A management contest to call Boris Johnson’s successor as UK Prime Minister has been whittled all the way down to ex-chancellor Rishi Sunak and overseas secretary Liz Truss.
A brand new YouGov ballot, revealed on Tuesday, discovered that 60 per cent of Conservative occasion members surveyed between 29 July and a couple of August intend to vote for Truss, placing her within the lead by 34 factors.
Support for Sunak has dipped, with simply 26 per cent of the 1,043 members polled saying they’d vote for him.
Both candidates have been busy pitching themselves to occasion members. Sunak has promised to scale back private taxes by 20 per cent earlier than 2029 – which he described because the “largest cut to income tax in 30 years”.
Earlier this week, he additionally pledged the introduction of no-show fines of £10 for individuals who “misuse” the NHS in a bid to assist the well being service recuperate from Covid-19 backlogs.
Meanwhile, Truss has promised £30bn value of tax cuts inside weeks of taking workplace as a method of serving to individuals by the cost-of-living disaster.
Truss pledged to reverse the National Insurance enhance (which got here into impact in April).
“The tax cuts I’m talking about will be delivered on day one because we have an immediate issue that families are struggling with the cost of fuel, with the cost of food,” she mentioned throughout a marketing campaign go to to Devon.
“That’s why I will reverse the increase in National Insurance. I’ll also have a temporary moratorium on the green energy levy to cut fuel bills.”
Separately, she has positioned her concentrate on reforming the training sector, together with widening entry to prime establishments, like the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, and inserting much less significance on predicted grades.
Sunak and Truss have additionally made pledges to point out they’re ready to behave on violence towards girls and women.
Sunak has promised to criminalise down-blousing, whereas Truss mentioned she would work to create a National Domestic Abuse Register to deal with repeat offending by abusive males.
But because the pair go head-to-head for the vote of round 160,000 occasion members, the place do they actually stand on girls’s points? Here’s what we’ve realized to date.
On abortion rights
Neither Truss or Sunak have strongly supported girls’s reproductive rights throughout their political careers.
Sunak, who served because the chancellor all through the Covid-19 pandemic earlier than resigning from the place final month, has abstained from all main votes on abortion rights since changing into an MP in 2015.
Sunak has solid only one pro-abortion vote – in April 2021, when he voted in favour of a movement to offer the Northern Ireland secretary powers to impose the commissioning of abortion companies within the nation.
He didn’t help payments on key abortion rights points, akin to a 2018 invoice that will have launched “buffer-zones” exterior abortion clinics throughout the UK and abstained on the vote to proceed the “pills by post” scheme launched through the pandemic.
Truss solid her vote to decriminalise abortion in Northern Ireland, but additionally sat out votes on buffer-zones.
As the Minister for Women and Equalities, she has been criticised by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) for ignoring its calls for to publicly denounce the US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade in June.
Additionally, in 2019 she took an viewers with Heritage Foundation, a conservative assume tank that campaigns towards abortion.
The BPAS mentioned each Sunak and Truss have demonstrated a “pattern of abstention when it comes to the issue of abortion”.
“In 2022, in the wake of the US decision to overturn Roe V wade, the UK needs a leader who will openly and vocally support a woman’s right to access abortion,” it mentioned in a press release to The Independent.
“Warms words from these leadership candidates about supporting women and girls amount to very little when they have both repeatedly failed to take part in a number of key votes to further reproductive choice and help protect women and girls.”
On violence towards girls
Sunak has proposed a brand new “down-blousing offence”. He has additionally pledged to create a brand new taskforce to crack down on grooming gangs.
He mentioned a brand new National Crime Agency emergency taskforce would “hunt down” legal gangs.
Sunak described sexual violence towards girls and women is a “national emergency”.
“As a father of two girls, I want them to be able to go for a walk in the evening or to a shop at night without any fear of threat,” he mentioned.
“I will make it a criminal offence if you harass women by taking intimate images of them without their consent and will introduce a major crackdown on grooming gangs.
“I will not stop until we live in a society where women and girls can go about their daily lives feeling safe and secure.”
Last week, Truss vowed to introduce a National Domestic Abuse Register which she mentioned would assist break a cycle of repeat offending by abusive males, and a stand-alone offence for avenue harassment.
The register would cowl all types of home abuse, together with coercive management and monetary abuse.
“Over the last two years, our nation has been shocked by a number of high-profile murders of women,” Truss mentioned.
“Violence against women and girls doesn’t have to be inevitable. Women should be able to walk the streets without fear of harm and perpetrators must expect to be punished.
“Through increased police training, new offences, faster processes for rape victims and our Domestic Abuse Register we will ensure victims are protected, and crimes are prevented in the first place.”
But the End Violence Against Women Coalition mentioned significant change would require funding in long-term, specialist prevention work.
This contains “public campaigns that aim to shift the attitudes that drive and underpin harmful behaviours, and delivering holistic prevention work in schools and education settings,” Deniz Uğur, deputy director of the coalition mentioned.
Neither Truss nor Sunak have outlined plans for public campaigns of this sort.
“Currently, we know that the government has invested less than 10 per cent of the budget it has calculated is needed to deliver a new relationships and sex curriculum. This is just not good enough,” Uğur mentioned.
Neither Sunak nor Truss have pledged to extend funding for specialist frontline companies for victims and survivors of abuse, particularly for these serving to individuals from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds.
“These services are a lifeline, but without adequate resourcing many survivors face waits of over a year for life-saving support,” Uğur mentioned.
“Recovery and healing are an essential part of justice, and the government must recognise and resource specialist services so no survivor is left without the support she needs.”
On financial coverage
Neither Truss nor Sunak have recognised how girls are negatively impacted by financial insurance policies or pledged to make enhancements on this space.
Research has proven that girls are the “shock absorbers” of poverty, the UK Women’s Budget Group (WBG) mentioned.
As inflation continues to rise – and is predicted to achieve a excessive of 8.7 per cent by the tip of 2022 – the WBG says the cost-of-living disaster will “disproportionately impact” girls, who’re “more likely to be in debt and spend a higher proportion of their expenditure on essential goods”.
Additionally, a 2020 report by McKinsey & Co discovered that girls’s jobs had been 1.8 occasions extra susceptible through the pandemic.
Women additionally make up a lot of the public sector staff, and staff on this sector have seen their wages frozen for a lot of the final decade.
Additionally, girls’s function in offering unpaid care for kids makes it more durable for them to do extra paid hours of labor.
“All of that means that women are ill-equipped to cope with the current cost-of-living crisis. We need to see recognition of this from both candidates,” the WBG mentioned.
“Both Sunak and Truss voted in 2015 against carrying out an assessment of the impact of Government policies on women which would have helped to mitigate any disproportionate burden on women.
“Childcare fees have increased at twice the rate of wages in the last ten years keeping many women out of work. Promises of ‘doing more for women’ or nods towards deregulating childcare as a way of increasing affordability are not addressing the root cause of much of women’s economic inequality.
“That will only happen when policy makers begin to recognise and value the role of care and those who provide it. If the leadership candidates really want to support women, it needs to start there.”