Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were branded awkward ‘waxworks’ amid a ‘painful’ PM candidate debate this evening.
In it, a fumbling Struss admitted she was “not prepared” while many branded her deliverance “weird” and “awkward.
It comes after a grim declaration from foreign Secretary Ms Truss in which she vowed she would send MORE migrants to Africa, under the Tory government’s controversial and widely derided Rwanda asylum scheme.
Former Chancellor Mr Sunak also defended the policy – despite the UK standing to lose millions of pounds if it doesn’t go ahead – and vowed to introduce a cap on refugee numbers if he becomes PM.
He was unable to give clear assurances his plans were legal on a campaign visit today after Team Truss claimed his suggestion asylum seekers could be housed on cruise ships would break the law.
Pressed if this was legal, he said: “What we do need to do is be very honest about the challenges that the ECHR, these European laws, have on our ability to grapple with this problem.
“I’ve said that no options should be off the table. We have a new British Bill of Rights that’s being introduced into parliament that I believe will help solve the challenges.
“And I’ve put some other further points in the plan today saying how we could do things differently from the European Convention to strengthen our ability to deport people who shouldn’t be here and protect our borders.
“I want people to know this is a very serious issue. It is a priority for me. It’s a priority for the country.”
It means the UK will crack down further on illegal migration in the coming months regardless of who enters Downing Street, after both rivals pledged fresh measures to tighten British borders.
On a weekend in which the two rival camps traded blows over tax cuts and economic credibility, both the Foreign Secretary and the former chancellor appeared united on the need to toughen up UK policy on migrants as Ms Truss promised an expanded Border Force and Mr Sunak committed to an annual cap on the number of refugees.
The campaign so far had seen both candidates re-commit to the Government’s controversial Rwanda asylum scheme, over which Britain currently stands to lose the £120 million it has paid to Rwanda if the plan to deport migrants is ruled unlawful by the courts.
Liz Truss last night accused of being “cynical and reckless” as she pledged an EU “red tape bonfire” to impress Tory Brexiteers.
The Foreign Secretary, a Remainer in the 2016 referendum, claimed to be the “best candidate to deliver on the opportunities of Brexit ”.
But it is feared she will deliver a hammer blow to workers’ rights.
Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: “Holiday pay, equal pay for women and men, safe limits on working hours and parental leave are just a few of the rights underpinned by retained EU law.
“These are all essential, not a ‘nice to have’.” She accused Truss of “ideological posturing at the expense of ordinary working people”.
Latest polling suggests Truss is supported by 62% of party members compared to Rishi Sunak ’s 38%.
She said the Government would study more than 2,000 pieces of legislation to decide what to scrap. She said: “As Prime Minister I will unleash the full potential of Britain post-Brexit, and accelerate plans to get EU law off our statute books.”