The Sun’s political editor Harry Cole has pulled out of hosting tonight’s The Sun Showdown debate featuring the two Tory leadership hopefuls after receiving a negative Covid test – which he said was the first time he had been struck by the virus.
“Disaster strikes,” he wrote on Twitter, saying he was “gutted to miss it” but that Kate McCann, Talk TV’s political editor, would “ace it”.
More from the morning broadcast rounds here:
Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury and a supporter of Liz Truss, has said the 7% mortgage interest rates figure brought up in the debate by Rishi Sunak “is not part of Liz Truss’s plans”.
He told Sky News it is not linked to Truss’s tax plans, adding that she does not agree with Sunak that her proposals will result in the base interest rate being pushed up to 7%.
I think it’s really important to say that two targeted interventions on tax – the first are in terms of reversing the national insurance rise of a few weeks ago, and then cancelling an increase in corporation tax that isn’t even in effect yet, it’s due to come into effect next spring – there’s no evidence I can see that that would be inflationary.
I think it’s instead about supporting jobs and families at a time when we know there is a lot of hardship out there, we know the tax burden is really very high.
He said it is “absolutely critical” that people get behind Ms Truss’s vision for a pro-growth strategy “because that is what the country needs”.
Last night Tory leadership candidates Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak clashed in a fierce TV debate over tax cuts, China and inflation.
This morning, politicians have been sharing their views. One of Truss’ supporters, Simon Clarke, chief secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News there had been “aggressive moments”, while conceding that the overall tenor had been “respectful”.
I think there were some pretty aggressive moments at the outset from Rishi towards Liz in terms of interrupting her as she tried to set out her case, but by and large I think the debate was held in a reasonable spirit reflecting, obviously, the importance of the issues.
Labour leader Keir Starmer’s appraisal to BBC Breakfast was more damning:
I watched as much as I could bear of it, because it showed just the two contenders taking lumps out of each other, talking over each other, talking about clothing and earrings instead of the health service.
So if ever there was an example of a party that is absolutely lost the plot, lost any sense of purpose then it was that debate last night.
Meanwhile, MP David Davis dismissed the suggestion that Rishi Sunak was “mansplaining” to Liz Truss as “spin”. He told Sky News: “Sometimes it’s important to intervene in debates.”
You can read the Guardian’s chief political correspondent Jess Elgot’s full report of the debates here:
Here’s what’s on the agenda for today:
18:00 Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak will face questions from Sun readers on the Sun website and TalkTV.
It’s also Truss’s 47th birthday today.
I’ll be keeping you updated for the rest of the morning on all the key events in government. Do get in touch with anything we’ve missed at firstname.lastname@example.org.