A new poll of Tory party members has found a majority believe Liz Truss convincingly beat Sunak in last night’s BBC debate in another setback for the ex-chancellor’s chances of becoming Prime Minister.
A YouGov poll today found 50 per cent of members thought Truss won and 39 per cent though Sunak won the fiery debate, while the foreign secretary also had a 19-point advantage on the question of who is more likeable.
The poll of Tory grassroots members, who will decide the winner of the leadership contest, also saw Truss win on the question of taxation by 51 to 42 per cent and on cost of living by 55 to 34 per cent.
The two will face-off in another debate tonight at 6pm on TalkTV.
The party’s 170,000 members will start voting next week on who to make party leader and UK Prime Minister, with an announcement to be made on 5 September.
The candidates’ respective economic plans have been the largest issue of the campaign, with Truss vowing to cut taxes by £34bn immediately if she is made Prime Minister.
Sunak has said Truss’ plans are inflationary and will only lead to the Bank of England hiking interest rates further – a view supported by many mainstream economists.
The former chancellor said Truss’ plans would “tip millions of people into misery” and lead to an electoral defeat for the Tories.
Truss said Sunak’s decisions to raise taxes post-Covid to their highest level in seven decades would lead to a recession.
Truss is the frontrunner in the campaign with bookmakers, after a series of earlier polls of Tory members also put her out in front over Sunak.
The contest has turned particularly nasty in the last few days, with Truss supporter Nadine Dorries mocking Sunak for his expensive clothing choices – an attack labelled as “puerile” and “embarrassing” by Tory MP Johnny Mercer.
Sunak supporter Claire Coutinho today told the BBC: “It’s a debate, a debate on an issue which is really, really important for the country and the thing that I will say is we have seen some very personal attacks from the other side and what I am quite comfortable and I think what people are comfortable with is us having different views on issues which are really important, the policies of the day and not so much of the personal stuff that we are seeing from the other side.”