Sajid Javid defends ‘necessary’ National Insurance hike

Javid backs Truss as candidates go head-to-head in Cardiff

Former chancellor Sajid Javid has backed Liz Truss to become the next Prime Minister.

The former leadership rival who withdrew his bid last month before voting stages began, said that Truss was the best fit to rise to “the challenges of our age”.

Javid pledged his support on the evening of the third leadership hustings in Cardiff, where Rishi Sunak and Lis Truss spoke to the Conservative party in an attempt to win over their support and garner the most votes.

This endorsement will come as a blow to Sunak, as him and Javid are said to be good friends and it was their resignations that sparked the downfall of Johnson and his cabinet.

During his endorsement, Javid called for urgent tax cuts in an attack on her rival Rishi Sunak’s economic plans. He said that Sunak’s plans would make the UK a “middle-income economy”.

Sunak reiterated that tax cuts would lead to higher inflation if they are done before inflation is tackled first. His rival Liz Truss claimed that the country could not “tax its way to growth” and insisted that modest tax cuts weren’t inflationary.

The main pitting-point between the two is their vision on how to deal with the economic crisis, but it seems that Truss’s plans are currently more popular, with polls continuing to suggest that she is the frontrunner.

The hustings event in Cardiff was the first time either candidate had visited Wales since the leadership contest began. Sunak was introduced by Swansea-born former Conservative leader Michael Howard, while Truss was introduced by Clwyd West MP David Jones, a leading Brexiteer in the party.

Ms Truss later described the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford as a “low energy version of Jeremy Corbyn”. The comment was not warmly-welcomed by many, with some drawing on her comments about Nicola Sturgeon earlier this week.

Liz Truss’s pay-cut policy U-turn was discussed, with Sunak saying he was glad Truss had abandoned the plan as “It would have meant, I think, potentially almost half a million workers in Wales getting a pay cut, which I don’t think is the right policy to pursue.”

However, Sunak then appeared to U-turn on his own policy to scrap plans to relax the ban on onshore wind in England.

He was asked if he would scrap the embargo on onshore wind” and replied “yes”, adding that “we’ve already said that we are open to do that where we can do it with local communities”.

But, his campaign later clarified that he had “misspoken” and would not relax the ban.

The pair will go head-to-head again in a debate on Sky News this evening.