Sajid Javid has endorsed Liz Truss as the next Conservative Party leader in a damaging blow to Rishi Sunak's campaign, saying that Truss is best placed to unite the party at a time when the Tories have been in a very bad place.
Like all Conservative party members, I have to make a choice. My choice is Truss. I think she is best placed to unite the party and she has shown that with the broad support that she gets from MPs, which is why I made that decision. I think she has a better plan for fixing the economy. I think that is going to be absolutely crucial. I think she is the best candidate to beat the SNP and the Labour Lib Dems at the next election.
Javid endorsed Truss last night after a difficult day for Sunak, after a poll by the Conservatives put the foreign secretary 32 points ahead of party members, a day after YouGov showed similar results.
Javid, who worked with Sunak in the Treasury and resigned on the same day, triggered the downfall of Boris Johnson and said Truss was best placed to reunite the party and said a new approach to the economy needed a direct attack on Sunak.
In an article for the Times, Javid wrote:
I fought for strong fiscal rules in our last manifesto. The circumstances we are in need a new approach. By improving trend growth, we are more likely to be fiscally sustainable over the long term. Sunak and Javid were once considered close allies but came into conflict when Javid returned to the cabinet and clashed over health spending.
Javid's article challenged Sunak's claim that tax cuts would be inflationary.
On Times Radio, Javid rejected criticism of Truss'policies and warned that it would be riskier not to cut taxes. He said that there was no risk-free option and any leader to come to terms with this.
It is absolutely essential to fix the economy not just to deal with the cost-of-living challenges but to pay for all the public services that we rely on in the long-term. I think the only way we can improve our growth rate is to improve our long-term growth rate. We need to get back to where we were in the pre-financial crisis, we are a long way off. It can't be business as usual and it does mean when it comes to our fiscal position - balancing the books and things - we have to take a long-term view.
Here is the agenda for the day.
Earning gaps for free school meals recipients in England are reported by the Office for National Statistics on 9.30 am.
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