Rishi Sunak has warned Tories that voters will never “forgive” the party if Liz Truss wins power and fails to rescue poorer people from rocketing energy bills.
In a fierce attack on his rival’s plans for the looming crisis, the underdog in the leadership race said the public would not accept a “moral failure” to help the most vulnerable.
Ms Truss has attacked “handouts” while planning tax cuts – but, at hustings in Belfast, Mr Sunak warned they would give £1,700 to a someone on a cabinet minister’s salary, but only £1 a week to the lowest-paid.
“If we don’t directly help those vulnerable groups, those people on the lowest incomes, those people who are pensioners, then it will be a moral failure of the Conservative government,” the former chancellor said.
“I don’t think the British people would ever forgive us for that. And that’s not something that I would ever do as prime minister – because it is the wrong thing to do,”
Earlier, the foreign secretary, stuck to her guns over reversing the National Insurance hike and cancelling corporation tax rises, at a cost of at least £30bn,
“I think we have got to the stage in our economy where taxes are too high and they are potentially choking off growth,” she told Tory members in Northern Ireland.