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All five of the Tory leadership candidates have REFUSED to give public sector workers a 5% pay rise – even though that would still be way below inflation.

Penny Mordaunt, Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak, Tom Tugendhat and Kemi Badenoch all rebuffed a plea for more than 5million Brits in a TV debate.

Right-winger Ms Truss said: “I think it is very important that the government does stick to our guns because what we can’t have is a wage-price spiral.”

Fellow right-winger Kemi Badenoch, who wants to shrink the state, added: “I would love to tell all the public sector workers you’ll get 5%, 10%. But the truth is it’s not going to be that easy. We need to create an economy that can fund it and I’m not sure we’re there yet.”

Rishi Sunak and Tom Tugendhat said the government should rely on independent pay review bodies, which are due to give their recommendations for millions of NHS staff, teachers and other workers this week.

And Penny Mordaunt said: “I think this is not the place to be making judgments. We have Pay Review bodies.”

It came as the candidates furiously tore strips off each other over their approaches to the economy – and in an astonishing moment, when they were asked who would give Boris Johnson a job in Cabinet, none put up their hands.

Three of the candidates chose to pose their one sharp question to Mr Sunak – with ex-Treasury minister Kemi Badenoch claiming he “dismissed” fears over Covid loan fraud.

Liz Truss said Rishi Sunak’s policy of raising taxes to their highest in 70 years “is not going to help with economic growth” – and accused him of leading the economy towards recession.

She added she had fought his National Insurance rise in Cabinet at the time.

Rishi Sunak was forced onto the defensive against Penny Mordaunt
All five were asked if they would give Boris Johnson a Cabinet job – and none put up their hands

But Mr Sunak hit back at Ms Truss’s litany of unfunded tax cuts saying: “Something for nothing economics isn’t conservative – it’s socialism.”

Gesturing at the ex-Chancellor, Ms Truss said: “The business as usual economic strategy we have at the moment simply isn’t working.”

She added: “The fact is that raising taxes at this moment will choke off economic growth, it will prevent us getting the revenue we need to pay off the debt.”

Mr Sunak said he already had a plan for growth but Ms Truss snapped: “If Rishi has got this great plan for growth, why haven’t we seen it in his last two and a half years at the Treasury?”

And later, when he made a dig at her past as a Lib Dem and Remainer, she remarked she’d turned Tory because of kids being let down at her school – unlike “your school, Rishi”.

Mr Sunak was also forced to hit back under fire from Penny Mordaunt, saying she had proposed “borrowing to fund our day to day spending”.

Liz Truss laid into Rishi Sunak…
…And Rishi Sunak laid into Liz Truss

Mr Sunak said: “Now, it’s one thing to borrow for long term investment.

“But it’s a whole other thing to put the day to day bills on the country’s credit card and we know how that ends. It’s not just wrong. It’s dangerous.

“And you know what – even Jeremy Corbyn didn’t suggest that we should go that far.”

Tom Tugendhat said candidates who’ve been in government were promising “jam tomorrow when a lot of people need bread today”.

Elsewhere in the debate all five candidates ruled out a snap general election after they win.

And all five said they would not sit down with Vladimir Putin at the G20 – though Ms Truss said she would call out the Russian leader in front of swing countries.

The remaining five Tory leadership candidates were clashing in an ITV debate hosted by veteran presenter Julie Etchingham.

Earlier they took swipes at each other over Brexit, tax cuts and trans rights.

Penny Mordaunt claimed she was the victim of “toxic smears” over her stands on self-identification for trans people.

And an hour before the debate kicked off, Rishi Sunak took a shot at Liz Truss with a video pointing out he had backed Brexit all along – and she hadn’t – and vowing to review 2,400 EU laws in 100 days.

Tory leadership election 2022

Tomorrow one of the five the candidates will be eliminated in an MPs’ ballot announced at 8pm – likely centre-right Tom Tugendhat.

The candidates will then be whittled down to three on Tuesday afternoon, with pundits and bookies expecting Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt to remain.

Those three will then clash in the final MPs’ ballot, with right-wingers urging their colleagues to unite behind Ms Truss to keep Penny Mordaunt off the ticket.

Only two candidates can face a vote by 180,000 Tory members, with the new Prime Minister entering office on September 6.

Earlier the Tory environment chief threatened to resign if the new Prime Minister abandoned key climate pledges.

COP26 President Alok Sharma said “let’s see, shall we?” as he said some of the five candidates for leadership had been “lukewarm”.

The candidates lining up in the Tory leadership debate

All the candidates except Kemi Badenoch support the goal of Net Zero emissions by 2050, but several have dropped policies that would help achieve it, with Liz Truss pledging a pause on green levies on energy bills.

Today Tom Tugendhat pledged a massive expansion of the HS2 rail line beyond Manchester, saying: “I would make sure the HS2 tracks went all the way to Scotland.”

Penny Mordaunt declared she will give Brits extra cost-of-living help this Autumn – but won’t tell anyone what it is until after she’s in No10.

Contender Liz Truss announced billions of pounds of tax cuts in a hustings on Friday, including reversing corporation tax and National Insurance hikes and pausing green levies on energy bills.

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Truss said she would seek to abolish “Stalinist” housing targets if she was elected.

Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat both ruled out leaving the European Convention on Human Rights after Liz Truss left the idea on the table.

Penny Mordaunt and Tom Tugendhat both backed the target to hit Net Zero emissions by 2050 but added caveats.

And Mr Tugendhat slammed the plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda as a “totem” – a symbol – but added it “is necessary”.

Despite pledging a “clean start” he said: “The way it will work is by showing extremely clearly that Britain simply does not tolerate human trafficking and the misery of slavery.”

Ms Mordaunt promised cost of living help in Autumn – though wouldn’t say it was – while Mr Sunak toured a building site in £490 Prada suede loafers.

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