Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak (pictured with his family) has hit out at Liz Truss over her previous stance as a Remainer during a speech in Grantham, the birthplace of Thatcher

Rishi Sunak gives speech to Tory faithful in Margaret Thatcher’s hometown

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Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak has hit out at his rival Liz Truss over her previous stance as a Remainer and her tax policies.

In a speech delivered in the birthplace of Margaret Thatcher, the former Chancellor promised plans to tackle NHS backlogs, driven in part by a so-called ‘vaccines style’ taskforce before promising to ‘deliver on Brexit’.

‘If we are to deliver on the promise of Brexit, then we’re going to need someone who actually understands Brexit, believes in Brexit, voted for Brexit,’ he told a crowd at a campaign event, to cheers.

Mr Sunak, in a speech punctuated by frequent applause and which included repeated warnings about inflation, also said: ‘We have to tell the truth about the cost of living’.

‘Rising inflation is the enemy that makes everyone poorer and puts at risk your homes and your savings. And we have to tell the truth about tax.’

‘I will not put money back in your pocket knowing that rising inflation will only whip it straight back out.’

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak (pictured with his family) has hit out at Liz Truss over her previous stance as a Remainer during a speech in Grantham, the birthplace of Thatcher

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak (pictured with his family) has hit out at Liz Truss over her previous stance as a Remainer during a speech in Grantham, the birthplace of Thatcher

He called for the need for radicalism in politics, telling the crowd: ‘Real change is there, I swear it.’

Earlier in his speech, Sunak stressed the need for ‘moral courage’ in politicians. Moral courage,’ he said, was rare in politics.

He praised the ‘moral courage to rise above the smears and the hatred, no matter how baseless or unfair.’

‘We can better and we will be better,’ he told an audience at a campaign event.

Making a point: The former Chancellor was speaking at Vaculug tyre specialists at Gonerby Hill Foot, Grantham

Making a point: The former Chancellor was speaking at Vaculug tyre specialists at Gonerby Hill Foot, Grantham

Making a point: The former Chancellor was speaking at Vaculug tyre specialists at Gonerby Hill Foot, Grantham

He was with wife Akshata (right) and daughters Krishna and Anushka for the engagement

He was with wife Akshata (right) and daughters Krishna and Anushka for the engagement

He was with wife Akshata (right) and daughters Krishna and Anushka for the engagement

Both Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak’s campaign for Number 10 continues this weekend, with the leadership rivals offering eye-catching policy proposals to entice Tory party members.

Foreign Secretary Truss has vowed to review all EU laws retained after Brexit by the end of next year in a ‘red tape bonfire’ if she becomes prime minister, and to scrap or replace those that are deemed to hinder UK growth.

The whittling down of the Tory leadership contenders to just two this week marked the beginning of the next stage of the contest to replace Boris Johnson, with Truss and Sunak now tasked with wooing the grassroots Tory party members who will vote for the next prime minister.

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Ms Truss, the former Remainer turned Brexiteer flagbearer, said that if elected she will set a ‘sunset’ deadline for every piece of EU-derived business regulation and assess whether it stimulates domestic growth or investment by the end of 2023.

Industry experts would be tasked to create ‘better home-grown laws’ to replace those that fail the test, if they are not ditched altogether.

Ms Truss said: ‘As prime minister I will unleash the full potential of Britain post-Brexit, and accelerate plans to get EU law off our statute books so we can boost growth and make the most of our new-found freedoms outside of the EU.’

Meanwhile in the Lincolnshire town of Grantham, Mr Sunak stressed his Thatcherite credentials.

Ms Truss, the former Remainer, said that if elected she will set a 'sunset' deadline for every piece of EU-derived business regulation and assess whether it stimulates domestic growth

Ms Truss, the former Remainer, said that if elected she will set a 'sunset' deadline for every piece of EU-derived business regulation and assess whether it stimulates domestic growth

Ms Truss, the former Remainer, said that if elected she will set a ‘sunset’ deadline for every piece of EU-derived business regulation and assess whether it stimulates domestic growth

Warning against ‘privatisation by the back door’, he announced plans to eliminate one-year NHS waiting times six months earlier than planned by September 2024, and to get overall numbers falling by next year.

‘Waiting times for everything from major surgery to a visit to the GP are at record levels.

‘Millions of people are waiting for life-saving cancer screening, major surgeries and consultations,’ Mr Sunak will say as the campaign to win over Tory party members begins in earnest.

KEY DATES IN TORY LEADERSHIP RACE

The Tory leadership race is hotting up, with Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak pulling out all the stops as they go for the top job in politics.

Having fought off their competitors this week, the final two candidates are each set to try and persuade Conservative party members that they should be the one to become the next prime minister.

Both face a number of debates in the coming weeks.

Here is a timetable for the rest of the leadership contest.

July onwards: Hustings are to take place around the country over the summer to help party members determine their choice for the new Conservative leader.

Bob Blackman, joint executive secretary of the 1922 Committee, said it was a “condition of nomination” for candidates to agree that they would contest the ballot of party members if they reached the final two.

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This is to avoid a situation as in 2016, when Dame Andrea Leadsom dropped out, handing the leadership unchallenged to Theresa May before party members were given the opportunity to vote.

July 23: Mr Sunak visits the Lincolnshire town of Grantham, stressing his Thatcherite credentials in a speech in the hometown of the former Conservative prime minister.

Meanwhile, Ms Truss meets Conservative members at association events in Kent.

July 25: BBC debate, Our Next Prime Minister, takes place at 9pm, in front of an audience in Stoke-on-Trent.

July 26: The Sun’s Showdown: The Fight for No10 airs on the Sun website and TalkTV at 6pm, in front of a studio audience.

August 4: Sky News hosts a debate featuring questions from a studio audience live from 8pm on Sky News channel 501, across Sky News’ digital channels and streamed on YouTube.

August 5: The expected deadline for Tory members to receive postal ballots.

September 5: New Conservative leader announced. The new prime minister will be announced when MPs return to Westminster from their summer break.

September 6: Boris Johnson to quit as Prime Minister to allow his successor to take over.

‘People shouldn’t have to make a choice with a gun to their head.

‘If we do not immediately set in train a radically different approach the NHS will come under unsustainable pressure and break.’

It is a theme that Mr Sunak focuses on in an interview with The Times newspaper, where he says that he would put the UK on a ‘crisis footing’ from his first day as prime minister.

The former chancellor tells the paper that the UK needs to be on a ‘crisis footing’ to deal with inflation and a host of other challenges.

‘They’re challenges that are staring us in the face and a business-as-usual mentality isn’t going to cut it in dealing with them. So from day one of being in office I’m going to put us on a crisis footing.

‘Having been inside government I think the system just isn’t working as well as it should,’ he is quoted as saying.

‘And the challenges that I’m talking about, they’re not abstract, they’re not things that are coming long down the track.’

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, a supporter of Mr Sunak, said the former chancellor had set out a ‘credible’ plan on the economy and on the NHS.

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He did not rule out someone from the private sector taking charge of a ‘vaccines style’ taskforce to tackle the NHS backlog, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I don’t think Rishi has set out who that would be. One thing we learned is that you can bring people in, either from across government where we’ve got excellent officials, or people with experience, and particularly the hybrid experience.’

Offering chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance as an example of someone with private and public sector experience, he said: ‘I think actually, capability matters more than whether you’re public or private sector in this particular context, in order to drive up outcomes for patients.’

In newspaper interviews this weekend, both candidates also double-down on the economic policies that have so far provided the major dividing line of the campaign.

‘What I worry about is the inflation we’re seeing now becoming entrenched for longer,’ Mr Sunak says.

‘That’s the risk we need to guard against. If that happens, it will be incredibly damaging for millions across the UK. The cost for families is going to be enormous.’

He also suggests that the Foreign Secretary’s plans could see interest rates rise, while rejecting the suggestion he is running a so-called ‘project fear’.

But in an interview with the Telegraph, Ms Truss robustly defended her economic vision.

Describing herself as an ‘insurgent’ who wants to change things, she tells the newspaper that she wants the UK to become a ‘high growth, high productivity, powerhouse’.

On her plan to bring down inflation, she tells the paper: ‘I believe it is right that inflation will come down because inflation was caused by a global supply shock. But it was exacerbated by monetary policy.

‘What I have said is in the future I’m going to look at the Bank of England’s mandate. It is set by the Treasury. It was last set by Gordon Brown in 1997.’

Pressed on her thinking on the Bank of England’s mandate, she says: ‘What I want to do is look at best practice from central banks around the world, look at their mandates, and make sure we have a tight enough focus on the money supply and on inflation.’

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