The former Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary are likely to clash over the economy and tax cuts after Governor Andrew Bailey forecast that the country would enter the longest recession since the financial crisis.
The Tory leadership hopefuls traded barbs in the run-up to Thursday’s debate, with Mr Sunak warning that his opponent’s plans to increase borrowing would “make high inflation and high prices last for longer, making everyone poorer”.
Ms Truss countered by saying the bleak forecast “underlines the need for the bold economic plan”, with Mr Sunak instead pledging to get inflation under control before enacting major tax cuts.
The Foreign Secretary, the bookmakers’ favourite to become the next prime minister, has also pledged to re-examine the Bank’s mandate to make sure it has a “tight enough focus on the money supply and on inflation”. One of her allies said she would consider whether the current arrangements are “fit for purpose”.
Truss: Tories need to keep our promises
Liz Truss is asked how she will repair the party’s reputation.
She says that the best way to improve the Tories’ credibility is to “keep our promises” and deliver on Brexit freedoms.
“I will always make sure I appoint people into my Cabinet on the basis of merit. What people want us to do is deliver and we need to get started straight away.”
Truss: BoE forecast ‘worrying but not inevitable’
Beginning the debate, Liz Truss says that the Bank of England’s dire economic forecast is “worrying, but not inevitable”.
“We can change the outcome and we can make it more likely that the economy grows,” she says.
She mentions that she will immediately reduce the National Insurance rise and keep corporation tax low.
“Now is the time to be bold,” she says, adding that working people must not be “burdened” by regulation and taxes.
Pictured: Sunak and Truss begin debate with Kay Burley
Good evening and welcome to the Evening Standard’s live coverage of tonight’s Tory leadership debate.
Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss will be going head-to-head in just under ten minutes – we’ll have all the latest here.