Sajid Javid backs Liz Truss for PM as he takes swipe at Rishi Sunak's tax plans

3 August 2022, 18:23 | Updated: 3 August 2022, 23:49

Sajid Javid has backed Liz Truss to become Britain's next prime minister, in a huge blow to Rishi Sunak.
Sajid Javid has backed Liz Truss to become Britain's next prime minister, in a huge blow to Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Former Tory leadership candidate Sajid Javid has backed Liz Truss to become Britain's next prime minister, slamming Rishi Sunak's approach by insisting "tax cuts now are essential".

Writing in the Times, Mr Javid said Ms Truss was "best placed" to "reunite" the Conservative party and to "restore a sense of purpose".

He hit out at the "bruising" and "unpleasant" leadership contest as he put his weight behind Ms Truss, attacking Mr Sunak's policy on taxes.

"Over the long term we are more likely to be fiscally sustainable by improving trend growth," the former health secretary said.

Read more: James O'Brien on Liz Truss' 'incompetence, cowardice, and dishonesty' in pay U-turn

Read more: Liz Truss widens Tory lead over Rishi Sunak despite U-turn over civil service pay cuts

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"Only by getting growth back to pre-financial crisis levels can we hope to support the high-quality public services people rightly expect. Some claim that tax cuts can only come once we have growth.

"I believe the exact opposite - tax cuts are a prerequisite for growth. Of course we need more than that, especially significant supply side reform, but tax cuts now are essential. There are no risk-free options in government. However, in my view, not cutting taxes carries an even greater risk."

Mr Javid, who insisted both are credible candidates, said the front-runner was "the best of Thatcher and Reagan".

He said her wealth of experience and time served in Government will aid Ms Truss if she is to become Britain's next leader.

Liz Truss's campaign has said Mr Javid's backing of her for the Tory leadership is a sign she is uniting the party.

Read more: James O'Brien skewers Sunak over plans to brand those 'vilifying' UK as 'extremists'

Sajid Javid has backed Liz Truss.
Sajid Javid has backed Liz Truss. Picture: Alamy

A spokeswoman said: "Having worked closely with him for years in Cabinet, Liz is delighted to have Sajid on her team. We need the best players on the pitch and his experience provides yet another boost to our campaign.

"His support signals that Liz is bringing the party together and they're uniting behind her bold plan to cut taxes, grow the economy and deliver for the country."

Mr Javid's endorsement came ahead of tonight's hustings in Cardiff, where the two candidates made their case for why they should become leader and prime minister.

During the event in Wales, frontrunner Ms Truss described Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford as a "low energy version of Jeremy Corbyn" days after criticising Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon and calling her an "attention seeker".

She said: "The fact is there are too many people in this country who are ashamed of our history, who talk our country down, who say the best days are behind us. They are completely wrong. I'm afraid one of them is Mark Drakeford."

Referring to his decision in 2019 to scrap the M4 relief road, a dual three-lane motorway south of Newport which was proposed to relieve congestion, she added: "Whether it's stopping the M4 relief road, whether it's whacking a tax on our tourist industry, I will crack down on his negativity about Wales and about the United Kingdom.

"With delivering for people on the ground, with making a real difference to people's lives, we will be able to take on the plastic patriot Sir Keir Starmer and we'll be able to take on the low energy version of Jeremy Corbyn that is Mark Drakeford."

Asked during the hustings if she would ignore Mr Drakeford like Ms Sturgeon, Ms Truss said: "I think it's a very different situation in Scotland and Wales.

"Because what's happening in Scotland is the entire resources of the Scottish Government are being used to run essentially an independence campaign, and I think that is grossly irresponsible.

"The Scottish Government are not delivering for the people of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is spending her time agitating for independence."

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