Rishi Sunak has hinted he could cut inheritance tax as he tries to revive his faltering Tory leadership campaign.
The former chancellor was asked at a hustings in Cardiff if he would scrap the levy, a bugbear of many Conservative party members.
He rejected that idea, but did suggest that he could lower it in future if he became prime minister, suggesting the move would be consistent with his political outlook.
He told the hustings crowd: “I’ve set out a plan to consistently cut income tax over time because I want to reward hard work. But I very much, as you heard from my earlier remarks, I’m someone who believes in supporting aspiration.
“I think that is a Conservative value that many of us in this room will hold dear and inheritance tax is a way to do that.
“So, over time, is that something that we should look at? Of course we should, because people who are working hard should be rewarded for that.
“If they want to build something and leave that for their family, that’s an entirely Conservative instinct and a government that I’m privileged to lead would very much want to support that instinct. That’s what a Conservative prime minister should do.”
A series of polls suggest Mr Sunak is trailing his rival Liz Truss in the race for Downing Street.
Just before the hustings got underway Ms Truss also secured a coup with the endorsement of the former chancellor Sajid Javid, a friend of Mr Sunak’s.
Mr Javid said he backed Ms Truss’s plans for immediate tax cuts to stimulate growth, a policy Mr Sunak has warned risks pushing up inflation.
During the hustings, Ms Truss also described Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford as a “low energy version of Jeremy Corbyn”, just days after she was criticised for saying she would ignore Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon.
She also suggested she would would want future Tory leadership contests to deature fewer debates “rather than airing our dirty linen in public”.
Mr Sunak said he was prepared to consider scrapping a ban on onshore wind, something he pledged to maintain just a few weeks ago.
After the debate his team said he misspoke. “He wouldn’t relax the ban,” they added.
During the hustings, he also said he would consider how to stimulate fracking in a bid to increase homegrown energy supplies.