Liz Truss on Thursday got another major boost to her campaign to become the UK's next prime minister after Sajid Javid declared his support.
It's a significant blow to Truss's opponent Rishi Sunak, who was the chief secretary to the Treasury when Javid was the chancellor. Sunak succeeded Javid when he resigned as the chancellor in 2020 and described his former boss as his "mentor."
Truss has vowed to immediately reverse Sunak's increase in national insurance, ditch the planned hike on corporation tax, and impose a moratorium on the green levy. Sunak argued her plan will stoke inflation. He promised a smaller-scale tax cut by reducing VAT on energy bills and said he will cut income tax after dealing with inflation.
Javid voiced his support for Truss's proposal, arguing, "tax cuts are a prerequisite for growth."
"There are no risk-free options in government. However, in my view, not cutting taxes carries an even greater risk," Javid said.
Warning that the UK is "sleepwalking into a big-state, high-tax, low-growth, social democratic model which risks us becoming a middle-income economy by the 2030s with the loss of global influence and power," Javid argued it's time for Truss to lead, who he said resembles the best of the "clear-headed, fiscally disciplined" former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the "freedom-loving, sunny, and optimistic" former U.S. President Ronald Reagan."
Asked on Wednesday whether the anticipated interest rate hike would change her perspective on tax cuts, Truss said to audiences at a hustings in Wales that the current inflation is caused by "a huge supply-side shock" after the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and that her plan of "keeping corporation tax low will actually help increase supply in the economy."
Who Is Supporting the Candidates?Javid, former home secretary, chancellor, and health secretary, is the fifth former candidate to back Truss after Attorney General Suella Braverman, House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Tugendhat, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, and Trade Policy minister Penny Mordaunt declared their support for the foreign secretary.
Three of the 11 initial candidates are backing Sunak, including former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, and North America minister Rehman Chishti.
Former equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, who came fourth in the race, has not declared her intention.
Truss also has more support from current Cabinet ministers, including Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, Bexit Opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, Education Secretary James Cleverly, Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey, and International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, Health Secretary Steve Barclay, Environment Secretary George Eustice, Northern Ireland Secretary Shailesh Vara, and Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland are backing Sunak's campaign.
Some 160,000 Conservative Party members are expected to get their ballots by next week and the result of the race will be announced on Sept. 5. So far, Truss has consistently led in public polls among Conservative voters.