Truss and Sunak trade blows in acrimonious first TV debate

Leadership candidates ignored calls from fellow Conservatives not to ‘tarnish the brand’ as they wrangled over tax cuts, inflation and relations with China

The battle to become the UK’s next prime minister descended into fierce clashes on Monday night as Rishi Sunak launched repeated attacks on the economic policies of the favourite Liz Truss in their first head-to-head TV debate.

The two Conservative leadership hopefuls traded blows over tax cuts, China and inflation, with the former chancellor Sunak accusing the foreign secretary of seeking “a short-term sugar rush” by cutting national insurance.

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