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Race to become next UK PM closer than expected, poll finds


Taxes have dominated the race between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak so far. (Case)

London:

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the favorite to replace British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has a narrower lead over rival Rishi Sunak than previously thought, according to a poll of party members.

Truss is backed by 48% of Conservative Party members compared to 43% for former finance minister Mr Sunak, according to the poll of 807 people by Italian data firm Techne, conducted July 19-27.

It suggests a much tighter race than a previous poll of Tory members conducted by YouGov on July 20-21 which showed Truss with a 24-point lead over Mr Sunak.

Sunak and Truss are taking part in a summer husting tour across Britain for the votes of around 200,000 Tory members, who will select the next Prime Minister with the winner announced on September 5.

Taxes have dominated the race so far. Mr Sunak accused Truss of being ‘dishonest’ with voters with his promises of deep tax cuts upon taking office. Mr Sunak said he would ensure inflation was under control before cutting taxes, which Truss said would push the country into recession.

More than 60% of Conservative members of the Techne poll said Truss had better ideas on taxes than Mr Sunak, and they also backed his plans to fight inflation and manage immigration. However, respondents said Mr Sunak was more trusted to see Brexit through and had better education policies.

John Curtice, a professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde and one of Britain’s leading polling experts, said on Monday he was not sure the race was over.

“We have to bear in mind that since Tory MPs decided this was the contest between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, we’ve had a, I repeat a, opinion poll of people who will actually have a vote,” he told GB News. .

Truss came under fire from the main opposition party and some Tory lawmakers on Tuesday after promising to save billions of pounds a year by matching public sector wages to the cost of living in the area where people work rather than living to have a national wage agreement.

Mr Sunak supporter Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, said he was “speechless” at Truss’ plan.

‘There’s simply no way to do this without a massive pay cut for 5.5 million people, including nurses, police and our armed forces outside London,’ he said .

Labor deputy leader Angela Rayner said Truss’s plans showed the Conservative government’s commitment to reducing inequality between north and south Britain “is dead”.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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