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The UK leader’s favorite Truss stumbles on a plan to cut wages

LONDON –

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has cemented her lead in the race for Prime Minister Boris Johnson by winning a valuable endorsement from a former rival. But the race remains volatile, and on Tuesday Truss was forced to drop a proposal to cut some public sector wages after the idea was scorned by his Conservative colleagues.

Truss, who is running against former Treasurer Rishi Sunak, said on Monday she would reduce wages for civil servants living outside London, in cheaper parts of the country, as part of a “war”. against waste in the public sector. She said the move could save taxpayers up to £8.8 billion ($10.8 billion) a year, but critics say it means slashing people’s wages at the time. Food and fuel prices are on the rise.

Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of the deprived Tees Valley region in the northeast of England, said he was “really speechless” at the idea.

“There’s simply no way you can do this without massive pay cuts for the 5.5 million people including our nurses, police and armed forces outside of London. we worked in places like Teesside will be undone,” he wrote on Twitter.

Before noon, Truss had abandoned the plan, with her campaign saying “current public sector wages will be fully maintained” and there would be no regional variation.

Truss and Sunak are vying to replace Johnson, who stepped down as Tory leader last month after months of ethics scandals.

Truss appears to have more momentum, winning the endorsement of influential figures in the Conservative Party including highly regarded Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, who was a candidate. leader before being kicked out of the race last month.

Truss got an extra boost when former rival Penny Mordaunt backed her on Monday. Commerce Secretary Mordaunt, a rising star of the party who made it to the final three in the leadership race, said Truss was a “hopeful candidate” and had an “apple economic plan”. violence our nation needs.”

The majority of Britain’s 67 million people have no say in choosing their next prime minister. Around 180,000 Conservative party members across the UK will vote over the next few weeks in a party leadership contest. The winner will be announced on September 5 and will automatically become prime minister. The new leader will not face voters until the next general election, scheduled to be held in 2024.

The candidates are making sweeping policy proposals in a bid to win party votes, and their promises are attracting increasing scrutiny as the summer-long election rolls around .

Truss has promised to cut taxes within weeks of taking office, to “unfreeze” British agriculture by cutting regulations and to stand up to the European Union by contesting the plans. breach of the legally binding withdrawal agreement the UK signed with the bloc as it remains in 2020.

Truss angered Scottish nationalists by saying she would refuse to allow a new referendum on Scottish independence. That is in line with current government policy, but Truss has gone as far as to call pro-independence Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon “an eye-catcher” that should be ignored.

First Deputy Minister John Swinney said Scots would be “concerned, and in many cases offended” by the comments.

Sunak was also accused of making empty arguments designed to appeal to the party’s right-wing establishment, such as a vow to end “wake-up nonsense,” in a press release. mentions debates about historic statues, trans-rights, and free speech on universities.

Economically, Sunak is running as a seasoned veteran who can guide the country through the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

He accused Truss of peddling “fairytales” with her tax-cutting scheme.

Sunak said it was important to get inflation under control first, but was accused of deliberately contravening by promising to cut the basic income tax from 20% to 16% by 2029.

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