Leeds Tory leadership hustings: Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to face off as Conservative members choose new prime minister

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are poised to go head to head at a Tory leadership hustings in Leeds as the race for the top job intensifies.

It is the first of 12 sessions for the party faithful to quiz the final two candidates before voting for the next party leader and prime minister closes on September 2.

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Leeds announced as first place to host Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss leadership hust...

The two-hour hustings will be broadcast on LBC radio from 7pm and hosted by presenter Nick Ferrari.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss in Leeds city centre ahead of the first official Tory leadership hustings. Picture: James Hardisty

Ms Truss was hoping to shore up support from Conservative members in the city by fully backing Northern Powerhouse Rail and pledging to “turbocharge investment” into the north of England.

Visiting the city this morning, she insisted that she is “completely committed” to her plan for the new high-speed rail connections, which were originally announced by Boris Johnson but subsequently scaled back.

She told reporters: “I grew up in Leeds, I know how poor the transport is and frankly, it’s not got much better since I was a teenager getting the bus into Leeds city centre.

“What I want to see is really fantastic rail services, better roads so people are able to get into work.

“I’m clear it is absolutely crucial for the future of the north of England.”

She also promised to “fix the Treasury’s funding formula” if she gets the keys to No 10 to make sure the region gets a “fairer share” of resources.

The Foreign Secretary’s promises of vast tax cuts have helped her come out ahead in opinion polls and member surveys.

However, new YouGov polling suggests Mr Sunak has a significant edge over his rival among swing voters, even as both candidates suffer from “considerable” unpopularity with the public as a whole.

Who would Yorkshire Evening Post readers like to see chosen?

We asked readers on our Facebook page to tell us which candidate they would like as the next prime minister.

Tim Dawtry said: “Liz Truss. She clearly has the ideas and ability to lead the Tories to defeat at the next election.”

Susie Carter said: “Not Rishi, no integrity and only out for himself.”

Dean Reynolds said: “The one whom can best influence peace in Ukraine, once that is sorted fuel will drop and inflation and we can hopefully avoid a recession.”

Many people said they would not want to see either candidate elected.

James Morgan said: “I don't see that there is anyone - from any party - who is fit to lead the country at the moment.”

Marcelle McGrath said: “Whomever gets into no 10 will be a self-serving career politician with only their interests on the agenda.”

Some felt neither candidate was an improvement on outgoing party leader Boris Johnson.

Wayne Steel said: “Rather keep Boris, real ‘Hobson’s Choice’ for members, lightweights in comparison to him and zero charisma.”

Jackie Fisher said: “Keep Boris, he’s been through a lot if you think about it from start to finish.”

Others expressed frustration that Tory members are the only ones who will get to vote.

Lance Froggatt said: “We don’t get a vote, just the rich voting for the rich.”

Tracey Wallis: “Can't wait for the general election which should have been called after they chucked out Boris. It’s for the country to decide who they want as prime minster, not only Tory party members.”