Liz Truss 'will not' visit Taiwan if made PM
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There's around a month to go before Conservative members vote for the next leader of their party and therefore prime minister so the political atmosphere is febrile - to put it mildly.

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are going head-to-head in hustings around the country this summer like they are doing a crap version of interrailing, but they are also facing scrutiny from top journalists who are picking at the seams of their every policy and promise and watching them try and hold them together.

This brings us to last night when the two contenders were interviewed by Sky News' Kay Burley and members of a live studio audience in the broadcaster's special show, the Battle for Number 10.

There, Truss was quizzed on her numerous U-turns, while Sunak - who is lagging in the polls - was asked whether it was worth him staying in the contest at all.

Who can start ordering soft furnishings to do up Number 10? And who need not bother even walking down Downing Street?

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As ever, we'll be the judge.

Liz Truss

"I represent a rural area, we've got real problems with ambulance waiting times," 1/10

We're not sure admitting you have major problems in your own constituency is the best way to pitch yourself as leader of a whole country, but you do you, Liz.

"It is a problem that this generation of young people end up buying houses much later in their lives than previous generations," 6/10

It certainly is, but while Truss has pledged to make it easier for renters to prove they are ready to take on a mortgage, she also plans to scrap national housebuilding targets on green belt land.

So is she the best person to solve the problem?

"I am someone who is honest and upfront," 2/10

Her scrapped regional pay plans came up again, and Truss stuck to her claim that the media misconstrued the move to weight public sector pay differently in different areas, despite some convincing scrutiny from Burley who picked holes in her story.

Honest? Maybe. Upfront? Maybe.

"No I won't," 0/10

Truss was also given the opportunity to apologise to Nicola Sturgeon, after she suggested she would "ignore" the Scottish leader if she became PM, calling her an "attention-seeker" during hustings in Exeter.

She was heavily criticised for her comments which showed her to have all the tact and diplomacy skills of Jane from Come Dine With Me, but despite this showed she wasn't for turning.

Who needs a strong union anyway?

"I worry about outsourcing ethics to someone else," 3/10

Truss skirted questions about whether she would appoint a new ethics adviser as PM, after Johnson's adviser resigned and Number 10 refused to say whether they'd replace him.

Truss may think she is ethical, but if she thinks it is reasonable to have no checks and balances on her opinions and rely on her own judgement, then that is a bit iffy.


Rishi Sunak

"Everywhere I go in this campaign across the country and have people who come up to me and say 'thank you for that because i saved our business and it saved our jobs,'" 6/10

When Sunak was asked about Eat Out to Help Out potentially contributing to a rise in Covid cases, Sunak said he disagreed with a study making that point and said other countries also experienced another wave of Covid at the same time.

He then went pure cringe when talking about people thanking him for the policy.

"I have seven fillings and that's because i drank an enormous amount of coke when I was a youngster," 0/10

Goodness. Do we really want a PM with such a lax attitude to oral hygiene?

"We need to be tougher on missed appointments," 3/10

Speaking about GP waiting lists, Sunak pitched his plan to charge people £10 for missed appointments.

It has been heavily criticised. The Royal College of GPs pointed out that the plan “would fundamentally change the principle that the NHS is free at the point of use”. It would also add “another layer of bureaucracy to a GP service already drowning in red tape”.

"The lights on the economy are flashing red and the root cause is inflation," 6/10

This is some punch rhetoric and we don't disagree with Sunak that the economy is in tatters. It is just a shame he didn't notice those flashing lights when he was the ACTUAL CHANCELLOR!

"We all say silly things when we're younger," 5/10

Remember that awkward video of Sunak saying he didn't have any working class friends? Well Burley certainly did as she quizzed him on it, causing Sunak to brush it off.


Verdict

It was another punchy set of interviews with Truss and Sunak both doing their best to convince voters that they were the best person for the job.

A lot of time with Truss was spent working out where she actually stands on issues and how she thinks her policies can be delivered. On both, she stumbled a bit.

Sunak, on the other hand, seemed pretty at ease and confident - somewhat surprisingly so given how much he is trailing in the polls. He portrayed himself as an unifying force who was across the detail.

So it is Sunak who won this one, and by a show of hands it seemed the live audience preferred him too. But given polling. it looks like it will be the only part of the election he does win.

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