Accusations, recriminations, increasingly personal criticism. The first face-to-face debate on television between the two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson was a confrontation of two opposing views of the economic policy that the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom must implement. The former head of Finance, Rishi Sunak, attacked the intention of her rival, the Foreign Minister, Liz Truss , to immediately lower taxes. “He has promised nearly £40bn of unfunded tax cuts, £40bn of debt. That is the credit card of the country. They are our children and grandchildren and everyone here. those who are going to have to assume the account”. Sunak warned. that the measure would imply a rise in inflation and interest rates, which “would increase mortgages by thousands of pounds and contribute to the misery of millions of people”.< /strong>Truss accused him of of having raised taxes to their highest level in the last 70 years and of leading the country into recession. defended his economic policy, ready, he affirmed, to “take advantage of the opportunities after Brexit” and struck a low blow to his rival by stating that her proposal & ldquo; along the same lines as that of the former Labor Finance Minister Gordon Brown”.
The debate organized and televised live by the BBC, counted with a studio audience comprised solely of conservative affiliates. The place chosen for its celebration was Stoke-on-Trent, in the Midlands region, one of the traditional Labor places that the Conservatives won for the first time in the last election and that they will have to retain if they want to maintain the absolute majority that they achieved with Johnson. Neither of the two candidates scored a hit. a decisive blow to the opponent. A flash survey by the Opinium firm placed his interventions on a par. “Both are the architects of the lack of control in which the country is plunged”, was the verdict of the Labor leader, Keir Starmer .
The 4000 euro suit
Apart from the economy, in the confrontation there was talk of He briefly discussed future relations with China, the conflict in Ukraine, and Boris Johnson, whom Truss defended. The mistakes you made “they shouldn't have cost him his job”, he affirmed, a sentiment that harmonizes with that of thousands of furious militants with his departure for which they blame Sunak. The candidate's personal wealth is another argument used against him, as if millionaires now bother conservatives. In the debate, more minutes were devoted to talking about the Sunak clothingthan of climate change. A leading figure in the Truss support team, the current Culture Minister, Nadine Dorries, he reproached him. He campaigned in a €4,000 tailored suit and €500 Prada shoes, compared to the candidate's €5 earrings. There were also reproaches between both contenders about the respective schools in which they had studied in childhood (Sunak's private, Truss's public) and the position of each one during the Brexit campaign ( Truss defended remaining in Europe).
Calls for moderation in what has come to be known as the “blue vs. blue” (“blue-on-blue”) have been in vain. So much is the disdain and resentment that reconciling and integrating the two sides of the party into a future government may be impossible.
Very small percentage
Truss starts as the outstanding favorite in the polls and Sunak a more forceful tone in his interventions, repeatedly interrupting his rival, aware of the urgency of gaining ground. In a few days, between 160,000 and 200,000 members of the Conservative Party will begin voting by mail. That tiny percentage of citizens, in a country of 67 million inhabitants, will decide the next prime minister.