I will lead from the front.” - 1/10

We’ll all just collectively forget about the pesky little fine he got for attending a lockdown party then, shall we?

Verdict

While both candidates aren’t who we’d pick to lead the country against a backdrop of war, inflation and a cost of living crisis, former Chancellor Sunak did at least provide tangible solutions to the nation's problems.

It remains to be seen how the six remaining hustings will go, but hopefully next time Truss will remember where she is.

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