Rishi humiliated as his right hand man pulls rug from under him by backing Truss' tax plan

Chief Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke was Mr Sunak’s handpicked deputy for almost two years when he was Chancellor and a neighbouring MP in the north of England. But after a fierce leadership debate on the BBC where Mr Sunak tried to rubbish Ms Truss’ plans for tax cuts, Mr Clarke has said he backs the Foreign Secretary not his old boss on their plans for the economy.

In a media round this morning, Mr Clarke, who was an early backer of Ms Truss’s claimed that the man he helped mastermind the National Insurance rise to help pay for the covid backlog was wrong about that and other tax rises.

He told Times Radio Breakfast this morning that “there really is no evidence at all that the tax cuts she is proposing…would be inflationary”.

He also said there was frustration in Ms Truss’s team about Rishi Sunak’s interruptions during the debate with 22 in the first 12 minutes. And that Rishi Sunak’s economic analysis was off.

He also dismissed claims that her plans would see a rise in interest rates to 7 percent claimed by the Chancellor in the debate based on remarks made by economist Professor Patrick Minford who is backing Ms Truss.

Mr Clarke said: “Most economists would agree that there is absolutely no way in which the 7 percent figure that Rishi was throwing around last night is a credible estimate as to where interest rates would go.”

While both candidates insisted at the end that they would want the other in their cabinet, it was clear that strong differences exist on tax policy as well as how to handle China.

Another debate on Talk TV is due to take place tonight with Tory MPs fearing a repeat of last night’s bloodbath on the BBC.

Tory MPs messaged Express.co.uk during the debate to complain about Mr Sunak’s “bullying tactics”.

Others have privately appealed to the two, who have already cancelled a Sky News debate, to stop engaging in “blue on blue attacks” and end the TV debates.

GB News has offered to interview the two separately in front of a live audience late in August.

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