UK: the duel between Sunak and Truss

After Boris Johnson's resignation as party leader, the 180,000 or so members of the Conservative Party have until September to post their votes to elect a successor who will lead the country. Until then ex-Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and Foreign Minister Liz Truss will engage in a number of TV debates, the first of which took place on Monday. Commentators take stock of the two run-off candidates' performances.

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The Independent (GB) /

Hot air and nothing illuminating

The Independent is disgusted by the TV debate between Sunak and Truss:

“It wasn't just that it was puerile, rude, juvenile, irrelevant and ridiculous. It was all of those things, and usually all of them at once, as well as entirely delusional. Rishi Sunak's going to cause a recession, apparently. Liz Truss is going to pursue policies that will require interest rates to go up to seven per cent, which might not cause a recession but will result in very large numbers of people losing their homes. That's what each of them said about the other, anyway. And neither of them can possibly have a clue who's right ... It's all unfalsifiable and so it can rattle on for six more weeks, with a lot more heat and precisely no more light.”

The Times (GB) /

Truss's skillful twisting of the narrative

Liz Truss's controversial tactics could well make her Britain's next prime minister, The Times believes:

“The astonishing thing is that a foreign secretary who has served so faithfully three successive prime ministers - Cameron, May and Johnson - should seek to present herself as some kind of restless insurgent taking on a failed system - and get away with it. Even more audacious is the way Truss has flipped Brexit upside down. ... She makes her opponent look like the smug (and he's not) personification of the Remain campaign she supported at the time. Much as Vote Leave accused Remainers of scaremongering about the costs of quitting the EU, Truss has cast Sunak as the complacent advocate of an elite economic orthodoxy.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Labour chuckling under its breath

Even the winner of a dirty Tory duel will not emerge unscathed, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung predicts:

“After a decade in power and the turmoil of the Johnson years the Tory party is looking weary. ... They don't have much time before the general election in 2024 to win back the voters' trust. If the summer duel exhausts itself in ideological trench warfare and personal attacks, the main beneficiary will be the opposition. The Labour Party is already using the footage of the TV debates to produce a barrage of videos with which to batter the Tories.”