Liz Truss is set to become prime minister weeks after another poll showed she had an unassailable lead among Tory members.
The Foreign Secretary is backed by 66% of campaigners who will decide Boris Johnson’s successor, according to research by YouGov.
Rival Rishi Sunak only has 34% support, excluding those unsure. Although the 32 point advantage is slightly lower than that seen a fortnight ago, only 13% are now undecided and almost six in 10 have already voted.
However, Boris Johnson’s departure is also widely regretted – with 55% saying it was a mistake to force him out.
There are already snipers within the Tories over the bitter competition, with anger in Sunak’s camp that some MPs have switched sides as Ms Truss’s candidacy gains momentum.
“Those who change do so only for their own careers and it is without thorns. Nobody forgets a switch and it tends to end badly for them,’ an insider told the Guardian.
Liz Truss is backed by 66% of campaigners who will decide Boris Johnson’s successor, YouGov research finds
Tory activists also widely regret the departure of Boris Johnson (pictured on holiday in Greece this week) – with 55% saying it was wrong to force him out
Today, Truss supporters ignored a warning from respected think tank IFS that ‘permanent tax cuts’ could squeeze government spending even further.
Inflation and high interest rates will drive up government spending, including benefits and pensions, the IFS predicts.
Combined with weak economic growth, this should offset the effect of any expected increase in tax revenue.
The report warns: “A prudent Prime Minister and Chancellor committed to meeting the government’s existing fiscal targets and managing the nation’s finances responsibly would be wise not to bank on higher incomes matching higher spending. ”
A Sunak campaign spokesperson said the analysis “drives a trainer and horses through Liz’s economic plan.”
“Rishi has always argued that permanent, unfunded tax cuts would cause significant damage to public finances and push inflation up,” the spokesperson said.
But Education Secretary James Cleverly, a Truss supporter, told Sky News: ‘Frankly what we have seen is that the growth of the UK economy is not as dynamic as we think it is. would like.”
“That’s what Liz is going after, it’s a strategy for growth, and if you don’t have a plan for growth, you don’t have a plan for government.”
In recent election campaigns in Belfast, both candidates have doubled down on their economic policies, with Mr Sunak saying the Foreign Secretary would be guilty of a ‘moral failure’ if she failed to focus on the country’s poorest, as he warned that his policies could further fuel inflation.
Ms Truss instead insisted that “taxes are too high and potentially stifle growth”.
Ms Truss is set to take over at No 10 in a matter of weeks as she leads Mr Sunak in the Tory contest
There are already snipers within the Tories over the bitter competition, with anger in Sunak’s camp that some MPs have switched sides as Ms Truss’s candidacy gains momentum
A ConservativeHome poll of activists released yesterday gave Ms Truss an equally big advantage
The Truss team played down the IFS analysis, with a campaign source pointing out that Ms Truss ‘would use an emergency budget to launch her plan to grow our economy and put more money in the pockets of hard workers “.
“Liz will cut taxes using existing fiscal space and lower the debt to GDP ratio within three years. You cannot tax your way to growth, and the status quo will not suffice.
It comes as Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister, suggested cost cutting in Whitehall could have gone further without Mr Sunak.
In the latest attack on the former Chancellor by a senior Truss supporter and Johnson loyalist, Mr Rees-Mogg claimed ‘tough expenditure control and a focus on reducing fraud’ had helped to save £3.5 billion between 2020 and 2021.
Mr Rees-Mogg, who is also the minister responsible for government efficiency, wrote in the Telegraph: ‘Earlier this year the Cabinet Committee on Efficiency and Value for Money was set up with the aim of mission to save the taxpayer over £5.5 billion each year.
“It was unfortunately underutilized by the former Chancellor, but it must be an essential tool in the next Prime Minister’s arsenal to reduce waste and inflation.”
Ms Truss also received an extra boost when the widow of former Northern Ireland premier David Trimble backed her bid for No 10.